Tour de Casa

Standard

The time has finally come…. to show you our Casa.

Oh wait, where are my manners?  Hiiiiiiiiyaaaaa! How’s everyone doing? Good? Great!

Didn’t really expect two posts in a row, did ya? Well hopefully I’m full of surprises like this… but don’t get your hopes a soaring…yet.

Before I begin, I feel as though I should issue a few disclaimers….this is our first home and we know that we will not be here forever.  We know it’s not perfect, but we kinda love it this way.  The house is our age.  Exactly.  The house is teenie…a mere 1200 square feet.  Okay that’s a lie, it’s only 1196 square feet. ARG!  And it may look a little awkward… but I’m awkward.  And I kinda love it. Okay onward…

Okay, here’s a veryyyy rough sketch of our floor plan.  Doesn’t the garage look absolutely massive?  It’s not.  Which just proves how horrid this sketch really is.  You may have also noticed that there are no interior walls.  Ummm, that’s a lie too.  I assure you, there is a wall between the kitchen and master bathroom….so I am (unfortunately) not able to bathe and make mac ‘n cheese all in one place.  Bummer.

Moving on….  This is a picture from our teeeeeenyyyy little dinette, looking into the living area.  To my right is the kitchen and door to the master bedroom and to the left is the hall.  A few things you may notice…. Carpet is throughout.  Ugh, yeah we don’t like it either.  But it was new when we bought the house so figured we let it stay a while.  Also, yes our backdoor is open.  It happens.

Okay…moving on again.  How about the teeeeeeeny kitchen?  Okay you talked me into it.  How about an awkward picture of the kitchen?  Even better.  Mostly because it includes the most awkward piece of architecture I have ever seen.  Can you see that beam?  With the two cabinets hanging from it?  And the light? Weird, right?  We know.  Trust me, it’s on the list.

As if the horrible tile in the kitchen wasn’t bad enough….you should check out the guest bathroom.  Tile. Laminate. And an ugly toilet seat. Ohhh my.

Okay, I think this should conclude the tour de casa.  You are all probably thinking “What were they thinking?”  But we have a plan, and a vision…and it’s fun learning as we go.  I know there are quite a few not-so-good things about this house, and I may have sounded negative.  But I can promise you that by the time we are finished I will love every square inch of our first home.

Hope you enjoyed the tour!  We have already started working (we are avid believers of show and tell, so I promise you’ll see)…and will probably continue working until it’s just the way we want it.  Toodles.

Property Virgins

Standard

Well, I hope this isn’t awkward.  Oh – my title? That too.  I was actually referring to the awkward moment when I decided to break my blog’s silence…. I mean really, it’s been a while. Whoops!

So I’m here this evening to tell you a little story.  A story about a girl…and a boy.  You see, these two thought they were ready.  They thought they were prepared.  They were in love.  Yes, they just KNEW it was finally time…….to buy their first property.  🙂  Just what you were thinking, right?

This whole process started at the end of 2010, the same year I graduated.  I was just starting to get a firm grasp on the adulthood and financial responsibility…ya know, paying my own bills which ranged from rent to utilities to my oh-so-wonderful student loans.  This is also about the time I started to get pretty serious into my coupons and savings.  Really, I was a crazed maniac… I try to block out a few months worth of that year, solely because I think there was time when I actually dreamed about coupons and saving money.  Yep, it’s safe to say I had a pretty serious problem.  BUT…as with most bad, there is also good.  And through these coupons I was able to cut our grocery expenses by about 60-75%.  It was a BIG change for me and Boyfriend.  We were seeing it add up in our bank accounts…fast.  So the couponing continued, and so did our savings.  Then we started pinching…pretty seriously.  We almost completely eliminated eating out, we dropped our cable (oh come on it can’t be that big of a surprise, you KNOW nothing is EVER on), and I stopped buying a new pair of shoes every other week.

Then we started to get super serious about our finance.  And renting just reallyyyy irritated us.  I mean really.  Did you know that in the 4 years of renting we spent around $31,000?  You think I’m lying, don’t you?  It’s okay, I won’t hold it against you.  Honestly, I wish I were lying.  But unfortunately (for us), this is a very true statement…actually it’s a very modest statement, as we actually spent a little over $31,000 (between us both) on rent alone…not including utilities over those years.  I can think of about a million things that I’d rather do with $31,000….and rent is not one of them.  So this built-up frustration led to us looking into purchasing a home.  Something that would cost us about the same we were spending in rent each month…but something that offers somewhat of a return of investment in the future.  Yep, we wanted an investment.

So we started the hunt.  We crunched numbers…we looked like creepers/stalkers driving around and looking at houses…and we started to get our game faces on.  It was actually Valentine’s day when I applied for a home loan.  You know with the internet these days, the sky really is the limit.  Boyfriend was in the rental kitchen, cooking me an oh-so-delicious Valentine’s Dinner, and I was sitting at the kitchen table… salivating and applying for a home loan online.  This was it.  Would I even get approved?  Was I asking for too much?  I didn’t know.  We didn’t know.  But we were having a wonderful night…and I had been drinking some pretty darn good wine.  So what the heck?  I mean we had been thinking about it for months anyways…why wait any longer?

DONE!  After hitting submit on the home loan application, I shut down my computer and enjoyed my evening with Boyfriend.

We knew what we wanted, and we thought we knew how much moolah it would take.  Now it was all out on the table and we just had to wait for our response for the lender…which we received within 48 hours.  Within 24 hours of being approved, we started to search for a realtor, as realtors are F-R-E-E for buyers, and you KNOW how we love F-R-E-E.

The realtor that we ended up with, by God’s grace, was literally AMAZING.  She told us about a city grant (free $5000.00!!!) and the MCC tax credit (which is exactly as it sounds).  She had rental properties all over town and had been around the block a time or two.  She was extremely patient and took us throughout DOZENS of homes within our price range… She didn’t push us to our “max” amount, she agreed that we shouldn’t push ourselves financially…I mean come on, we are young and we love to have fun.  Unfortunately moolah is usually a part of the having-fun-process, so it was important that we always had spending money and didn’t have to dedicate every paycheck to our mortgage.

She worked with our “wanted” list, and she helped me grasp the concept of what I could live without (bye-bye gourmet kitchen).  She really was fabulous.  On our second or third trip with our realtor, we ended up touring our soon to be home.  We had seen about 7 or 8 properties that evening, it was after work, we were tired, and I thought that we had already found THE ONE.  Yep, I had already committed to another home…the first one of that evening.  But we decided to go ahead and tour the lineup for the evening just to be sure…and boy, were we glad we did!  By the time we got to the last home, it was dark… So the outside looked good, or at least we thought.  And when we walked in the door, we had that awkward moment of not really knowing where the light switch is, because it’s someone else’s house….and as soon as the light the hit the walls I literally stopped in my tracks.  IN HORROR.  My eyes couldn’t stop wandering around…there was just so much CRAP, and it was EVERYWHERE!  Up the 13 foot walls….all of the floors…on the countertops…EVERYWHERE.  Though my jaw was dropping because of the clutter, Boyfriend’s jaw was dropping because he immediately saw the potential.

When I finally got around to taking my eyes off of the walls, floor and countertops I took a glimpse of Boyfriend and saw the look on his face.  It was one that I don’t get to see very often, one very similar to that Christmas morning look.  In that instant I knew I would be fighting for a losing battle if I tried talking him out of this one.  And as we toured the home, my eyes really started to open too.  Especially after walking through the walk-in closet! 🙂

The rest is really history….We made an offer, the owner turned down our offer and countered it, we countered the owner’s counter, we received a counter to our counter of the owner’s first counter, and finally we gave in…we knew we wouldn’t be happy in any other house.  We closed on our house on April 11th, 2011.   Less than TWO MONTHS after we applied for our home loan.

Now you are all a part of our journey in turning this house into our home!!

(Right after the closing I changed clothes and ran to the lawn to rip down the sign)

Our Built-In Bookcases

Standard

Since I’ve started this little blog thing, I’ve realized that I’m going to have to play catch up on some projects we’ve already tackled around the house.  How about starting off with when we knocked two holes in the wall for two built-in bookcases on both sides of the fireplace?  Sound like a good starting point?  I think so too.

Before construction…or destruction….you pick 🙂

Pictured above you see a nice plain-Jane fireplace.  B-O-R-I-N-G! Well, that’s what we thought anyways…so we (by we I mean mostly me, though Boyfriend was up for my challenge), decided we needed something on both sides of the fireplace.  We had a few options…I could find some schnazzy to hang on both sides, ya know maybe some sconces or iron decor.  But for some reason it seemed like we would be settling.  Ya know what I mean?  Plus Boyfriend wanted our TV mounted on this wall, as he thinks that the fireplace should be the center focal point of the living room.  The problems I had with this, was the cords that would be EVERYWHERE for the TV, Internet, Surround Sound…you get the picture.

So we thought we could get a couple of bookcases to mask the cords and all of the clutter.  Now, take ANOTHER look at that picture and notice the floor vent to the left of the fireplace.  Can’t put a bookcase over a vent, right?  So there goes that idea.

Exceeeeeeppppppttttttt. Hmmmmmm…My mind started working.  Overtime.  Boyfriend couldn’t run fast enough.  I had A VISION.

Can’t deny my visions.

Never deny me of my visions.

So here was the game plan:  We knock holes in the wall on both sides of the fireplace, frame it out, and put in some built-in bookcases/bookshelves.  What a glorious solution.  Well done, me. Now for the execution….check out this mess:

Wowza.  See that dreadful mess?  I would almost be embarrassed, if the end result didn’t turn out so darn good.  Anyways, as you may be able to tell is that the spaces on both sides of the fireplace were actually closets…a coat closet on the left, and a bedroom closet on the left.  The good news is when it was all said and done, we only lost about 4 inches of depth in the coat closet so it remains a fully functional coat closet.  As for the other side, we made the bottom deeper so our subwoofer, internet box, dvd player, yatta yatta yatta.  But we had plenty of room to spare as the closet is pretty huge and now/soon-to-be “custom,” but more on that later.

If you’re still having problems seeing my vision, maybe I should just show you the end result… Or better yet, what about a before after?

What do you think? 🙂

I LOVE Big Lots and I cannot lie!

Standard

I don’t know if you know this or not, but I’m a pretty big fan of cheap.  Well, I prefer the term *thrifty*.  And today was a very good day for me at Big Lots because today was Friends and Family day.  Yep that’s right, Friends and Family Day.  Do I have a family member that works for Big Lots? Nope.  Do I even know anyone who works at Big Lots?  Nope (though I should by now…I’m practically a regular.)   Anyways, today they were practically begging customers to take one of their “20% off your ENTIRE purchase” coupons, valid today only.  Didn’t have to ask me twice.  Actually I took two.  Not sure why.  But it felt like a good idea at the time.

Back to why I love Big Lots.

Well it’s cheap…I mean *thrifty*.  And their stock is constantly changing.  Home decor, furniture, cleaning supplies, electronics and even groceries.  I’m not going to lie to you though, I only go there for the home decor.  And sometimes the furniture.  And the cleaning supplies if they have what I like.  But that’s it.  Until next time…

So today, upon paroozing around the store, I stumbled across this little jewel and immediately texted my boyfriend telling him I wanted it.  Today.

I’m not sure if you can see that price tag or not…so let me put it in writing for you.  $272.00!!!! What the?  Pretty sure that beats the IKEA sofas I have been pricing.  And what’s even better is that this sofa is EXTREMELY similar to two sofas that I love, love, LOVE but cannot afford (from Ballard Design and Home Decorators).  Actually, let me just show you a picture of one them.

This sofa’s price tag is closer to the $1,000.00 mark (so twice as much a sofa-love-seat-combo at the ole BL)…

So I sat on it, rubbed it a little..and then sat on the sofa next to it.  And the sofa behind it.  And the sofa behind it and to the left.  Long story short, this sofa kinda had my heart.  It was soft, cushy, comfortable and just the right color for my living room.  And what made this situation of mine even sweeter? Boyfriend said “go ahead.” Wahoo!! I got the Go Ahead!!! VICTORYYYY.

So next I chased down a guy with a black spikey hair wearing an orange Big Lots vest and put my order in.  They had a sofa and love seat in the back, still boxed up, ready to be loaded into the back of Boyfriend’s pick-up (which I just happened to be driving in case I came across a good buy).  I was pretty pumped.  Really pumped actually.  All of the money I just saved made me want to sing a happy, happy song.  And buy a lamp.  Well, two lamps actually.  Matching ones.  They were very pretty.  AND on sale, remember 20% everyyyyyything, right?

I didn’t buy the lamps. 😦 I should’ve though, huh? I mean think of all the SAVINGS from today.  I’ll try to post pics of the furniture in my living room.  It looks good.  I promise. Til’ tomorrow fraaaans. Deuces.

My Encounter With the Craigslist Killer

Chat

Soooooo.  I kinda made an oopsie.  A rather large one, too.  Before I get started on that, maybe I should ask…how has everyone else’s day been? Good? Great! Now let me explain my little “situation.”

On Father’s Day a few weeks ago, me and my beloved sisters promised my dad tickets to a Boston concert on July 14th (yep, last night).  Wellllllllll, let me just start by saying that morning I had quite a lot on my mind.  First of all, this promise occurred at an iHop, fairly early that particular Sunday morning.  We had all agreed to meet there to take Dad out for breakfast (he’s a pretty big fan of stuffed french toast).  Plus it was the only time I would get to see him all day, because Boyfriend and I were on our way to the airport, heading to Vegas.  So the “note to self” to buy my dad tickets to this concert went right in-between the thoughts of “did I pack my blue swimsuit” and “crap, how many liquid items do I have in my purse for security to measure”…you could say it definitely wasn’t top of my list.

So a few weeks pass by, and what do you know it’s concert week.  absent-mindedly I assure myself there will be PLENTY of Boston tickets left for me to buy…I’ll just do it when I get to work.  Then it was Tuesday before I knew it.  Then Wednesday.  Yep, then Thursday. CRAP!  Sold Out?!? What the?!? Surely there HAS to be mistake.

Oh. No.

My dad is going to be so let down.

I couldn’t do this to him.

So what do I do? Check ticket scalpers across the OKC-metro area…and what do I find? Notta.  Then I checked eBay. Nothing.  Great, what was I going to do now? LIGHTBULB! Craigslist! And sure enough I find a few tickets… VIP tickets even (trust me, these are better tickets then I would have bought in the first place… sorry Dad, I was kinda leaning towards General Admission).  The only problem, they were over an hour away, and the seller was refusing to meet… anywhere.  Well at least I had an option.  Then another set comes up for sale…and they are in the city, which is great!  So I e-mail them, yes they still had the tickets and would be able to meet me that night.  They said they could meet me in the parking lot.  Whoa whoa whoa. Sketchy much?  And Boyfriend is still outta town doing football camps.  Great.  I definitely needed a sidekick.

Low and behold a friend of mine said she’d go with.  As we were both a little weirded out, not knowing who we were going to be meeting and all we called another friend and told her if she didn’t hear from us in an hour to call the cops.  We gave her our intended location.  The entire drive there was a bit of a blur… All I remember is my dear-ole-friend telling me horror stories about how she has heard that OKC is the center of sex trafficking.  REALLY?!  I mean, really.  Then, out of sheer coincidence I’m sure, my phone rings.  Great, a BLOCKED # is calling.  A little alarmed, I answered the phone and a woman says, “Are you in the parking lot yet?”

I reply, “Nope.”

She sighs, reallllyyyy loud, says something under her breath and asks me how long I’ll be.  I think I will be there in fifteen minutes.  So that’s what I tell her.  She sighs once again and hangs up.  Great.

So in the next fifteen minutes me and my friend go over about 50 different scenarios of what could-happen in this parking lot.  As we begin to pull in, I take note that this is absolutely the darkest parking lot I have EVER been in. Really?! I mean, really.

As we pull in I take note of two vehicles at the veryyyy back of the parking lot all alone.  There is an SUV that a woman is sitting in, and next two it a little 2 door sports car.  The man, who I assume, is driving the car is standing outside of the woman’s SUV talking to her.  As we pull in, I see them both stop talking, while they stare at me.  I find a parking spot (about 4-5 away from those creeps), and wheel in.  Within seconds the guy grabs something from the woman and starts to walk over to my car.  I start to roll down my window, bracing myself for whatever happens…Before I know it I hear the passenger door open and then slam closed.  My friend has gotten OUT of the car to meet these people.  What?! Get back in here!!  Don’t you remember the drive over and all of the scenarios we just discussed?! I grab my wad of cash, like I’m in the mafia or something, take a deep breath and go outside to join everyone.

My friend says something to the guy as I am walking towards them both, he pulls something out of his pocket, hands it to her and they both look at me.  I, being slightly dumbfounded, hand the guy the wad of cash and just stare.  The guy takes the money walks over to his car and him and the SUV leave.  My friend pushes me back to my car, we get in and do the same.  Holy cow.  Was that it? Maybe I should give myself a quick physical.  Nope, no stab wounds.  Oh my gosh, we survived!!

Feeling super excited and giddy with joy, we start our journey home.  Within two minutes my friend squeals, then explains to me that I have two PLATINUM tickets to the Boston concert!  She said the fine print on the backs of the tickets said that they weren’t even sold to public…they were only given to sponsors and radio shows.  AWESOME!  My dad is going to think I’m the best daughter ever!!! (if he only knew.)

So the summary of this story is: I guess not everyone is a Craigslist killer.  Though I still think they could be.  But in the end we survived and got my dad some pretty BOMB tickets!!

Life. Is. Good.

Hello world!

Standard

Welcome to Ever So Thrifty!! A blog I developed for myself, as well as others, to compare notes on our various forms of “thriftiness.”

I’d like to believe that I’m a nice, young girl living in Oklahoma.  I love God, my boyfriend, my family, my friends, my dogs, our HOME and ALL projects! Really…all projects – crafts, home projects, decorating, cooking, crocheting, sewing, gardening and most of all, the art of saving.  See, I tend to be a tad on the frugal side. Okay, slash that… I’m EXTREMELY frugal.  But I blame it on the economy, my penny-pinching dad, my income, my boyfriend’s income… okay screw it. I’m frugal because I’m frugal.  I hate spending money on an item when I know I could have either made it for less, or used a coupon which would have made it cheaper.  It bugs me. REALLY bugs me.  I could have a problem.  But it’s MY problem…and I kind of like it. I can stretch a dollar like no one’s bizz-nazz.

So a little about myself, I’m a 20-something year old and I graduated from THE University of Oklahoma a little over two years ago with a degree that I loved.  At the time.  After graduated I was immediately offered an office job, which I took (and still have), which gave me a sense of financial security.

This financial-security-feeling sort of drugged me and I did the most reasonable next step in life…  If you are, at all, thinking “get married,” then you clearly do not know me.  At all. Nope, I bought a house.  A house that blinded both me and my handy-dandy boyfriend because it offered a very promising vision.  A house we believed (and still believe!) could someday be more than a house, but our HOME.

Our house is the same age as us.  Really. The year it was born, so were we.  Though we are all the same age, Boyfriend and I treat this house as if it were our baby.  Our dogs are treated the same.  So it’s okay if you consider us to be parents… we kind of are.  Emphasis on kind of.

Yep, the dogs are in bed. Under the covers. MY covers.

Long story short is that we started this house project with a whole lot of enthusiasm and what we thought was knowledge and skill.  Little did we know.  Really.  The last year has really been an adventure for us, but we learn new things and start new projects ALL THE TIME.  This blog is sort of our journey.  Our ways of pinching pennies, decorating and designing our home, and figuring out how to make it our own.  There will be a WHOLE lot of DIY obsession, and little tid bits about our lives along the way.

I promise not to filter…you will see it all including the GOOD, the BAD, and even the UGLY.  You will see our adventures and our misadventures throughout these projects.  So please feel free to give us advice, words of encouragement or money.  Haha, not really. But really.  We’d love to know what you think!

Let’s be friends! (Don’t worry we don’t have to be Facebook official…yet) 🙂