HomehousingI guess I've reached "that" stage in life...

I guess I’ve reached “that” stage in life…


One of the primary selling points of our home was the awesome outdoor living space. We have a good sized patio just off our kitchen that overlooks our big lush backyard, flagstone fire pit area, and the Olympic mountains and Puget Sound. Our patio is awesome, but for the last nine months, it’s been naked. With summer quickly approaching,I had to change this.

We “needed” patio furniture.

As I began the process of patio furniture hunting , I realized I’m no longer as frugal as I once was. Dare I say, I’m starting to act more like I’m 30, and less like I’m 20. 

What’s the difference between a 30-year-old and a 20-year-old you ask?

It means my tastes have shifted from Ikea to West Elm, from thrift stores to Nordstrom, and  for a nice dinner out over fast food.

Quality, not price, is my primary concern.

Yes, I still looked at Ikea, Target, and Home Depot for patio furniture and learned I could get a five piece patio dining set for about $400 at one of these stores. But why would I pay $400 for crap? Okay maybe not crap, but the furniture is inferior to more expensive sets in terms of materials used and build quality.

We love our patio. We love to entertain. We plan on living in our house for many years.

It seemed only logical that we make  the right decision and invest in a high quality patio set that we love. I knew I wanted our set to include metal and wood, but hadn’t seen anything that tickled my fancy. Most patio furniture seems to be either made of all wood, all wicker, or all metal. Like this $900 set that screams “I’m 90 years old and like to have tea parties”

Screen shot 2014-04-08 at Apr 8, 2014, 10.47.08 PM

After countless hours of searching in stores, online, and on Craigslist I finally found a patio set that I loved. It’s called the San Clemente and we found it at World Market. Check out this sexy piece of furniture…

The table was $400 which I thought was a pretty great price. The chairs, however, were quite expensive. The armless chairs run $120 each. the armed chairs run $130 each.


Multiply that by 6 chairs and things get expensive fast.

I considered buying just the table and trying to find cheaper chairs elsewhere, but then I had a 30-year-old moment, and thought to myself…

“Why the heck would I spend $400 on an awesome table and ruin it with less-than-awesome chairs?”

Not only did I end up buying six of those beautiful chairs you see above, but I bought six chairs WITH arms (the more expensive chair model) because let’s be honest, who doesn’t love having arm rests when they are sitting down?

Total damage for the set came out to $1,300 after finding a 10% off/free shipping coupon online. It’s not an uber fancy $5,000 set like Costco offers, but it’s a far cry from the $200 set I would have bought at Ikea five years ago. And it is by far the most expensive furniture piece we’ve ever purchased (next would be our $888 stainless steel refrigerator).

Growing up is expensive, and I kind of like it. 

Have you noticed yourself graduating up in certain categories as you get older? If so, which ones? In what areas of your life, do you still frugally? (we rent a room out in our house, sacrificing privacy for income)



  1. Interesting, but good for you.

    As I get older (early 30’s now) and make more money, I am actually becoming more and more frugal in all of our purchases. The house we bought last year hardly has any furniture, what little we have is from 7+ years ago or cheap garage sale items. After driving some upper 20K cars (and newer), we now drive cars that are 15+ years old. All of the clothes we buy (except undergarments) come from the used store. Daughter’s toys come from garage sales as well.

    Dining room table? $69 at Ikea. Off brand food is all we buy.

  2. We purchased plastic adirondack chairs in white. I think they were sub $10 at menards on sale and with a 11% mail in rebate. We love the fact that they don’t melt our skin in the sun, wipe clean and are super comfortable.

    Watch out for those black armrest!

    • Doesn’t have to worry about that, remember Seattle means no sun. :)Oh just kidding, we do get sun in July and August.
      The one problem I have had with plastic chairs is that up here in the northwest after a few years they get rough and you cannot get all the moss out of them. At least with metal and wood you can sand and refinish them to make them new again. (Thus I have wood with a few coats of exterior polyurethane).

  3. I am in the stage of my life where I desire nice, quality items as well, that may mean spending more.

    When we first were married, my mother-in-law was downsizing and provided us with quite a few items that filled our first condo – couch, loveseat, kitchen table, etc. As we began earning more money, I wanted to be able to buy my own things that reflected our taste, as I really never liked the pattern of the couches at all but was extremely grateful for free furniture!

  4. Right there with you, lifestyle inflation is nice. Plus, having nice stuff instead of crappy stuff that just pisses you off is also nice.
    We haven’t reached a point where we are replacing major items with nicer ones, just because, yet. Smaller things like buying better knives and whatnot, yes, but not big furniture.

  5. I bought my patio furniture from the likes of the stores you listed, but I love it! Most of my inside furniture was medium-expensive. When I buy new living room furniture eventually, it will be nice leather though. I’m tired of the crappy material on this set I bought four years ago, but I probably will be too lazy to replace it for a long time.

  6. I’ve found that people can justify purchasing about anything. It becomes even easier when you have a surplus of money. No judgements here though, I know from my own experiences.

    • I think that is the important part. If you already are meeting your other goals and still have an excess of money then purchases like Ninja’s are perfectly fine and actually quite helpful for the economy.

  7. I’m only 26, so I’m still in that frugal mode, and most of my furniture is from IKEA or thrift stores. BUT I did spend an un-frugal amount on my memory foam mattress. And I don’t regret it one bit. It’s so comfortable after a long day and I get some good sleep on it. Money well spent.

  8. I think the older I get the more frugal I get in regards to material purchases. In an ideal world I would either buy everything on craigslist or build it myself. Building it myself is not usually cheaper but I can get what I want to my exact requirements.

    The two tables I made may not be the sturdiest. But I learned a lot from building them.

  9. I think I’m a mix of both personas – on some items I’m willing to may more for quality and on others it’s frugality all the way. A poster above mentioned knives and that’s a great example where we’ve opted for quality (having knives that can cut through anything is a dream since I cook a lot)…the same went for our bbq as I was tired of my husband yelling at our old one every time he used it. On the other hand someone above mentioned kids’ stuff and almost all of our kids’ toys and clothes come second hand, either as gifts passed around by friends (as we do as well) or from the consignment store.

  10. When it comes to furniture focusing on quality is important. I used to shop at IKEA too, and sometimes still do. Occasionally you can find good deals. However, on items like outdoor entertainment, a dinner table or a couch, I prefer to shop around and spend a little bit more to have long lasting items. I guess growing up does that to you. We’re now shopping for baby furniture but with that we’re being frugal, we want something nice and simple and will not be spending more than a few hundred dollars to do up the nursery.

  11. I thought I reached that stage…until I had a baby! Now when we go furniture shopping we want things that are sturdy, but cheaper. I mean, my little one wipes her macaroni covered hands on everything! We figure we’ll get the good stuff when the kids are out of the house, lol.

  12. I always believe in Quality over quantity. Even if it takes me two years to save for it I would rather buy something that would last then something that I will replace in three years.

    Its beautiful by the way

  13. Very nice! I’ve discovered that individuals can rationalize buying about anything. It becomes even simpler when you have a excess of cash. No decisions here though, I know from my own encounters. Thanks.

  14. I don’t think I’m any more or less frugal than I was in my 20s. I do have more money to spend now, but I’m not any more willing to pay Nordstrom prices. Some things are worth paying more for (mattresses) and some aren’t (cars). It depends on the quality of the item, how long I need it to last, and what paying extra gets you.

  15. I need to step up my game and “splurge” on non-stop or flights with fewer connections. The money I might save on airline tickets isn’t worth the time I spend in transit instead of with my family and friends. 30 minute connection running through the Sacramento airport last month, I’m talking to you!

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