1. A little loveseat with casters and 2. an upholstered rocking chair from Grandma Moore when I first set up my apartment, 3. a sleeper sofa from her when we set up our apartment together, and later 4. another couch and 5. matching chair from her (all these pieces hand-me-downs from her home); 6. a large love seat handed down from Heath's parents, and then 7. a brand-new rocker recliner as a gift when Samuel was born; 8. my brother's rejected twin size bed for my first apartment, then 9. our queen size bed as a wedding gift from my mom, 10. another queen size bed passed down from Grandma Howard, and 11. another queen size bed and 12. bunk bed mattress that were left here by the previous residents, 13. a crib from Grandma Skipton, and 14. a toddler bed frame from Kris and Joe; 15. a chest of drawers that was my dad's from childhood, 16. another left here by previous residents, 17. a dresser and mirror passed down from my Great-Great Aunt, and 18./19. a set of nice, large matching dressers for our bedroom from Matt and Michele; 20. our nightstands from Grandma Skipton and 21. the boys' nightstand from my mom; 22. our first small dining table with folding sides from my Grandma Moore's friends, 23. a large dining table and chairs from Grandma Skipton (which we then passed on to Heath's cousin), and 24. our current dining table and chairs from Heath's parents.Even our linens and kitchen items are almost entirely gifts from our wedding. We have been very, very grateful for everyone's generosity, and it is amazing to see in the list above just how much we have been given. Our contribution to our household furnishings has been measly -- basically, an inexpensive entertainment center with bookshelves and a computer desk (both bought with wedding money), an inexpensive chest of drawers bought before we got the nice dressers from Matt and Michele, and the boys' bunk bed frame and inexpensive little bookshelf. Isn't that just nuts? Even our upstairs end tables were just $10 at a garage sale, and the downstairs ones were left by the previous residents (they left a lot of stuff behind!).
So, why can't I just continue to be happy about having these items provided for us free of charge, and not worry about getting anything more or different?
It's little things that trip me up and distract me, I think. For example, since Samuel doesn't use a high chair anymore, but sits at the table with us, we need five chairs pushed in to the table all the time (or six to be symmetrical), and because of the decorative bars under the table at ankle level (sort of an X shape) we can't push six chairs in fully. Two chairs fit on each of the long sides of the table in width, but they must remain scooted out from the table both while eating and when the table is not being used. The table is really pretty, and we like it except for that one problem. We've actually had people offer us other tables, but so far we haven't been willing to trade this one for something bigger but not as stylish. Instead, I start eyeing dining sets and thinking of replacing ours with one that would be both bigger and a style we like. But I don't want to spend $800 or more to do it. I mean, we can't, really. Except that there are all kinds of financing offers to induce us to buy on credit - which makes me wonder if around 98% of people buy their furniture on impulse. It sure seems like furniture stores cater to and invite that type of shopper.
The other purchase I recurrently consider is living room or family room furniture. First, I thought I should get a matching couch and loveseat for the living room; then I thought maybe we should get a sectional for downstairs, instead, so we could all lie on it together to cuddle up and watch a movie. Our family is getting too big to all fit on one couch to cuddle, and we love to do that. If we put a sectional downstairs, then we could move the couch from down there upstairs, which brings me to the "little thing" that has tripped me up this time - Laila's recent degradation of our already degraded sofa sleeper. Our sofa sleeper is pretty worn out - the springs have gone out so much and the cushions have lost their cushiness so much that we had to put a body pillow under the cushions to keep us from sinking in below the frame and having difficulty getting out. It helps, but we still sink in more than we should. Also, the upholstery is wearing thin in places, and part of the front skirt was eaten off by Mason when we first had him, and now part of a cushion has been eaten by Laila. I guess she found a hole in one of the bottom cushion covers (maybe a seam that was loose) and started biting off and pulling out pieces of foam from inside. We flipped the cushion around so the part she tore up is in the back and the top cushion sits on top of the damaged spot. Still, it doesn't help with the already compromised structure of the couch. We have a slip cover we use on this couch (necessary since the damaged front skirt episode), but the last time I washed it and put it back on the couch, a seam around the bottom tore out almost halfway around. I can probably sew it closed decently, but you can see the strikes against this couch are mounting.
However, the problem is, we want to get rid of our debt, not add more to it. The surgery I had has been an unexpected expense that we are already going to struggle to pay without adding to our debts. If we get new furniture now (and by new I don't necessarily mean brand new, possibly just new to us), there's no chance of doing it without more debt. But then the other question I ask myself is, when will we ever be able to get it without debt? This is the question Heath and I ask ourselves whenever we face the need or want to purchase something that won't fit into our normal budget. If we want to keep paying off our debts aggressively, when can we ever get anything outside of the normal budgeted expenses? Do I have to wait six years, the soonest I figure we could have everything paid off? That's hard. Which might just mean that it's worth doing. On the other hand, we have allowed ourselves to add to our debt to purchase certain things that we thought were important to have now, rather than six years from now. But each time we do that, it puts the paid off date farther into the future, so we have to consider if it's really worth it. In the case of furniture, it is something that affects us on a daily basis, especially me since I am here all day, but how much difference new furniture would make is hard to say. It would solve a few inconveniences and would make me feel like I fit in better with most of the other people I know - the latter being quite a shallow consideration, I know. Do any of you have experience with this? Was it worth it to buy new furniture on credit, if you did? Would you do it again?