If you’ve been following the blog pretty consistently, there’s one thing you’ve probably picked up about us: we love a good deal. We also don’t believe in credit cards. Just like we don’t believe in leprechauns, unicorns and pixie magic, we don’t believe in Future Money. That’s our personal philosophy on money, and not a judgement on anyone else’s. We simply think we either have the money for a purchase, or we don’t. So sometimes we decide to make a big purchase and it doesn’t happen until we have the cash-money to pay for it.
Way back in June, we revealed that we wanted a fancy hybrid water heater — one that dehumidifies while saving the energy and the planet. It should really come with a superhero cape.
Fast forward to September and we still hadn’t gotten our water heater. We had 2 very good excuses: 1) we’re crazy busy working on the guest bedroom / office / hallway upstairs so there’s no time for basement work, and 2) we were 67.5% sure it was going to go on sale soon. So we stashed away the dough for later.
Last week, we went into our local hardware store and bumped into Our Guy, known to the rest of the world as Ray. Ray loves Bradley. Bradley loves Ray. I love how his hardware store has free coffee and shiny things to stare at. Ray told us he’d been waiting all day for us to come in because it was time to buy the water heater.
GE just dropped the price by $300 and our electricity company just started offering a $300 rebate on hybrid water heaters. You just fill out a form and they send you a check. And then there’s the $300 tax credit for buying an energy efficient appliance. Bradley gave Ray a big, fat kiss on the lips (not really), whipped out his wallet, and set up a delivery for this Friday.
Wanna know how much we paid? We’re happy to (over)share.
Original price: $1300
GE sale price: $1000
Minus $300 electric co. rebate: $700
Minus $300 tax credit: $400
Our final price: $400
Yup. We saved ourselves nine. hundred. smackers. Which, coincidentally just happens to be how much our next big purchase is going to cost us in October. (How’s that for a segue?)
We haven’t shared a view of our dining room yet because we haven’t done any work on it (we’re taking it one room at a time). Until now. Feast your eyes on this monstrosity:
Our dining room is currently our living room. And our living room is currently our bedroom. It’s a crazy-mixed-up world we live in. Here’s a breakdown of what we’re looking at:
That Hugh Jass hole in the wall wasn’t always there. It’s actually the first step towards renovating this room while simultaneously reducing our carbon footprint:
That, my friends, is a wood-burning stove. We’re not sure if that’s the exact one we’re getting. We’re still in the shopping around phase. That one, though, is available at a farm supplier near us for $900 and we’re thinking about going with it.
We’ve been spotting old wood-burners in modern spaces more and more in lieu of brick fireplaces. There’s something about an old-timey cast iron stove that bring so much character to an otherwise modern space. It’s the interior design version of the Emeril Lagasse “BAM!”
So the hole in our dining room’s brick wall was to gain access to the chimney. Our chimney guy is making us a custom chimney liner so we can install a wood-burning stove in our dining room and use it to heat our house. We’ll still have our oil boiler to use as backup — in case the temperature ever drop below 50 degrees inside, our radiators will kick on and heat up the space enough to keep our plumbing from freezing when we’re not home. But for the most part, we plan on using good old-fashioned firewood to heat our home.
So our big purchase for September was the water heater we’ve been coveting and our big purchase for October is the stove / chimney liner / installation.
We’ve already started making a list of all the things we plan on redoing in the dining room:
- Expose the brick wall (the stove will sit in front of raw brick)
- Tear down the ceiling to expose the rafters
- Rip out the carpet, sand + paint the floors
- Make a dining room table
- Make a floor-to-ceiling built-in bookshelf with window seat
- Tear down all the walls, insulate & put up new walls
- Replace 2 windows
- Replace or repair the door to the porch
- Paint the 3 other doors in the room (they lead to the hallway, living room and basement)
- Make a radiator cover
We won’t get started on that for a while. Next on our gut-renovation list: the laundry room / half bath. Then the kitchen. We have our work cut out for us!
What we learned last week:
- It’s good to hold back.
We have a million purchases we have to make to get our house looking and functioning the way we want. If we tried to make them all at once, we’d be broke. Or worse: in debt.
- Our one room at a time rule helps us keep our sanity, more money in our pockets and a cleaner house.
If we limit our purchases to only whatever we need to renovate 1 or 2 rooms, we’re not starting projects all over the house and causing construction messes everywhere. We’re also not wasting money and space by hoarding supplies for projects that won’t get started till Spring 2012. Win-win situation.
- Know when to make exceptions.
The stove and water heater are exceptions to the one room at a time rule. Our old oil boiler is really inefficient and really expensive — and winter is right around the corner. Both purchases also have the added benefit of alleviating our hippie-guilt over being reliant on oil.
- This is not the first wood-burning stove in our house.
Way back in the 1880s, when our house was a young’un, there was a stove hooked up in the dining room and it was definitely used for cooking. The dining room / living room areas are the “old” part of the house. The kitchen area was added later (we’re thinking the 1920s-30s). So weird to think that someone used to cook their meals where we now watch TV.
- Confession: even though we’re very anti-credit card, we still use ‘em.
When we have the cash-money to make our big purchase, we put it on a credit card that gives us airline miles. Then we pay them off right away. Sometimes before it’s even due, because we’re anal like that. We’re saving up miles for a trip after the house is done. (Thailand, here we come??)