Budgeting Lessons Learned From My Six-Year-Old Temporary Blinds
Question: How long will a set of temporary paper blinds (the kind you first put up in a new home before you install the permanent window coverings) last?
Answer: At least six years. I’ll let you know when they fall down or disintegrate, but they appear to be going strong.
The paper blinds hanging in my bedroom (that happen to be about a year older than my almost-kindergartner) perhaps could've been replaced a long time ago.
Instead, we keep them.
Why We’ve Kept Our Temporary Shades
I’ve had this conversation a couple dozen times with my wife as we’re headed to bed:
Do we have the money to get some permanent window coverings in here?
I don’t know – probably? How much do they cost?
They’re pretty expensive. $800 – maybe more.
Well, do what you have to do. That’s a pretty good chunk of cash – wouldn’t hurt to wait a while.
So, we waited a while. Because temporary blinds are pretty cheap. And permanent window treatments are not so cheap.
And while we waited, $800 passed through our hands many times. But we never bought permanent window coverings.
Window Treatments Just Didn’t Seem That Important to Us
All because every time we considered the purchase, it just didn't seem all that important. It didn't really line up with our priorities, there were other things we’d rather spend the money on, and the temporary blinds were working just fine.
And this frequent decision wasn’t just a hypothetical floating around in our heads. We use a zero-based budgeting system that clearly lays out everything we need and want to spend money on. So that $800? It literally got earmarked somewhere else every time.
I don’t know about you, but purchases in the $200 to $1,000 range always trip me and Kate up. They seem too big to just run out and buy, but too small to save up for. So they get pushed off until we finally give up and just buy them. Or, in the case of the long-living temporary blinds, we stand our ground. Neither makes sense.
A Solution That I Can Live With for Window Shades
I’ve figured out a way to have my cake and eat it too when it comes to getting new window shades. After all, those temporary blinds will need to get replaced eventually. In my budget, I set up a category called Home Repairs & Improvements. I set aside $50 a month, and eventually we’ll have however much money we need to buy permanent window coverings.
Even better than having the money, we’ll have given ourselves permission to make the purchase. And until then, our six-year-old temporary blinds are working just fine.
Start setting your mind at ease for those big purchases that feel too small to save for with your own budget in YNAB, an award-winning budgeting app. In the meantime, enjoy those temporary blinds and see if you can outdo me. Six years people...let’s see if you can set a new record.