Learning to scale back

Earlier this month, I helped some old friends stage their home, in order to get higher offers. It was not an ideal situation. They had bought about a year ago. Very nice place. They had always lived very frugally, and had bought when the market seemed just about right. They had intended to stay in this house for at least a decade. They moved and settled in, and loved being home. And then the primary wage earner was let go. It was a major blow. Since December, they’ve made ends meet, while trying to find options that would let them stay in their home. Temp jobs. Independent contractor positions. Trying to find creative ways to spend less and earn more. They recognized that staying in their home may not be an option. So far, they had gotten an offer, which would put them out about $15,000. It’s not an ideal situation.

So it was that I offered what help I could. Decorating. They had set up their home in a way that was perfect for them, but it was not going to get them the kind of offers that would be acceptable. So we went to work. We basically moved my living room to their place. I bought some items that I’d been waiting to buy. Painted one room. Had the carpets cleaned. Organized their storage, and put all unnecessary items away. Reupholstered a storage bench. Put out potted, flowering plants along their terrace. In the end, the place looked good. I hope it’s good enough …

As I returned to my own home, I thought about how extravagant my life is.

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