Saturday, 30 October 2010
There are some strange things about being responsible for a house. I still feel like I'm playing at "being an adult" and there are some things I haven't quite got used to yet. Mostly, it's the things like repair work and decorating, but arguably the strangest experience was last year when we came to renew our home insurance.
Up until then we'd had an "unlimited" contents policy, but our premium shot through the roof, so we started shopping around... and realised we could get a substantially better deal if we worked out how much cover we actually needed.
Being a geeky kind of couple, we went around the house with our laptops, putting everything we owned into spreadsheets with an estimate of the cost. But - and this was the scary part - we realized we needed to list the cost of buying everything new and at full price.
I almost never pay full price for anything. I buy things when they're on sale, I scour the internet for the best deal, and if there isn't a discount on a specific product then I'll wait until there's a voucher for the shop I want to use. I have loyalty cards for everywhere, and cashback on my credit card. I reuse whatever I can, and make a lot of things myself. But if (heaven forbid) my house burnt down, I'd want to be able to replace everything, straight away, no faffing.
My buying habits have two strange side-effects when it comes to pricing up the house. One is that my spreadsheet is full of numbers that are, in many cases, much higher than what I actually spent - leading to a terrifyingly high figure, far above what I would have expected. But the other is that my shopping habits lend themselves to stockpiling: I'll buy a year's worth of coffee or lentils or soup. A few packets in the cupboard probably wouldn't need to feature for insurance estimates, but we have a pantry packed floor-to-ceiling with mostly-organic food and drinks, and the prices quickly add up. (The other day I spent over £100 on tea because my favourite brand was at an insanely good price, with a long use-by date...)
And soon, of course, we're going to have to do it all again for our next renewal... thank God we saved the spreadsheets!
This isn't my house - just somewhere I once stayed - but we're redecorating so pics of my living room will have to wait!