The First Month's Budget

December 01, 2017

It’s December 1st here in sunny Delaware, and it feels more like an October day than December. That suits us just fine though, the off-season at the beach is peaceful and quiet, and sunny weather in the mid-50s is great winter beach weather.

I decided to take the day off today, so Eric and I came down early to get ready for the weekend. We’re coming down without a chore list (intentionally), but there’s still a few things to get done today like a grocery store and hardware store run. And of course, a walk around the neighborhood.

There’s something else special about today. It’s the first day that both mortgages were due. And it feels good to have them both paid ahead of schedule and feel comfortable about it. Time for a sigh of relief. The world didn’t end and time didn’t stop!

Getting Started Expenses

We’ve had the new house for about six weeks now, and Maureen has been fantastic about keeping and recording all of our expenses as we go. We thought we’d share what the first month of second home ownership looked like. Specifically, this is the stuff we needed to buy for the house to get it setup, not the normal every day expenses like grocery runs.


Category Total Gifted
Furniture $680.00 $264.00
Linens/Bedding $959.88 $0.00
Kitchen $27.74 $40.00
Electronics $2,209.95 $0.00
Decorations $18.00 $0.00
Misc $678.00 $0.00
Total $4,642.68 $352.00

All in all, not a bad total. A second house is obviously a very big expense, so this feels like a very reasonable startup cost. We’ve been living in the house with all three kids almost every weekend since we made the purchase, furnished and comfortable.

Let’s go into some of the details now.


We were very lucky that our house came basically fully furnished. A lot of the stuff here is not our taste or not in the greatest shape, but a ton of it could be reused with not a lot of effort. Having that from the start took what would have been the most expensive category and made it very small.

Item Description Price Gift?
TV Stand Black TV Stand with drawers from Molly $0.00 Y
Glass Cabinet Homemade glass cabinet from Karyn (still in Maryland) $100.00
Entry Bench Coffee Table turned into a bench, cost in supplies and fabric (I really like this one..) $20.00
Living Room Rug It’s an awesome blue $264.00 Y
Slipcovers Allowed us to reuse two ugly but comfy couches $230.00
Crib Crib for Maggie $0.00
Seagrass Chairs Two new chairs for the living room from a used furniture shop, but originally Pier One $250.00
Coat Rack Wall mounted coat rack purchased at the church bazaar and repainted $5.00


No matter what, you’re going to need new linens for a second house. It’s really not possible to reuse from one house.. so this was always going to be a bit of coin, and most of it is just getting our bed ready for us. You spend like a third of your life asleep.. you better like your mattress!

Item Description Price Gift?
Comforters 2 Queen, 5 Twin $167.00
Mattress Pads 2 Queen, 4 Twin $25.00
Pillows 8 Pillows $32.00
Throw Pillows $30.00
Shower Liners $0.00
Fabric for Recovered Pillows Pillows match custom entry bench $17.00
Crib Bedding For Maggie $10.00
Crib Mattress Crib was free! $39.99
Queen Bedskirt $14.00
Queen Mattress 50% off, no tax in DE $499.00
Queen Bedding $85.00
Towel Bar For Master Bath $40.00


Next up, the kitchen! This is another place you can really spend some money, and we were again very fortunate to buy a house that came with lots of stuff in the cabinets. A lot of it is old and not our style, but it’s clean and it works, and that is definitely good enough for now. Speaking of clean - I think the entire afternoon of our first full day at the house was spent washing, by hand, every single thing in the kitchen. It’s good to know it’s all clean.

The things we’ve bought here have all been second hand at the church bazaar or thrift stores. Things are relaxed at the beach, so there’s no need to go extravagant. We might have a nicer, more formal dinner party in Maryland, but at the beach it’s all cookouts, crabs, and BBQ.

Item Description Price Gift?
Blender $0.00 Y
Dishes 12 place settings $40.00 Y
Colander $0.25
Flatware $0.25
Dish Mat $0.25
Serving Platter $1.00
Serving Tray $1.00
Knife Set $0.00 Y
Cutting Boards $0.00
Mixing Bowls $0.00
Coffee Maker Required $24.99


Continuing on the my-wife-is-amazing theme, we’ve spent very little on decorations so far and the house still feels comfortable and cozy. Seriously, second hand shops, Craigslist, yard sales and bazaars.

Item Description Price Gift?
Driftwood Flag On front of the house $40.00
Pergola Lights Above the hot tub on the deck $13.00
Shelf with Hooks $15.00
Framed Mirror $5.00
Mug Holder $15.00
Towel Hooks for hot tub Mermaids and seahorses $18.00 Y


Here’s a big part of the total! The house came with a hot tub on the back porch, which is amazing. The downside is that the hot tub was over 10 years old and needed some upkeep. So we replaced both pumps, the control board, and the heater, had a water refill and got chemicals all setup to maintain it properly. Doing that was a significant expense, but it should be ready to go for at least five years now.

We tried having cable at the house briefly, but decided that all we really need is Netflix and Hulu. We still don’t have a TV at the beach, and it’s really nice. It shouldn’t be the focus anyway.

Lastly, I am in the process of becoming my Dad, and I like blowing the yard somewhat obsessively. The entire lot is pine needles, so every time we go down I blow the garage, driveway, and deck. It’s an easy way to clean up and keep everything looking good, and it sure beats mowing the grass or a lawn service.

Item Description Price Gift?
Apple TV $200.00
Hot tub repair Pumps, control panel, heater, refill $1750.00
Leaf Blower This sucker is amazing. $175.00
Hot tub chemicals and test strip kit About 4 months supply $84.95

Just to be clear, hot tubs are worth it!


Last but not least, a few other things that don’t really fit anywhere. By far the most exciting to me is the home gym. The ground floor room is insulated but unfinished and has plenty of space for a gym area. I plan on adding a squat rack and some more plates over time, but what we already have will work great.

Item Description Price Gift?
Home Gym Full Gold’s system, bench, 300 lbs in plates, adjustable dummbells $300.00
Dollar Store purchases Random stuff $123.00
Vacuum $30.00
Baby Monitor $30.00
Hardware Store misc $200.00

Like the content? Share it around..