Sunday, June 2, 2013

Life since we moved into our new house

I was inspired by Ash at Mick and Ash's Build to give an update on what life has been like since we got the keys to our house. Things have turned out a little differently to what we expected.

We moved into the house in early October 2012. It was a bit of a frenzy getting ourselves in and sorted with only 1 week of leave from work (That included cleaning up the old place). Slowly but surely we got ourselves more furniture. This included an awesome couch for the media room, which we freaking LOVE! We excitedly bought a rug for the media room too. We ordered some couches for the lounge room. We didn't really go all that crazy with purchases though, as we still knew we needed to put a lot of cash toward landscaping.

In November Daniel was the first to have his birthday in the new house, which was fantastic. Shortly after this we got some crushing news that Daniel would have to take a 20% pay cut. This absolutely changed the excitable flow of progress we were on. Luckily we had savings, and the only debt we have is the mortgage, so we were able to budget and work out that we could continue to survive. But basically, everything came to a massive, grinding halt...

We had already planned with Daniel's Brother to get him over to concrete our driveway and patio, it was too late to cancel at this point, plus we really needed a driveway so we could get our cars in the garage before storm season!

So we got our concreting done in November. We then got our new couch set delivered in December for the lounge room (we had already paid for them in full in October, pre-budgeting). It was around this time that Daniel's brother also donated his old dining table to us. We also got our blinds installed in December (which we had also booked and paid the deposit for prior to our budgeting hurdle). So we went ahead with a few big expenses, but didn't feel there was a lot of choice.

Despite all of the unexpected stress we had our first Christmas in the house. It was lovely, and it was really nice to put up the Christmas tree out in the lounge room, and I decorated all of our little nooks and niches with Christmas decor.

Throughout the build, Daniel was under the impression that he would actually be getting a pay rise in the new year. The company obviously didn't foresee such huge issues as a result of the global financial crisis, they probably should have, but that's another story. So this was really a huge shock to the both of us, it came out of nowhere. As someone who works in the public sector, we thought it was my job at risk, not his. It's really hard to see Daniel go though this, he works hard at his job as it is, and none of this is his fault. It's hard to feel valued in your work when you aren't being compensated appropriately.

In some ways this has made us realise we can live on a lot less than we were. We are still able to save, but at a snail's pace. A lot of plans were put on hold, not just landscaping, but a lot of life changing plans that we were beginning to seriously consider. We also look back and think thank goodness this didn't happen sooner, as chances are we would not have gone ahead with building our house at all if we had known.

So for now, we are just doing the things that we can manage. We do a lot of things by hand that we would have preferred to just get a bobcat in to do. We use a push mower while our neighbours have ride on's. Despite these worries, there are certain things that need to be done in the yard that just can't wait. To the side of the house we need to build a retaining wall, as we are losing good soil each time it rains, this will also greatly improve the look of the house when you first enter the property. We also need to get an excavator in to level the soil around the house and dig out one side of the yard a bit further so we can build a retaining wall there too.  As it is now, it's just dirt all around the house, with a bit more grass than there was during building. Since the ground isn't flat, it makes mowing a bit of a bitch. We also would like gardens, decks, pathways, a shed, and the list goes on. This would really be the bare minimum that needs to be done.

8 months in, this is really not where we saw ourselves at this point. So we are here, just the two of us, with this beautiful house surrounded by an unruly yard. It's hard to be content when life has taken a bit of a turn down a different path to what you expected. But ultimately, we are happy, we have each other, we have this house which we have worked so hard for. Massive lessons have been learned. So for now, we must focus on what we have, and not what we are missing out on. I'm not religious at all, but I remind myself as often as I can to be grateful for what we do have, and to be more content with what we have now.


  1. That is such terrible news about Daniel's job. But what you have achieved despite the blow is wonderful :)

    I know what you mean about putting off certain decisions, I won't go into detail about our situation, but we have had to do something similar. The time will come though, whether we're ready or not emotionally or financially, so I keep saying we should just have fun in the meantime. And you're exactly right, appreciate what we DO have.

    I think it's the Australian way to build/buy your family home and slowly save/labour to finish it (well, that's what I tell Mick anyway!). So, whilst it's hard yakka, I like to think we're following in the footsteps of our parents and grandparents.

    You have a wonderful home on a great property that you WILL tame one day and appreciate it all the more because you worked hard for it :)

    I tell you, if I ever head north, or if you come south, we must meet up :)


    1. You're right, we have still managed to achieve a lot. I think it's been a lot slower recently though, which is why we're starting to think this way. This has certainly taught us a lesson about 'emergency savings' and how important it is.

      You know what, we actually will be down Sydney way later in the year! (That's where you guys are right??)

    2. We are. We'll be on our honeymoon late November through to mid December, but if you come down before that, let me know :)

      I know what you mean about slow progress being tough. We may not have hand-over tomorrow now as they can't get the painter back today (among a few other issues) :( We've sent the builder an email explaining that it costs us hundreds of dollars every week we're not in. These problems should either not happen in the first place or, should have been picked up and corrected weeks ago. Several of them we told them about weeks ago! Gah! Oh well, stay positive. At least we're close and we have each other right? You're message is very timely about being grateful for what we have :)

  2. Lauren despite the pay cut I think you guys have done so well. Some new couches, blinds, rug and concrete is nothing to sniff at and is quite an achievement in what is really still a short amount of time.

    In our first house we lived with sheets on the windows, and no fence for nearly three years before we finally slowly had the money to get these things done and throw in a bomby car and an aging washer and fridge and I thought we would never have it looking how I wanted. It wasn't till about 6 or 7 years later that we even finally got a outdoor covered pergola area.

    This time around lol we find ourselves in the same position with just a shell of a house and a wasteland outside and an aging car that fast needs replacing. You should see the outside of our house! We have no dining chairs, no table, (we do have table but trying to sell as it doesn't fit right) have been eating at the kitchen island and one old lounge and no blinds so from my point of view you are doing better than us so give yourselves a big pat on the back. We will both hopefully get there just a little slower than we both thought I guess.

    Will be fun to keep up our updates to see how each of us is battling along, I will do an update soon too as I just got internet on and once you hear of my "issues" since moving in you will feel so much better haha. I keep saying that the build was the easy part and now the hard part where we take over is beginning. It's a lovely motto at the end to remember too.

    Seriously though you just survived a house build, a high five to you guys!


    1. Thanks Tash, your words are very helpful to put it all in perspective!

      Looking forward to hearing an update from you, but sad to hear things haven't gone as well as you'd expect!

      Haha, high fives all round I think!

  3. Hang in there, everything will find its place in time.

    Think about this as an opportunity to think about your landscaping needs, form a to-do list and slowly tick items off. Even doing small DIY task can make a big difference. The more time you spend planning your house, the best the end result will be.

    1. Thanks. It really is a good opportunity to slow things down a notch and put more thought into future plans for sure.