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How’d you afford your new stove?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by joecool85, Mar 16, 2011.

  1. joecool85

    joecool85 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
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    Loc:
    Central Maine
    I'm in a bit of a tough spot. My wife and I are fresh out of college (well, 3 years ago) so we are paying on student loans as well as a house loan and two car loans...needless to say we are tight on cash. The bank won't give us another loan and American Express won't up my credit to cover the $2,500 I will need to get a stove and chimney and install it.

    So, what did you guys do? Anyone else in a real tight spot have a creative solution? Or is it just save, save, save?

    I really want to get a stove in before next winter. Fuel oil is already up to $3.75 here and I'm willing to bet it'll be above $4/gal by next heating season.

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  2. MishMouse

    MishMouse Minister of Fire

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    Jan 18, 2008
    Messages:
    777
    Loc:
    Verndale, MN
    What I would do is buy the stove first while they are on sale.
    Then worry about getting it installed in the fall.
    If you wait to long they will be out of stock and when they get them back in the prices will go up.
    Check Home Depot for a Englander stove, some people on here are finding them at or below $900.

    I would also start cutting and splitting like a mad man to get a good wood supply for the fall.
    Also do a search for NC30 on the forum, I think there is a website that also is selling them for a pretty good price.
  3. tfdchief

    tfdchief Minister of Fire

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  4. MaintenanceMan

    MaintenanceMan Burning Hunk

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    Loc:
    Southern IN
    More debt will not dig you out of the hole your in. Save/work more. Borrow less. You may not want to hear that, but the real answer is work hard and save. Reducing and consolidating your debt will give you a little more flexibility. Eliminating the vehicle debt and driving something cheaper you can better afford would be a place to start. Cutting up the credit cards would be another. Best of luck.
  5. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Loc:
    Northern IL
    Get rid of one of those car loans. I'm not saying to "not have the car", but ya probably don't need two "new" ones. Sell it, take the cash and purchase a lesser car and use that loan payment money to finance the stove and install.

    Get rid of your interest bearing loans that can't be a tax advantage (tax advantage = the house).
  6. Fsappo

    Fsappo New Member

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    Central NY
    Cheap EPA Stove to start. Buy things as they show up on sale. Pay cash.
  7. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Carver, MA.
    I also suggest you start gathering firewood now before you get a stove so you will have good fuel ready to burn.. Cut, split and stack it off the ground on pallets etc. and if you cover it just cover the top.. Try to stack it where it will get good wind and sun exposure for better results.. Then save a few bucks and pick an Englander at HD on clearance or a good condition used EPA rated stove.. You will also need to determine your chimney needs..

    Good Luck!

    Ray
  8. MishMouse

    MishMouse Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    777
    Loc:
    Verndale, MN
    I agree with the above also.
    My philosophy on getting something extra is if I can't afford to pay cash for it I do not get it.
    While watching TV last week a financial adviser talked about living "below" your means.
    This is good advise for our current economy.

    Myself I am in the market for a 7 passenger transportation.
    I passed on many good buys so far that would have required me to take a loan to pay for it.

    As for my advise on buying a stove now when they are on sale, do not do it unless you have the money for it.

    Look at your debt, and try to find ways to reduce it, if this means getting rid of the cars and going to a cheaper more efficient compact, do it. Interest is a killer and it will destroy you.
    Do not use credit cards unless you can afford to pay them off when the bill comes.
    If you find yourself running a balance and making min payment it is time to cut up the credit card.
    Do not go out to eat, do not go to movies, bring your lunch to work.
    Remember "Ramen noodles" are your friend.
    Save, save, save...
  9. certified106

    certified106 Minister of Fire

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    Athens, Ohio
    Sorry this won't help you at all but my Dad gave me my first wood stove when they got their new Dutchwest. It was 10 years old at the time and a little bit bigger than they currently needed for their house (fit mine perfectly). Nine years later I am still using it and just now getting in the position to drop some bucks on a new one.

    I agree with one of the other posters if you are serious about heating with wood go ahead and buy an Englander 30 it seems to be a great budget stove and then worry about getting your chimney and hearth together. If you watch Craigslist you can sometimes find chimney systems to take down for a great price and save some serious bucks.
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Have to agree with Jags. Get out of debt. When we got out of college we had a used car. We didn't have a house loan until we were in our 30's. Our furniture was thrift store and Salvation Army specials. Get an older well maintained, reliable vehicle and keep it up. Use public transportation if possible and save where you can.
  11. Fsappo

    Fsappo New Member

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    Doin the same thing right now. Had to spend about 50K to adopt my wifes daughter (still not done) the situation REQUIRED us to to get into debt. Before this, life was kinda easy. Now, its peanut butter sandwiches, deer meat and Oneida Lake fish. No movies, no going out, no new clothes. We live cheap and put every penny extra we have towards paying down debt. It may feel like its taking forever, but your young. I've been thru it before in my 20's (debt incurred via poor lifestyle) and after a few years of digging out, it was well worth it. I'm serious. As I sit at my desk there is a loaf of bread and peanut butter in my drawer. I dig my own worms and help process deer for the free meat.
  12. Nater

    Nater Member

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    Loc:
    Southern Maine
    I am in the same position as you, but one year out. We graduated a few years ago with school loans, bought a house, and one car on loan. We are tight on cash too. We don't go out and half our meals are some sort of pasta. We had a stove left here from the previous owners (who never used it) which was left from the owners before them, so it is an old pre-EPA stove but it works. We didn't burn wood our first winter here and were going through over 200 gallons of oil a month and keeping the thermostats at only 60 during the day and 50 at night.

    We had a baby last spring and knew we couldn't keep the house that cold so we ended up getting our chimney professionally lined (and it needed a little bit of repair). We didn't have the cash for it so we ended up getting a new credit card to cover the expense (about $2000). If we would have waited until we saved enough, I'm not sure when we would have been able to do it. After buying wood, we still have saved close to the $2000. And the house was much warmer, 70+ degrees.

    As great as it sounds to get out of debt and save, it was not realistic in our case. If we saved first, it would have taken years to do and ended up costing us way more than the liner + interest on the credit card. If you can't get financing, could you try to borrow off of relatives? My in-laws are great but I know everyone is not as lucky.

    If you can swing it, I would recommend getting the Englander NC30 as others have recommended. And depending on your chimney needs, you might be able to do it yourself to save a lot on installation costs.
  13. smokeater

    smokeater Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2011
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    Loc:
    western canada
    I know where your coming from trying to scrape up enough money for your first stove,we started out with a cheap stove and I had a carpenter come and cut the required holes and do the bracing for the pipe and then worked the bill off with the carpenter,this left the installer to pay but it wasnt that much as most of the work was done.The stove paid for itself and the installation in a couple of seasons. In a few years we were able to upgrade to a better stove and plan on one more upgrade in the next couple of years.Find a way to get it done as the cost of your furnace fuel will probably pay for your stove in short order.One thing to watch for is put the stove in a place where you can upgrade to a better stove with little or no trouble (clearences etc.) Good luck!
  14. joecool85

    joecool85 Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Central Maine
    Excellent advice guys. We are already doing most of it. Both car loans have 2 years left and are on used vehicles we got good deals on (a 2000 Ranger I bought for $5,400 2 years ago and a 2002 Focus we got for $5k last year). I don't really want anything older/cheaper than that because it needs to be reliable transportation.

    As for the scrimping thing, we already do. We don't eat out (not even McDonalds etc), we grow most of our own vegetables and fruit (still eating canned stuff now from last year) and we never buy new clothes since we have a great second hand clothes shop near us. The credit card debt we have is from when we were in college and had no other way to pay things for a short period. Still paying it off now. We pay a little more than twice what the minimum payment is.

    As for wood, we have 4 cords cut split and stacked ready to burn from 2 years ago and another cord I need to split that is already mostly seasoned - it was cut a little more than a year ago. We will probably cut split and stack another 3-4 cord this summer. I'm hoping to burn about 3 cord per year to bring down our fuel costs, it won't be our sole heat source.

    Due to space limitations in our home we will need to get a small stove with good clearances. The best option we have found is the Morso 1440. We looked at the Englander 17VL and while the price was attractive, the clearances weren't quite as good and the wife wasn't happy with it either. We will need to install a steel chimney up through 2 floors (well, only THROUGH the second floor). So the $2,500 I talked about at the beginning covered the stove, the chimney and all bits and pieces to install including building a small hearth with gate.
  15. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Sounds to me like you just need to keep on, keeping on. Your doing the right things and your supposed to be broke when you are young. Its just the way things were meant to be. :lol:

    We can't all be rich old farts (I'm not gonna mention any names here) ;-P
  16. snowleopard

    snowleopard New Member

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    Given what you've described, I'd consider putting what money you have into a good chimney system, and install the least-expensive stove you can--possibly even a 35-gallon barrel stove from a kit. If you go that route, get a steel barrel, and put sand and firebrick in the bottom to keep the barrel from burning out. You might have to install that offset to the chimney system to deal with the clearances for now, or insulate the wall behind the stove. It'll be easier to swap out a stove than a chimney, and a good chimney is critical to your safety. Let the fuel savings from that cheap stove buy your next stove. There's a country saying from way back: a barn will build a house, but a house will never build a barn.

    Congratulations, btw, on your degrees and the reason for the gate on the hearth. Sounds like you're doing everything right. Keep it up, it'll get easier.
  17. KarlP

    KarlP Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    485
    Being in debt was the only real down side to my life in my 20s. My advice is to pay it off as quickly as you can. Just imagine the freedom you'd have without a mortgage or auto loan, and the ability to cover your CC balances in full every month. IMO that freedom is well worth scrimping in your 20s.

    You really have two choices. Make more or spend less. Perhaps you could try a little of both?

    Maybe try to find some side work revamping primative websites for local businesses or something else in your skill set?

    Perhaps use that side job money to buy and install a top quality chimney you'll use for decades but install a cheap ugly used stove off craigslist to use use for a few seasons while you get out of auto and credit card debt?
  18. joecool85

    joecool85 Minister of Fire

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    Central Maine
    Thanks. That's what we're planning on doing. Normally I would want to put anything like this on a credit card of a loan but because it would pay itself back in fuel savings around the same time we'd be paying off the loan or CC debt, I figured it was worth considering.

    For now I'm going to try to do some more side jobs and my wife is trying to pick up some more hours at work. I'm salary, so it doesn't matter how many hours I work lol.
  19. ozzy73

    ozzy73 Member

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    Loc:
    ON, Canada
    Rember you dont need to get a brand new stove. See if you can get a free or used stove to start with. I got my stove for free, put new glass, new firebricks, new coat of paint on it for approx $300. As far as student/car loans, been there done that. Glad its over. See if you can make some lump sum payments towards the loans to pay it off quicker.

    As my wife always says...be Froogle with eveything.

    Ozzy
  20. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Michigan
    Joe, your situation sounds so familiar but it does sound like you are doing many of the necessary things. There very well may be more you could do though and remember that debt is one of the very worse things that anyone can have. It is slavery in the modern world and you will be a slave until those debts are repaid. The credit card debt it perhaps the worst sword hanging over you but I am wondering if it might be possible to borrow (I hate that thought...) enough to pay off both cars and the credit card debt; a consolidation loan. This might increase the interest rate a little on the car loans but would decrease the credit card interest rate drastically. You could also possibly reduce the total payment, especially since you are now paying double on the credit cards.

    I have told our kids that if at all possible, never go in debt. That is really difficult when it comes to housing but it is possible! On cars, people say they paid x $'s on the car....but did they? The amount one pays is not the selling price. The amount is the selling price plus taxes plus insurance plus licensing plus interest. Add it all up and you will then be able to say what you paid or will pay for that car. I don't recall the amount we paid for our last car but do remember figuring that out with someone else and sadly I do not remember the difference. But we paid cash for the new car and then someone calculated the difference if we had financed it. A real eye opener for sure! The same goes for housing. There are ways to decrease this cost but it is not something that many will be prepared to do. There are also other things one can do within the budget to cut costs. One big one today is cell phones. What about cable service? What about Internet service? Everyone needs to ask if those things are really necessary or are they actually luxuries.

    I also recall when my first wife and I were married. We had little. Our car, which was purchased less than 2 months before our marriage cost a total of $120. We did buy a home but paid $7,500 for it and that include all furnishings. It suited both of us well. We had no television and only a small portable radio. We did have phone service but at that time we paid the bill once every 3 months. Our service charge was less than $10 for the 3 months. In addition, we made very, very few long distance calls because that was an added expense. One can save on the cost of fuel too. For example, if you take showers, take a military shower. That means to get in the shower and turn on the water only long enough to get your body wet. Then soap down the entire body before turning the water back on to rinse. This not only saves dollars on heating water but if you are in the city you save on the water bill. If in the country you save electricity use by not running the water pump so much. There are other things you can do and I advise sitting down several times to look at all dollars you have and where those dollars are going. Then and only then can you really determine exact ways you can save dollars.

    Back to the heating situation. For this year you will have to determine how much money you will be paying out. Weight the cost of installing the stove and the cost of the fuel vs the cost of heating the home with oil or gas. Which ever is the cheaper way to go should be the final decision. If that means waiting a year before getting the stove in, then you just have to wait.

    This also brings to mind one time, again with my first wife when we had finally bought a television. She had found one in a second hand store but it was unknown if it really was any good and the guy wanted $20 for it. My wife, being frugal, purchased it for less than $10. It did not work so I took it to someone I knew and told him if it could be fixed for less than $20 to fix it. Otherwise, throw it out. I went back in a week and it had cost me $10. Years later that tv went berserk. I told my wife that I would not buy a tv again unless we could afford a color tv. (Yes, we had black & white at the time). We saved for over a year until we could buy one. We got along just fine without the tv during that time and even today, we have the tv on very little. My guess is less than 20 total hours per year that our tv is on. Again, there are ways to save dollars.

    Through all of this, do not forget to pay yourself a little. 10% is ideal but perhaps you can even trim this amount. However much you pay yourself, put it into the bank and don't spend it. That way it will earn some interest and compound interest is your friend.

    Guess I'm getting carried away here. Good luck.
  21. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    +1 on Smokeater's thoughts about getting a starter stove and upgrading. I understand that space is tight in a 1200 sq ft house and that you want to tuck the stove into an alcove, but the 1440 has only ~ 0.74 cu ft of firebox. You will be loading it ~ hourly to put a dent in your oil bill. Also the firebox is ~ 10 x 12". Is the wood you have CSS cut to ~10" length? If not, you are looking at recutting all of it. Doh! Also, 10" splits make for tipsy stacks. I suggest that you post a floor plan and let heart.com work its magic to find a location in your house for a stove 2-3x the size of the 1440. Maybe an Englander 13 for ~ $500, then get a pretty cast iron stove after several seasons of not buying oil. :) You're already doing the hard part of saving $ with wood, why hamstring yourself with a tiny stove?
  22. zzr7ky

    zzr7ky Minister of Fire

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    Hi -

    I did all my research. Built my own scaffolding, dragooned a buddy to help lay the brick part of the chimney, installed the liner (rigid w/insulation). It was a fair bit of work but paid back right away.

    See what the component parts cost. Talk to some of the supliers. Then get a stove used or on clearance. A lot of folks get stoves from Lowes, etc on end of season clearance.
  23. woodchip

    woodchip Minister of Fire

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    I go along with all the advice given, and would add just one little thing........

    Try to choose a stove with a flat top so that you can cook your meals on it too.
    We grow our own veggies etc., and to be honest, we have two savings with out stove, we have free heat, and we can cook a whole meal easily on it too.
    Boil water for coffee on it as well and before you know it you will have saved a small fortune on utilities!!!!!
  24. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    +1 on all the Suze Orman type advice too, but she would tell you that there's a time to borrow. If you have dry wood ready to burn, it's costing you $ to wait to buy a stove and heat with oil. You'd have to crunch the #'s to be sure, but I doubt that the interest on $2500 for 1 year would be more than, say, 500 Gal of oll. . .but I'm going to play Suze and challenge you to do it for $1500! Englander 13 or CL find for $600. Chimney liner for $500. No chimney? Stovepipe inside the house and class A outside, Selkirk SuperVent @ Lowe's for $68/3-ft. See if HD or Lowe's are running 0% until 2012 financing, or if you can get a new CC with a similar promo. There's a web site with hot CC promo's listed, but I don't recall the URL. www.fatwallet.com would be a good place to ask about good CC deals.
  25. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    Beautiful British Columbia
    Put an ad in craigslist etc... that you are looking for a used wood stove and chimney and would be willing to remove it from someone's home if they want to get rid of theirs. Lot's of people who buy homes have no use for the wood stoves that came with their house when they bought it, to them it's just an eye sore and they'd just as soon see it removed.
    When he heard that I was heating with wood my neighbor offered me an old stove he removed from his place, and some insulated chimney pipe and a chimney brush kit , all for $100. The stove, although older, has been working fine in my shop. The chimney pipe and brush kits was basically like brand new, when I priced it out at the store would have cost me over $500 alone.
    Don't hesitate to mention your financial situation in the ad like you did here, that might garner some extra sympathy. ;-)

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