Anna Burgess Yang

Tinkering With Ideas #020: Houses are money pits

Published 9 months ago • 2 min read

Hi Reader 👋 -

Happy Wednesday. I'm planning to launch something new on September 1 which is (checks calendar) less than a month away now. I'm not ready to provide more details yet, but I figure that I'm speaking it into existence by telling more people. It's something I've talked about for a long time and finally taking steps to make it happen. So stay tuned.

1) Reflection:

My dad has always said, "Houses are money pits." And it's true. Something is always breaking down. And unless you are swimming in money, you likely have a long list of upgrades you'd like to make.

My house is 40 years old. It's quirky. We've done small upgrades like new doors and major upgrades like an addition a few years ago.

When we first bought the house (almost 13 years ago, to the day), my spouse wanted something bigger. As a former banker and very money-conscious, I convinced him that it was better to start smaller and make changes as we saw fit. Better not to be "house poor" and have all of our money tied to a mortgage. I've never regretted that decision.

But that's not to say I haven't dreamed of the things we could do and wish we could do them all now. We can't. Instead, we have to make plans, save, and prioritize.

2) Product:

In addition to All The Things I want to do to this house, there's also all the stuff to keep a house in proper working order. Like cleaning gutters or washing windows.

Houses don't come with instruction manuals, but an app called Upkept can help. It's made by Consumer Reports and you put in all the stuff your house has (appliances, bathrooms, etc) and it tells you what to do and how frequently to do it.

Honestly, I found it a little overwhelming so you may want to scale down and start with the most important parts of your house or apartment. But it's super helpful in knowing what to do to keep a house in tip-top shape.

3) Tip:

You may have a running list of improvements for your home, but do you have those ideas written down?

I keep mine in Todoist, but any list app would work. I have them grouped by year, like "This Year" "Next Year" etc, depending on how much I think we'll have to spend on the project and how high of a priority it is. I also have a bunch with no particular date because who knows when we'll get around to them.

Most of our projects happen in the summer months because that's when I have time. I have two left for this year (!). There have also been times when things don't go as planned and I have to move something from "This Year" to "Next Year" because a project came up with a higher priority (like my son teenage son accidentally breaking the staircase railing...).

That's it for this issue of Tinkering! See you again in two weeks.


Anna Burgess Yang

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Want more ideas?

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Anna Burgess Yang

Writer. Productivity geek. Always tinkering.

I share tips, tools, and resources to make your daily life a bit easier.

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