You’ve been watching those shows about how to buy and makeover a house, and visions of your very own HGTV style home are now dancing in your head.
You’ve pinned hundreds of images of cheery kitchens, welcoming living rooms, and restful bedrooms on Pinterest.
Furniture and home decor catalogs litter your apartment, and you can’t wait to be on a first name basis with the folks at Target, Ikea, and Pottery Barn.
While this may lead to impromptu happy dances in the store aisles, it will most likely lead you down a path to more debt and deep regret.
There is a way to furnish your home on a budget, though, and to make it a space you love and can live with.
You just need to know the three essential keys: contentment, patience and gratitude.
Contentment, as described by Dale Carnagie, “isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.”
That means understanding your worth as a person is not measured by your home or any of your possessions.
You stop comparing where you are and what you have with others, because as Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
Contentment frees you from envy and pride, two emotions that can easily push you to break your budget in an effort to keep up with the proverbial Joneses.
Being content allows you to be comfortable and at peace with where you are, while charting a course for goals that uniquely suit you and your circumstances.
What might contentment look like in your home furnishing budget?
Depending on where you are in your financial journey, perhaps it’s about making do with the dated and worn living room furniture you’ve been given because there’s space for everyone to spend time together, or finding a deal on Craigslist on a kitchen table and chairs, so there’s room for hosting family and friends.
For my husband and I, it meant being content with our well-used, thirteen year old, oversized sofa and loveseat while we searched for a new living room set.
Adding patience to contentment makes for a powerful combination to maintain your budget while furnishing your home.
Being content means it’s much easier to bide your time while you search for a piece or pieces that meet your needs and desires and costs no more than what you’ve set aside.
Nonetheless, I know firsthand how difficult it can be to be patient. It just seems so much easier to spend lots more to have what you want right now!
Patience was a struggle for my husband and I as we searched for living room furniture to fit our recently purchased, smaller home. We had budgeted $500, and our goal was to find a well-built, real leather set. We found lots that we loved, cost at least twice our budget, and that we were sorely tempted to buy. But, we held fast. Finally, five months into the search, we hit the jackpot: a four piece, relatively new, charming and comfortable real leather set, and it was $500.
Being patient has multiple benefits. Not only do you stay within budget, but you can enjoy the thrill of the chase, the additional sense of satisfaction of sticking to your goals, and the deeper appreciation for that rare gem when you finally locate it. Plus, as my parents would often say to me, and I said to my children, “Patience builds character.” 🙂
Counting your blessings is not only is a critical component of eliminating your debt, but is a tremendously steadying force, especially when you become a homeowner.
It’s very easy to become discontented with what you don’t have or can’t afford, and the solution is to create a firewall of gratitude.
When you develop a firewall of gratitude, you erect a barrier of thankfulness which effectively blocks pride and envy, as well as negative, cultural messages to buy and have more.
The good news is that being grateful becomes easier with practice, just like contentment and patience.
Still, it can be too easy to go from feeling grateful for being able to purchase a home you can afford, to being annoyed as you struggle against your budgetary restrictions on how to furnish the house. Refer back to contentment if you find yourself here.
I could choose to be embarrassed or annoyed that our house is filled with furniture and decor gathered over time from thrift stores, yard sales, Craigslist, and the like.
Occasionally, I start to feel that way, but in the end, I always circle back to gratitude.
Because, at the core, it’s about being at peace with and finding joy in the choices we make.
Comment: How have you used these keys to furnish your home on a budget?
Kim Hall created Too Darn Happy to help you build stronger and more joyful relationships through offerings of fresh perspectives and practical advice. Having been a wife for thirty years and a mom for almost as long to two daughters, she also shares occasional cautionary tales of her own character building life experiences. Kim recently authored her first ebook, Practicing Gratitude and Discovering Joy-Thirty Days to a Happier You. You can connect with Kim on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, too!