My fiancé and I made out like bandits this Christmas - I’m not sure if its because everyone knows exactly how broke we are due to this site, or if this was just the year that everyone decided to give money in lieu of other gifts, but between the two of us we ended up with $900 worth of cash and gift cards.
The question before us now - what do we do with it? We would be demonstrating remarkable maturity if we would use the cash to pay off debt, but that’s no fun, and besides - we have several major household purchases that we have been putting off due to lack of funds.
One of the things that we put on our holiday wish list this year was a snow blower (our driveway is steeply sloped and a pain to shovel), and I’m quite certain that the $200 home improvement gift card my beloved received was intended to be spent on just that. One problem with going that route: the store that this gift card is for is sold out of the model of snow blower that we want and they won’t be restocking again this winter (this really has me befuddled - it’s December in the Upper Midwest! - I have a hard time believing that we’ve already experienced the worst this winter has to offer). So, we have a $200 gift card to a store that is not a national chain and we need to decide what to spend it on.
We have come up with the following options:
1. Patio Door. We need a new patio door to replace the existing slider that is beginning to fall apart thanks to the elements and repeated improper use by our dog (she is very smart and has learned how to let herself in by pushing on the door frame). We’d like to put in French doors - at a cost of $1000 - $1500. Clearly, this is significantly more than we have to spend, but it’s a real need as the existing door is beginning to rot.
2. Deck. The back of our house has several large oak trees and it’s difficult to grow a nice lawn with all of that shade. The previous owners’ solution was to put in an 800 square-foot deck to cover most of the ground. The deck was very well-done and is nice for entertaining, but according to the neighbors it’s over 15 years old. Last summer it became evident that its days were numbered as we discovered that carpenter ants have made the deck and the surrounding railroad ties home. The whole mess needs to be ripped out and replaced. We haven’t figured the total cost yet - for fear of sticker shock - but I’m certain that it will be significantly more than that of the afore mentioned door.
3. Fridge. We could also really use a new refrigerator. The one that came with the house is dying a slow and miserable death (miserable to us due to the fact that it has begun dripping water and leaking and freezing and creating a huge mess). We’ve put off replacing it for nearly a year now, trying to get the last bit of life out of the darn thing. I’ve done some looking online, and it appears that we can find a suitable replacement for $800 - $1400.
Choosing any of the above mean blowing more cash than we received for holiday spending, but all will probably need to be purchased within the next year or so. Ain’t home ownership grand?
There’s one more option that we’ve discussed:
4. Wedding Fund. $150 of the cash we received was specifically ear-marked for the wedding, so I will deposit that into my wedding savings account at ING. We could also deposit the remaining cash ($550) into this account and spend whatever we have left over from the wedding on home improvements. The only problem with this solution is that it leaves the $200 in gift certificates hanging out, losing value after six months. I am sure that my fiancé could find a way to blow $200 on tools, but I would prefer to be more thoughtful and put it towards something that we really need (e.g. options 1-3).
What’s a couple poor of pathetic homeowners to do with such good fortune? I’ll let you know when we make a decision. Until then, I welcome your thoughts.Stumble it!