The Hidden Costs of Home Ownership

So, we’ve all pretty much heard the drill.  Owning a home comes with a slough of hidden expenses – everything from that “surprise” tax bill the first year to regular maintenance issues related to what happens when you feed the wildlife in your backyard.  (THAT one, dear readers, is another post.)

But let’s just get real here.  I’m talking about the biggest deal of them all: Christmas Decorations.  We all get the dream going when you buy that first place that has it’s own driveway, yard with a tree, and no landlord restrictions about puncturing the building’s exterior envelope. You imagine a house aglow with warm holiday cheer, frost on the lawn and pansies and violas in full bloom.  (This is Northern California people – no snow, and flowers that others associate with spring.  Work with me here.)   What we all fail to consider is the price of those freaking lights!  Have you priced out that holiday cheer lately?  HOLY MOLEY!  Sure, it’s only $20 for that string of lights.  No big deal until you realize that string will only make it half way around your garage door.  What to do?  Do you splurge on a big wreath and call it a day?  Do you go for that half-way decorated garage door?  Do you barter the cat for some lights someone is trying to offload on Craigslist?  Do you just go without?

In all honesty right now I’m using nature’s decor: a lawn covered in colorful fall foliage.  Granted, I think my neighbors are quickly tiring of my methods/ laziness, as all the leaves that had blown over into their yard last week had been neatly raked into a pile under my tree when I arrived home from work last night.  But – I digress…

Driving down my cookie cutter suburban street I see the whole gamut: large bulb strands tracing the roof eaves of one home right next door to a veritable winter wonderland of lighted sculptures, air inflated snow globes with animatronic figures and a blaze of lights radiating off of every surface.  By the time you reach my house I’m not sure if it just looks sad in it’s unlighted splendor or if it’s a reprieve for the senses!

Then, there is the interior of the home.  Sure – I’ve got enough tree ornaments to sink a small ship and great decorations for a very compact one bedroom or studio apartment.  But, after that, my single box of non-tree decorations is not going to go far in my spacious, but only 1/2 furnished house.

I think that this year I will focus on having a larger than normal tree since I’ve got loads of free square footage and hanging our stockings next to an actual fireplace for the first time since high school.  I think I need to plan on attending those day-after-Christmas sales to get some of those higher priced items that I just cannot make myself pay full price for.  (I love decorations – but let’s be serious – they’re only up for 6 weeks a year MAX.  I need to purchase things like a furniture for the *totally empty* front half of my house before I go hog wild on holiday decorations.)

I love, love, love owning a home and all of the random things it entails.  However, I’m always amazed at how my paycheck has so many places to be (besides my bank account) now that I’m not a renter.  So neighbors – bring on the winter wonderland!  I’m totally sucking off of your decorations this year.  I’ll keep my “nature’s bounty” theme going awhile longer and count on the flashy lights of my surroundings to act as a distraction.  But just you wait – next year I’ll have my day-after-Christmas discounted lights blazing away in all their glory!

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3 thoughts on “The Hidden Costs of Home Ownership

  1. someone raked your leaves!? was your yard a service project for someone? come to our street. we have lots of natures bounty homes. ours included. hopefully we will get lights up before christmas is over. maybe i should just do it. then fall off the roof and have to spend some time in the hospital. maybe that would spur matthew on…..
    and maybe a post christmas shopping trip is in our cards….we can go down to walnut creek and get some sales. and the container store….oh i love the container store…great wrapping paper that is normally a whoppin $8 a pop. no thanks.

    • I have no idea what is up with the random raked leaves. I’m guessing it was a hint and not a service project – because they didn’t take the leaves away! Seems my sister has lights I can have – super excited for that one! Now, getting The Big Guy to put them up might involve bribery of one type or another… NO HOSPITAL TIME ALLOWED – you hear me? And, I like the idea of a post-season shopping trip a LOT. The Container Store has the cutest wrapping paper around – but just WAY too pricey for my blood. I’m all about workin’ the system. 🙂

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