The Cost of Being Cheap

10 Apr

My husband and I have been painstakingly saving money for a couple of years for a down payment on some type of home. The only thing we could even remotely afford is a co-op in this area. Condos are too pricey for us. And, as you could easily ascertain, a house is way, way too pricey for us.

When we first moved in together, I had this idea that I would buy “nice” furniture because I thought that we would be able to move out with the future and already have the “nice” furniture for our eventual home. I would look at furniture online and my friends, looking over my shoulder, would make comments, wondering how we were able to buy “nice” furniture at that point in our lives. Now, you might have noticed that I have annoyingly been putting the word nice in quotes and that’s because I have come to realize something in hindsight: the furniture I thought was nice was, in fact, not.

Maybe some people have better luck than I do but anything that I have purchased in terms of furniture that was “cheap” or that I thought I was getting a good price on was actually quite a piece of shit. I know there are other people who have 349-year old couches that get passed down through their families and they are still in great condition or people who buy a cheap futon that decays at the rate of a diamond but this does not happen with me. Let us review my examples of what I have deemed my lessons regarding the cost of being cheap.

The Couch

We moved into our apartment without a couch and spent approximately one month sitting on the floor. We searched. We didn’t have a lot of money because my guy had only been earning a somewhat decent salary for a short period of time and I just started working my first full-time real job a month or two before that. Jennifer Convertibles? Nice but it would take too long to get to us. Raymour & Flanigan? Ouch—too expensive for us at the time. Random furniture store on a major avenue? Okay, I guess so. We happened upon a really gorgeous sectional that was a leather blend. For $1,000, I was happy with the price. Eventually we got the couch. For two years, I was enamored. The couch was super comfortable. I could nap on it at any time. As far as I was concerned, my couch was better than yours.

And then one day I noticed pieces of my couch coming off.

Since then, the entire couch has completely been peeling off. If you lay on the couch, you will end up with 695 pieces of the material on you. You know where someone walked because you will find trails of the couch from the living room to wherever they end up. And because of the way the couch is built, you cannot put something on it to cover it—the only thing we could really try to do was staple a sheet onto the back and it never stays in place. To further fuel my ire, the couch is built in such a way that a baby could fall through and be trapped. There is a Nintendo DS case stuck in the couch and we have no idea where it is—we have even cut a piece of the couch open only to not be able to find it. Why do I own the Bermuda Triangle of couches?

The Bed & Dresser

I guess I should know better than to depend on the prices of Ikea but really, they know how to suck you in—they appeal to small spaces, city living and your first time being out there on your own. When you can’t afford much, you end up at Ikea, finding yourself walking into their model rooms, picturing the furniture in your own home. This bed was actually purchased way before we moved into the apartment but it traveled with us; the matching dresser was a later addition.

So imagine my “shock” when one day, a day where I am actually cleaning no less, I am leaning on the end of the bed and BOOM, I fall straight down with the end of the bed. I take a look at the bed—we had been sleeping for who knows how long with my side of the bed barely being held together. Great. I am all set on purchasing a new bed when, after looking around and getting annoyed, we decide that my dad can, for the time being, reinforce the bed and shove additional screws in there.

The dresser? I don’t know what the bottom drawer has against me but this thing is always misaligned, doesn’t like to close and randomly drops down. My husband has better luck than I do so his dresser, also a matching dresser but slightly bigger, has no problem with him. Again, it’s all me.

Back to Bad Living Room Choices

We purchased an entertainment center. It’s a decent size. I think my favorite parts about it is that we could never get the top on quite right, pieces came off as we screwed parts of it in and that the entire top shelf dips down in the center. I love having a shelf I can barely use because I am terrified that it will break and fall onto my flat screen television.

I also eventually purchased a coffee table and matching end tables. I think the thing I like best about the coffee table is how it wobbles from the slightest touch. I honestly don’t want to even bother attempting to fix it because I kind of want to see when it just all falls down.

I Will Not Leave Out the Kitchen

I have to say I think I learned my lesson in terms of purchasing Ikea products for the kitchen as well. Salad bowl I barely used? The entire bottom fell off. Wok? Fell apart. Other frying pans? Gone. Why do you hate me Ikea?

Result?

We are currently looking for a new couch. We almost purchased one last week but then took a step back. I wasn’t quite ready to put the $3,000+ on a new sectional. We plan on only buying real leather because I hate microfiber and do not want any fabric since my husband has some intense allergies. There is also enough cat hair around and don’t need another surface to which cat hair has an extreme affinity to. I am trying to buy  a nice couch that we can take with us, such that I want the sectional to have each of its own individual pieces so we can change the orientation if need be.

I will wait on the other furniture…

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