#BolehBudget: 9 Things First-time Homeowners Want But Can Probably Do Without
A want is not a need.
There are lots of things we can do without in life, but being the persistent beings that we are, we get it anyway. It’s very much the same when it comes to purchasing our first property. This article outlines some of the things we can do without when planning to buy or moving into our first home.
1. A lawn or yard
We naturally yearn for more space and the possibilities of lush greenery, and it’s not wrong to lust after a landed property but hey, space costs money, and while it is not wrong to crave for a home with a nice yard, it’s not going to come cheap if you have a tight budget.
A big yard also comes with maintenance costs so you’ll likely need to fork out extra money for grass, gardening and trimming.
Alternative: If you long to be embraced in the green tendril-like arms of Mother Nature, consider indoor gardening and hone your green thumb to be surrounded by plants you can plant in your balcony. Think: basil, mint, rosemary and other edibles that are easy to grow.
2. Stainless steel appliances
Stop paying premium price for white goods if you can’t afford it at first.
Alternative: If plain-colored appliances bore you, consider sprucing it up with washi tape: inspiration can be found here.
3. Dining table and chairs
If you’re cutting down on furnishing budget for your first home, and don’t have a big family, you may consider doing away with buying dining tables and chairs.
Alternative: Drop-down tables are fashionable, affordable and fit well into small spaces. With the right design, you can transform that table into a cozy, trendy breakfast nook right in your kitchen.
4. A bathtub
It’s a known fact that we Malaysians love water very much. When we stumble upon rivers, waterfalls and lakes, we constantly find excuses to mandi sungai. Take away our water during Syabas maintenance resulting in water cuts, and it takes all of 2 minutes before we fly off the handle.
Naturally, if given a chance, we’d all love a bathtub or two in our homes. However, this is a luxury you may be able to do without if you’re trying to move into your first home within a certain budget. Besides, it’s more economical and safer to use the shower.
Alternative: Treat yourself to an inexpensive rain showerhead and shower away. ;)
5. Air conditioner
The last time we checked, yes, it is indeed hot enough in Malaysia to fry up an egg (telur mata, anyone?) on your car hood with the occasional extreme heat. However, if you’re thinking about installing a couple of air conditioners in your home, do know that it will cost quite a bit, and that’s not including the maintenance you may require occasionally.
Alternative: If you’re not keen on an air cooler that also doubles up as an air purifier, and MUST absolutely get an air conditioner, it may be wise to hunt down an energy-efficient model.
6. Cable/satellite TV
Do your budget a favor and jump onto the cord-cutting bandwagon by doing away with subscribing to your favorite satellite TV packages.
Alternative: With more streaming content out there than you can shake a stick at (iFlix, Netflix, etc), it’s only natural to consider putting your feet down and saying NO to cable TV bills. All you need is Internet connection, and if it’s something you already pay for anyway, then it’s a no-brainer, dude.
7. Coffee maker
RM 3,000 or more for a coffee maker? Thanks, but no thanks.
Alternative: There are cheaper ways to make your own morning coffee (think: coffee press and pot), and besides, fresh juice is healthier ;)
8. Gym memberships
To condo residents: the next time you fork out money for your favorite celebrity gym center (which by the way, is rather odd as we have not spotted any celebrities working out next to us yet), do note that your own humble condo has a gym too. News flash: it’s free!
Alternative: In lieu of a gym membership, you may opt for swimming in your condo pool or going for brisk walks every day to up your fitness game. Remember, 10,000 steps every day is ideal to burn at least 2,000 to 3,500 calories every week!
9. Expensive audio system
Unless you’re a serious audiophile with cash to spare, then you’re probably better off without an expensive sound system in your new home.
Alternative: There is a good selection of quality USB speakers that can be bought at a fraction of the price of a high-end audio system. Go figure.