Cheap vs. frugal – I argue there is a difference


It has been a pretty eventful week on the homestead, although not a lot of physical progress has been made on the house. Tuesday two additional trees were taken down as we were running short on some boards. Fingers cross, those will be the final two trees that we need to fell. I am so relieved as nothing scares me more.

My Dad is a retired banker, so dealing with money has been a big part of his life. He is always on the hunt for a bargain and we have gotten some great deals. There is an Amish community in Unity with a store. He researched and found that the Amish have the best price on the insulation that he wanted to use so he bought the insulation for the walls on Wednesday from the Amish.

When you are building a house and Hammond Lumber has their annual sale – you do anything to attend. I typically like to be at work at 8 a.m. as I feel I am most productive early in the morning without a lot of people around. The semi-annual Hammond sale was on Thursday so I was in Belgrade looking around to see what bargains I could find at 7 a.m.

As of this point, I have bought all my windows at “discount barns”. The funny thing with windows I have learned is that many, many times stores and contractors order windows and then they are sent back as homeowners change their mind or the windows are measured wrong. Stores don’t sell these at full price again, so most typically get put in a discount section. Usually, these are brand names in perfect condition, but are sold at a 50 percent or more discount. I am still in search of my window for the front of the house. The more I think about the triple window that I bought last week, the more I just don’t think that it is right for the house. I think that I will probably try to sell it.

Back to the Hammond sale. I am still searching for the perfect window. I saw a gorgeous one with four square windows and then two triangles on top. That is pretty much exactly what I am looking for. The problem is that the pitch of my roof is going to be a 12-12 pitch and this window was a 9-12 pitch. It just wouldn’t work. I am actually thinking that I might have to order a new window, but I have not given in to that just yet.

Back to the Hammond sale. I was anxious because I wanted to get to work. I had yet to decide what to put on the exterior of my house. Just as I was leaving the sale, my Dad was still looking and said he found an amazing bargain. He found enough Hardie plank siding to side my house. He asked if I wanted it. I hate having to make major decisions so quick, but he said that it was a great deal and some of the best stuff that you can put on your house. In fact, it is what my parents have on their house. After telling me that it can be painted to whatever color I wanted to, I quickly agreed.

He went back this afternoon to Belgrade to pick it up. Unbelievably, he found another entire pallet of the same exact stuff. He again made an offer and now I have enough Hardie Plank to side both my house and what will be my barn in a few years. He said that I paid less than half of what I would have if I had bought it at retail price.

I don’t want to be cheap as I am building my dream house. Plus, not many people can say that they themselves actually built their dream house. If I can buy top quality products at half price because someone measured wrong – I’m perfectly fine with that.

The goal tomorrow is to start boarding in some of the first floor. We have a big admissions event at work, but as soon as that is over I will be swinging a hammer and I can’t wait!

Laura Reed

About Laura Reed

After 15 years in college athletics, the last seven as an assistant athletics director, I was burned out with 70-hour work weeks and extensive travel. I resigned my position and accepted a position in marketing at a small, vibrant college in my hometown of Unity, Maine. In the process I wanted to go back to my childhood where we raised polled Herefords, had a Christmas Tree Farm and spent many hours outside. I decided I wanted to build my own home on beautiful farmland that my family owns. With help from my Dad, the most talented person I’ve ever met, we are building my home together. I have decided to blog my experience – the ups and downs, the joys and frustrations. What was once an open field will one day be my home! The dream in my head is becoming reality. I can just see the lambs frolicking in the field, chickens in the barnyard and going running with my Alaskan Malamute!