After living in apartments with white walls for most of my adult life, I was excited to become a homeowner when my husband and I got married. Paint options! Landscaping! Curtains! My house was a blank canvas, just waiting for me to decorate it. Well, the decorating buzz wore off quickly after I found out how expensive everything was. I thought, naively, that asking my mother-in-law to sew some curtains for me would be a cheap alternative…until I priced the fabric. And that trend continued. Landscaping plants? Yee-ow! New flooring? My wallet felt pinched again. Despite the sticker shock, we have accomplished a lot in the six years since we've moved to our current home.