AJ/KJ: Saving isn’t always about how much you set aside. Sometimes it is about the costs you avoid.
AJ: When Kirby and I started living together in college (sorry, Mom!) we had one enormous desk. It was more than enough room for two people. However, two people never shared that desk. In a state of desperation I purchased a $25 desk from Target that was neither attractive nor durable, but the price was right, and it held a computer. When we moved into our brand new home after college, the desk came with us and lived with us for a few months until I donated it to a loving home. Unfortunately, the result was chaos. Kirby started managing our finances from his laptop in our bed, receipts were constantly stacked around our house with no rhyme or reason, and I decided we again needed a desk.
I like nice things, I can’t deny that. The desk I REALLY liked was $1,200 and since Kirby’s bed/receipt solution was working just fine for him I started researching other alternatives. Thus began the project that would not end. We enlisted my father-in-law, his massive assortment of tools and many, many weekends and ultimately wound up with an incredible desk that we’ll cherish forever.
I think it’s important to note though that it took $400 in raw materials, three exhausting weekends, and a small piece of my sanity, but at the end of the day, we made this glorious desk happen.
KJ: My approach to household furniture is often ‘status quo is fine.’ Well, that only works for so long in some situations. The receipt and laptop in bed method was okay for a while, but it would get frustrating to do them if the fan was on since the fan is right above the bed. Receipts would fly everywhere when I first pulled them out if I hadn’t remembered to turn the fan off. Of course, I would have to do this when Angela was gone since sitting in the room with the fan off gets stuffy and muggy. I used a lap desk and the straps on the sides to hold down the receipts, so they didn’t blow everywhere. Since I did this so infrequently, it didn’t seem like too much of a hassle to warrant getting a new desk.
I have never really been that crafty, so when Angela found the link to the desk on Pintrest, I was sold! How hard could it be with only seven step-by-step instructions? Fortunately, my dad was very willing to assist with the project, was very generous in allowing us to use his tools, had the know-how to make it work, and was welcome to storing the parts at his place until we were finished with the desk (four or five weekends from the start of the project). After a few road-blocks wondering how we were going to plane some of the large pieces of wood or cut such small pieces for the trim of the desk front, we would find a solution. Sure, we could have done the project cheaper, but in buying a desk that we hope to have for a lifetime, we wanted to make sure to do it right and get some high quality oak woods.
What this project taught me: cheaper isn’t always the solution (take the $25 desk from Target and the $100-$200 flimsy desks we found online), go for quality when it counts, and a little sweat equity can help you appreciate the item so much more. Great work, fun times, and a desk to show for it!
AJ: This project is a perfect example of Kirby and me having totally different perspectives and finding a reasonable solution that worked for both of us. Saving money in this instance meant spending time (a lot of freaking time), but it was worthwhile time for Kirby and his dad, and they learned enough to make our next project slightly less painful (hopefully :)). I’ve joked that their next project should be an armoire. With lots of drawers.
AJ/KJ: Please share with us your stories of what you have done to go to an extreme to save money!
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