Good Bye to Pokeberry Hill...


Monday, January 12, 2009

Craigslist vs HGTV

This morning Hubby showed me a couple of ads on Craiglsist. One is for a big white jacuzzi bathtub in excellent condition for $125. We've been looking at those for our new master bath. We plan to get one just like this one and then build a box around it and tile it. The ones we've seen in the stores go on sale at just under $400 but most are in the $600 plus range--way out of our semi-frugal budget. Actually, for the house--our budget is a bit below semi-frugal--its bare bones.

The only draw back to this tub--assuming it is indeed in the condition it appears to be--is that it is about an hour's drive away. So it would eat up an evening for sure. I guess if we run out there and get it--that's an evening that will conservatively net us about $300. I guess a couple hours is worth $300.

Another tubby Hubby showed me was a matching jacuzzi tub and sink--the tub was a little smaller, and both items were blue. Hmmm.. Hubby suggested they could be used in the kid's bath. I thought we could 'pass' on those. Not that I am anti-blue. I'd take them for free and decorate around blue. Actually the bathroom my kids use now has blue tile so I've already got a few things that will go with that. But I thought-- we don't have to rush. New things come up on Craigs list daily, hourly.. and since we live in an area of about 1/2 a million folks-- it is not at all uncommon to find really nice stuff on Craigslist.
Yup, its true--thanks to Craigslist--these days beggers can be choosers! There is a huge amount of stuff out there in the world of second hand America.

Craigslist is in fact almost my entire 'plan' for purchasing appliances for the new house. Since we are renting we do not currently own any major appliances. We did buy a washer for our landlord--got it for $50 from Craigslist--and it works and looks great, but we haven't owned our own appliances since we moved away from our old home several years ago. I remember buying appliances in the past--I paid $600 for a fridge once--I will never do it again. I just don't care about 'new' like I used to.
Having owned both old and new appliances and vehicles I have learned that stuff happens to new stuff just as much as it does to old. Actually I have found that the more cool features an appliance has the more often it ends up needing to be repaired.

I'll be calling on that tub this morning and hoping the seller still has it and Hubby can run out there tonite after work. Anytime we can bring an item in under budget it just thrills me. I am always expecting things to cost 'more' than I planned for, cuz that's how life usually is.

This brings me to HGTV--Hubby and I do watch that sometimes. I often find my jaw dropping when I see the shows where the expert realtor comes in and looks at a perfectly fine house and inevitably tells the owner that they will get $2 for every $1 they spend on the kitchen or the bath. Every single time they want stainless appliances and granite counters and all the carpet and paint to be neutral. Of course this means that before the folks sell the house they need to take on some debt to improve it. All this is done 'in the air' more or less like so many things these days. Nobody really has the $$ to invest--they count on the house to provide 'equity' that will cover the expenses when it sells. They want to get more so they spend more.

I watched a house in our neighborhood it was for sale and didn't sell. I thought it was overpriced--if they had knocked it down a notch maybe someone would have taken it. Instead, after many months of not selling it, they started to remodel it--putting more money into it. Well ok, but it still hasn't sold and is now for rent or rent to own or lease purchase--like most of the houses around here.

It used to be that folks thought a house was a long-term investment. Now we have HGTV and such like telling us that houses are short-term investments. You see someone who has owned a house for all of two years trying to leverage it into buying a better more pricey house. This is quite common on the many house flipping, selling, upgrading, Do it Yourselfing TV shows--not just HGTV--but that came to mind.

What on earth are folks thinking? That's all I can say. I know I get alot of weird looks when I tell folks what we are doing. Some 'get it' but some truly think we are nuts. Nobody understands the concept of settling for a little less and making do.

I was looking at the hillsides and yard at my new place yesterday--(and whenever I get over this darn cough I will be going to work on those!) Last night on tv, we happened to see a house with hills sort of like ours and the people who owned that house bought all these gorgeous mature plantings to landscape it. I think it must have cost them more money to buy those plants and install a garden wall than I have spent on my entire house and land. It looked like a place fit for King Solomon. I thought--sheesh--how many Americans live better than King Solomon? He was known for his 'stuff' but hey--we have way more stuff than he did.

It didn't appeal. I don't see it or get it. I want a yard that I gardened myself--even if it takes a long time to do it. I would rather it be the result of my own hands working in the dirt than the result of one day of a bunch of contractors and Mexicans, paid under the counter, coming in and throwing up an instant perfect landscape. I would feel as if I lived in a sham.

Equity! Oh look how much more valuable it is!

Yah sure, who can afford to buy it??

What is crazy is these tv shows--they are all just sophisticated giant info-mercials--but what is really crazy is that with the housing market in such bad shape and the economy going south-- the stuff on the shows has not changed at all. We all must still have granite countertops.

Well, I guess I'll just hit Craigs list and see if there's any granite on there. ;)


  1. Another place to look for good used items for a home might be your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. When we were remodeling, we did not have the time or inclination to resell things that we replaced. We donated them to to the ReStore. We took in sinks with faucets, counters, appliances, etc. You might check it out if you have time. To find the location nearest you -