By: Revanche

Still living like a college student

January 29, 2009

Kelly at Almost Frugal posed the question: How much extra are you willing to spend?

In this case, she’s looking for a new bed for her daughter. Her mother suggested that she just consider how much EXTRA she’s willing to spend over a baseline price for the item. The theory behind this is that she’s going to pay the baseline price anyway, the only consideration is how much a premium she’s willing to pay on top of that.

That’s very interesting: I’ve always taken total price into consideration, and didn’t actively separate the purchase price from the premium.

In coming weeks, this purchasing perspective will be very applicable to my personal shopping needs. If a new apartment is in the works (I hope I hope!), I’m going to need some basic furniture and tools. Mostly kitchen stuff, and a basic tool kit.

Major factors include distance (how far will I lug stuff) and space (do I have room for stuff). The most significant issue, of course, is cost. Since I don’t anticipate any crazy signing bonus, not a normal thing in my industry anyway, what I’ve got in the moving account is what I got. (A whopping $1498, if you’re curious.)

It’s a balancing act: take enough stuff – avoid shelling out cash for new stuff, pay to haul stuff.
Take too much stuff – no room for it, costs money to lug it to destination.
Take too little stuff – minimize moving expenses and buy at the other end.

With that in mind, I’m debating what to keep and what to leave behind.

A few months ago, my assumption was that when I moved, my parents would be moved out into a smaller, cheaper apartment. Reduce cost and required upkeep: less stress all around. Turns out, around here? No such thing as a cheaper apartment.

Get this: we’re paying as much for our rent (3 bdrm, 2 bath house) as some folks pay for a 2 bdrm apartment. Can you believe that!? We have the amenities of a single family home (in home laundry, no share-the-wall neighbors) with the associated utility costs. Most importantly, though, we have the freedom to keep our pets. My sole surviving dog of our former 3-pack is a large breed, and no apartment within 30 miles will allow her breed or size. Not even for a premium. And there is NO WAY I will turn out my dog. None, nada, nope, never.

After parking, laundry, fees, and pets are considered, it doesn’t look like we’d be saving more than a few hundred per month, if that. That means that staying put is an option, and that means that I could keep some of my heavier (really old) stuff in my room. Renting out one room to help with cost is a possibility, but I could also still keep my room and have a home base.

The desk: is a 12 year old heavy particle board executive desk. (Yes, I was a spoiled brat and *needed* the 6 foot wide desk with a hutch. We paid way too much for it. But I’ve used every inch of it and work at it every single night.) Doubtful that I would take it with, it’s survived a couple moves but it’s way too heavy for me to haul up and down stairs. I’d like to be as minimalist as possible in case I have to move all by myself.

The bed: is a 13 year old twin day bed. Same old frame and mattress. I’d like to take it with because it can be set pretty high off the ground to create extra storage space vertically. For once in my life I’d love a double, but it’s not a need.

The bookshelf: it’s comin’ with me! I use a deconstructible (uh, is that a word? I’m not a wordsmith today) steel framed bookshelf. Nothing fancy. Just four shelves in black, and I like being able to hook things into the zigzags of the shelves.

A storage bench: this comes with me too. I got this storage bench from Ikea, unfortunately in white, but it’s great because it’s got foam padding on top and storage inside. A decent bed in a pinch. Maybe I’ll just use that as a bed until I get a good deal on a real one?

Chair: I don’t even know how old this desk chair is, but the hydraulics still work, it’s got enough padding on the back to serve. It’ll go with.

Lamps: My friend gave me his extra floor lamp a couple years ago and it’s still working well, as is the ten dollar Target desk lamp that sits by my bed. Both go with.

Misc (Clothes, shoes, and books): I think the books will be the heaviest since I have so many paperbacks and trade paperbacks (comics). They’re my indulgence! I have pared down the paperbacks, pulled out about 150 of them and a good friend who shares a PaperBackSwap account with me listed them for swap. It’s awesome, I supply the books, he supplies the labor, we share the benefits of getting cheap books.

Some basic clothes will stay here, but all the comfy and professional clothes go with me. I’ve already spent a lot of time paring down here too, but I could use another concentrated go at it.

Same with the shoes: some will stay here, but I’d like to make sure we’re down to the essentials only. The definition of essentials will depend on where I go.

Kitchen: there’s nothing in this kitchen I would take from my parents, other than a few favorite glasses/mugs. Maybe the Brita. My parents don’t like it anyway. For that, I’ve got about $80 left on a Bed, Bath and Beyond gift card and some coupons. A pot, a pan, a few dishes and utensils from Ikea should do the trick.

I wonder if it’s too early to set my baseline prices for a bed and desk substitute?

I’m not sure if I’d be willing to yard sale a bed, but a desk would be fine. Perhaps I can hold out on shopping until yard sale season?

12 Responses to “Still living like a college student”

  1. ldub says:

    just found your blog recently (can’t even imagine how i got here, actually – i sort of thought i’d found the end of the internet a while back!), but i just wanted to drop in and say that i love it and i’m looking forward to reading the entirety when i’ve got the time (for now i’ve just skipped around). very interesting story, and it’s cool to read PF blogs from other young women (esp of the lefty variety!). hope to hear more – one random question. in your first post, you talk about there being a boyducky – is he still in the picture?

    i’m very impressed at your fortitude, your planning, and your writing. thanks for sharing it!

  2. Miss M says:

    I moved to california from Virginia in a plymouth neon, I couldn’t bring much other than the personal items. I think I bought most everything I needed from IKEA and the furniture served me well for about 8 years. Then it was time to get “real” furniture, though I still have some IKEA stuff. My mom has/had way too much kitchen stuff so she gave me her cast-offs, which I still use. We eat off of these totally 70’s plates, I laughed my ass off when I saw my dishes used in a flashback scene on My Name is Earl! Try thrift stores, craigslist and maybe yard sales, I never see anything I’d like at one.

  3. mOOm says:

    Where are you moving to? Did you get a new job? Or just planning in case it comes through?

    I’ve done lots of international moves and it does cost a lot of money…. I’d hate to think how much junk I’d have if I didn’t have an automatic culling every few years!

  4. Don’t underestimate moving costs!! I’ve moved several times and even though I try to stick to a budget, I always go over it. Always. Think about all the cleaning supplies you will need. The little things in the kitchen, such as kitchen utensils, cutting boards, plates, bowls, cutlery, ziploc bags, aluminum foil, clingwrap, kitchen towels, kitchen mitt, etc. Bed Bath & Beyond is expensive, I like to get all that stuff from Target. Some TJ Maxx and Marshall’s sell things for the home (towels, kitchen stuff, sheets, bathroom stuff, etc). To this day i’m still surprised by how much a trash can costs. They are pricey!

    IKEA is a good place for furniture, but it does add up. I would take advantage of all those furniture shops going out of business and see if you can get a good deal. And never, ever skimp on a mattress, that’s your back you’re investing in!

  5. Karen says:

    Personally, I would not/could not buy a used mattress. And I’d probably leave the old and get a new one when I moved and then they’ll deliver it. You can buy risers if you want to store under your bed.
    With my stuff, I usually use the 14-16′ truck. I checked Budget and did a rough guess, under $200 for the truck!

  6. I brought absolutely everything, even the junk (and I have my old kitchen table under my bed).

    But only because they paid for movers, which is pretty common in my industry.

    Are you moving to NYC? Driving? I’d take only what I could fit in my car, probably. That was my backup plan

  7. Really interesting way to look at things!

  8. Moving costs can add up! As for kitchen items, check out tag sales, garage sales, thrift shops, tell friends and family that you are setting up a new house. You’d be surprised how much “stuff” other people have that they may be willing to part with. I got a knock off Le Cruset 5 qt dutch oven (made by a Le Cruset European competitor) because someone did not like the funky green color.

    Another place to look for furniture is a hotel liquidator. We have one not to far from me and they have some really good deals on used furniture.

    Dollar stores are the best places to get your cleaning supplies. Save the BBB gc for a treat to yourself.

  9. Revanche says:

    Wow, so much good input!

    ldub: I don’t think we’ve reached capacity on the internets yet! 🙂 Welcome! Sorry to say, I’m not a lefty actually, but at least four of my best friends are. I bet I’d be way more creative if I were lefty. Do I sound like one? “BD” is, as they say on FB, an “it’s complicated.”

    Miss M: Depending on where I end up, Craigslist might be the way to go on smaller items. Do you remember how much you ended up paying to furnish your place? (I know, it was a long time ago.)

    mOOm: Just planning just in case, most of the places I’ve applied are not in the area. Helping other people move was great motivation for me to start culling stuff a few years ago, I just need to keep it up!

    losangelesdaze: I know BBB has a premium, I just like using their better coupons (10 off 30, when available) combined with GCs redeemed from CC awards. I wish I could redeem for Target but those usually aren’t an option. Saves me real cash, at least.

    I hear you on the trash can – how are they so expensive??

    Closing furniture stores are prob’ly a good idea but I don’t know what really good baseline prices for furniture would be. Another item to research!

    Karen: To be honest, a used mattress doesn’t sound terribly appealing. I might hit Fatwallet for information on building my own foam bed, or ask my cousins to help with that. 🙂 That’d be comfy and under $200.

    And I still have your list of advice, too!

    stackingpennies: Holy cow. That’s an awesome benefit. I guess I wouldn’t bother culling if I didn’t expect to pay for and haul everything myself. Then again, I hate packing and unpacking.

    No destination yet, just prepping in case. And my car’s really little, so even if I stayed somewhat local, I wouldn’t want to have to pay for a truck if I could help it.

    notesfromthefrugaltrenches: It’s great that everyone knows so much about moving!

    Bouncing Back: You’re right about friends, one friend has told me to check her kitchen for anything I might need that she has extras of. So I’ll do that before buying. And it might be time to go to vinegar in a spray bottle for cleaning. 🙂

  10. mOOm says:

    I’ve always had help with moves for jobs from the employer (which is the norm for academic positions) but it’s never been enough. Even the very good relocation assistance Snork Maiden got coming here to Australia wasn’t enough…

  11. Karen says:

    Revanche: Try overstock.com for mattresses. If you have mypoints it says 10 pts/$1 plus free shipping over $50. I bought my bedframe on overstock.com.
    Also, you may be able to buy now with a furture delivery date (furniture was 50% off). My friend just bought something to be delivered in March from RTG.

  12. Revanche says:

    mOOm: I would imagine the int’l move to Australia would cost quite a lot; sounds worth it, though!

    karen: I’ll keep that in mind for when it actually happens. Can’t order anything until I know where I’m going! 🙂

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