It’s been a while since I last gave you guys an update about what I’ve learned as a first time homeowner and, WOW, so much has happened. I thought it was about time to share what I’ve learned. Also, I’m excited to announce that I’m now working with American Express and their Blue Cash Everyday Card, which I personally use and helps make my everyday more epic. These days I’m all about entertaining friends and family in my new home, so getting 3% cash back on U.S. grocery store purchases (for example) when I use my card is majorly beneficial.
Today I’m sharing my list of essentials that I think every first-time homeowner needs, plus ways to reward yourself for all of that hard work, too!
It may seem old school, but I’ve been doing a ton of reading about home renovations and how all the various parts of my house function (or should function, as is often the case). I’ve found that it helps me to better understand the quotes I’ve receiving from contractors, electricians, and plumbers, but also gives me a greater sense of ownership over this entire project. Having a fixer upper is tough, but I find that arming myself with information helps quiet my nerves. A few helpful books:
- 100 Things Every Homeowner Must Know by the Editors of Family Handyman
- The First-Time Homeowner’s Survival Guide by Sid Davis
- Tile Makes the Room by Robin Petravic and Catherine Bailey — sooo much inspiration for my kitchen and bathroom renovations!
Also, another absolute essential: a shop vacuum. It doesn’t matter if you have a fixer upper or a move-in ready home, a wet/dry shop-vac is totally necessary. I seem to use mine for everything, whether it’s cleaning up after the electrician, quickly fixing something that I shattered, or tidying up dirt from my frequent potting sessions on the deck. I don’t know what I did before I picked one up. Trust. You need one.
Next, you need a good credit card, one that will reward you for all of your hard work and purchases. I had to replace my washer and dryer, so I used my American Express Blue Cash Everyday card to make sure I got 1% cash back when making this big purchase. Homeownership is funny because it feels like one big purchase right after another, and while I have the cash in savings, I’d much rather take advantage of awesome perks like 3% at US supermarkets, 2% on gas and department stores and 1% on everything else. It really adds up, especially because this card doesn’t have an annual fee. I like to think of it as money back that I can put toward a vacation to treat myself or something I can put back into the house!
p.s. for all those wanderlusters like myself, new Blue Cash Everyday® Card Members can now earn up to $300 cash back, with 5% on $4,000 in travel purchases (up to $200) and a $100 cash back welcome bonus — all in addition to the regular cash back and other benefits of being a Card Member. New Card Members will get 5% cash back on the first $4,000 they spend on travel related purchases!
A few other things that I’ve learned are absolute necessities after 6 months in my first home:
Palo Santo or smudge sticks — when I first moved in, the house just didn’t feel like mine because it smelled a little funky. We whipped up some DIY smudge sticks and brought the good vibes into my house, turning it in more of a home.
Paint decks from your favorite stores — this will help you make faster decisions when selecting wall colors. Plus, paint is the easiest thing to change and will immediately make the place feel way more like home.
New lightbulbs — even if you’re not ready to swap out light fixtures, I suggest changing the bulbs. Light is yet another way to make a space feel homier and, as we all know, everyone’s preference for brightness and temperature can be drastically different.
Swatches and inspiration — I’ve practically been hoarding fabric and wallpaper swatches from my favorite artists and designers as a way to get inspired for my space. I walked into my home on closing day and felt totally overwhelmed by all of the possibilities, but narrowing it down to these key patterns and colors has really helped me.
The past 6 months have definitely been full of ups and downs, but with my living room makeover well underway, the space is feeling more and more like my own. Once that project wraps up, I have the feeling I’ll be rearin’ to start another room…
This is the first in a series of 5 posts that I’ll be doing in partnership with American Express — there’s so much good stuff coming, so be sure to stay tuned!
Photography and styling by Jojotastic, assisted by Gwen McKenzie.
This post is sponsored by American Express. All opinions are my own and always will be! Thanks for supporting content that keeps Jojotastic going.