$1,825.48 to Set Up a Home and Pictures to Prove It

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Earlier this week I shared my tips on how to set up a comfortable home without breaking the bank.

Today I want to take you on a tour of the house to show you what it looks like so you’ll know that you can set up a frugal house, too.

Since we’ve been back in North America, we’ve had to completely replace almost all our household items.  I’m amazed at the fact that we have almost everything we need and we spent less than $2,000 ($1,825.48, to be exact).  That covers all the furniture, new bedding, pots and pans, kitchen items … everything other than some clothes and a dozen boxes of books.

To be clear, I don’t think I have the nicest, fanciest, or best decorated house on the block, but I do believe that we were able to save a ton of money to have a nice looking house.  Also, we’re not doing this because we can’t afford to buy more/nicer things for our home.  When we left the mission field, we agreed with our supporting church that instead of shipping our items back to the States that they would give us the cost of shipping in cash so we could re-buy household items.  We are well below that amount.

Our theory is that the less we spend on setting up the house, the more we’ll have to give.  It’s one way we’re trying to live out missional frugality and the principles I discuss in Transforming Your Financial Diet.

There are multiple reasons why we decided to set up our house as frugally as possible:

  1. We believe it is a way to honor God.  I firmly believe that how I spend my money is a reflection of where my treasure is.  What we spend money on is a reflection of what we value.  To be blunt, if I’m going to sit at a desk and work for the day, I don’t really care what style or brand it is, as long as it does the job.  That’s not a value to me.  I’m certainly not judging those of you who like nicer furniture because I believe in a weight watchers approach to frugality.  I’m sure I spend more than you in different areas of my budget.
  2. We believe that frugality removes household stress.  When I calculated my hourly worth, I decided that I didn’t want to work more just to get nicer stuff.  As a self-employed person, I don’t want the stress of not having enough to pay the bills to roll over and add more stress to the work I do.
  3. We decided that we’d buy better quality items if we bought things used.  That may sound strange to you, but if we were only going to spend $200 on a table and chairs, we quickly realized our best bet was to buy it used instead of buying some type of cheap imitation wood.
  4. It’s fun.  I love the challenge of finding items heavily discounted.  It’s provides a type of shopping rush or high.  :)


If you want to know how we were able to find these prices, then look back over my post on how to set up a home without much money.



  1. JD says

    It really looks great and even better that you saved money. Like I stated in an earlier post that over 1/2 of our home is used finds.

    • says

      It’s amazing how many good quality things you can find second hand. It’s good to know that I have a fellow frugal house shopper reading the blog.

    • says

      You don’t happen to have any extra chairs :). Our set came with five which is fine for our family, but it doesn’t work so well when we have guests.

  2. Carla Mahle says

    Well done! You found some beautiful pieces. I hope your family will soon feel “at home” in your new home! I’ve really enjoyed your recent articles. It has encouraged me to tackle some jobs around the house that I’m completely capable of doing, but would much rather hire out. Thanks!

  3. Mary C says

    ……We decided that we’d buy better quality items if we bought things used. That may sound strange to you,

    This doesn’t sound strange to me at all…..but I’ve been a “frugal” most of my life…LOL And I couldn’t agree with you more…..after I had a house fire a couple years ago and had to replace almost everything, the first place I headed was the thrift & used stores, especially for kitchen items (baking dishes, etc.) because they’re better made and heavier. It’s definitely that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure…:-)

    The house looks great and you all have done a fantastic job with what you’ve been given.

    Mary C

    • says


      I’m so sorry to hear that you had a house fire. That must have been difficult. It seems like you know where I’m coming from in terms of getting good quality used items.

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