The Time I Spent $500 During the Contentment Challenge

Welp. Two weeks into the Contentment Challenge and I cheated. Big-time cheated. I debated not sharing this, but it’s so huge I can’t go on without confessing. So, let’s get this over with.

It’s funny how life works. I decided to not shop for three months, and in the same week wrote a post about my master bedroom. That day my sister in law read the post and sent me a message that her friend is getting rid of their king size bed and, would I want it?

They were asking $500 (originally over $2k) and it was only 4 years old. And the reason they were getting rid of it was because it was “way too soft.”

Would I want it? A super soft king size bed? Why yes, of course I would!

I love J to pieces, but I am a terrible sleeper and need as much wiggle room as possible. Plus, in our long-term planning we had budgeted well over $1,000 for a mattress. So this is a steal, right?

The only hitch was my shopping fast. I vowed not to buy anything “unnecessary” for three months, and a king size bed just screams luxury. This is absolutely not under any circumstances a necessary purchase.

But how often do people sell their king size beds? And how often will someone you know sell one? (A mattress is on the Will Not Buy on Craigslist list).

I emailed my mom and two sisters — the three people I know will tell me the God-honest truth and not sugarcoat it for me. I explained the situation and asked if they would weigh in. They all said,

Sounds like a good deal. Go for it!

It was confirmed by my council, but I still wasn’t sure. Because even though we wanted a king size mattress eventually, we didn’t really need it. And isn’t that the point of this challenge to be content with what you have?

Naturally, I made a pro/con list and talked through for waaaaaaay too long with J. Maybe I should have polled you blog readers. Was I making this too legalistic? Probably.

We decided to get it. And I felt at peace with that.

But lest we close the book on this whole Ginna Goes Schizophrenic Making A Decision, I can’t overlook the fact that beds require more than just a mattress. So not only would I be buying a new bed, but it would need a new bed frame, sheets, duvet, duvet cover, pillows and shams. Cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching. The bed may be a gray area in my rule book, but these are definitely not acceptable when you’re on a spending fast because I love buying things like this.

Lucky for me, I found a little loop-hole.

I am a gift card hoarder. When I get a gift card, it is a treasure. That bad boy isn’t getting spent on groceries or paper towels — I have to mull it over for weeks, months, even years before I find something worthy enough to purchase. (J, on the other hand, spends his cards within the first three days. One of the many reasons are very different.)

So I decided to go through all of my gift cards in the last year and see if they could help me pay for any of these extra items to ease my mind about this massive cheating. Turns out I had a $100 Pottery Barn gift card from our wedding (three years ago! seriously what’s wrong with me?), $100 Bed Bath & Beyond gift card, $30 Kohl’s gift card and some credit card points on Amazon. So I managed to buy almost everything I needed for the bed with gift cards and coupons.

Here’s a very bad picture of the bed (we still need to get pillow shams… I had to draw the line somewhere):

IMG_1383Duvet: from Amazon, using credit card points
Duvet cover: from West Elm during their 20% bedding sale and using my Pottery Barn giftcard (they take Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma giftcards!).
Sheets and pillow inserts: Bed, Bath & Beyond using 20% off coupon and $100 giftcard
Bedframe: $60 from a mattress store – only thing we paid for out of pocket

And that’s the story of how I spent well over $800 (with gift cards) on my spending fast.

  • I have to ask – how is the quality of your duvet cover from West Elm? I’ve been eyeing the exact duvet in the cream color, but I’ve heard horrible things about the quality of West Elm linens, and the reviews on the website for several products mention customer service is terrible. Any insight would be greatly appreciated!
    And by the way – good spend during your contentment challenge. We just spent over $2000 on a nice king mattress. If I could have gotten a steal from a friend for $500, I’d take it!

  • I’m okay with these impulse purchases sometimes, even during a spending fast. At least for me, the spending fast was more about mindful spending and not doing anything dumb with my money or spending on frivolous things. I think the bed was a good purchase, since you’re actually saving money buying it now than waiting until after your fast when it would be more expensive (and also being green by preventing the bed from going to the dump!)

    Then again, always trying to justify an expense by saying it’s saving money in the future could get dangerous…

    But yay for new bed!

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