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June 17, 2010

I love to spend money on my home.  It is not uncommon for me to ask for things for my home for birthdays and Christmas.  I would almost always rather have a new lamp or piece of art than a great pair of earrings.  That said, I, like most people, have a limited income.  As such, I have to make choices when it comes to decorating, and I have to budget.  Here are some of the ways I stretch my decorating dollar and budget for big purchases.

1.  Prioritize  –  I have a small monthly budget for decorating.  I try to make the most of it by prioritizing my purchases.  I have a running list of things I want for the house.  I have gone room by room through our house writing down the things I want to add to our home over time.  I then prioritize the list by level of importance to me.  Seeing where my priorities lie really helps me resist buying things on impulse.  I carry the list with me in my purse and pull it out to remind myself what I am saving for whenever I am tempted.

2.  Spontaneity  –  Sometimes, spontaneity gets you the biggest bang for your buck.  For instance, let’s say I have a lamp for Edward’s room listed as one of the things I want for the house, but I have several other things in line above it.  While out garage saling, if I find the perfect lamp for $20, I will often go ahead and snag it.  Sometimes the good buys don’t match my priority list.  I have learned that I need to be flexible at times.  Being able to grab items at a much reduced cost definitely helps me stretch my decor budget.

3.  Go visceral  –  Buy what you love!  If something is a great deal but something about doesn’t seem quite right, I don’t get it.  I have learned that compromising and getting something I can live with rather than something I love will end up costing me more in the long run.  Why?  Inevitably, if I don’t love it, I will end up wanting to replace it in a couple of years.  In my experience, it is better to save and wait for the perfect thing.

4.  Shop around  –  I cannot stress this enough.  I NEVER make a major purchase at a store without considering the possibility of finding it cheaper online, buying it second-hand from craigslist or ebay, or making it myself.  If, I am unable to find it cheaper somewhere else, I check for coupons or codes online.  There are some retailers who offer coupons so frequently that I know to never buy from them without some kind of discount (JCPenney is one such retailer).  If you are shopping online, I strongly recommend googling the name of the store and the word coupon or code before making any purchase.

5.  Shop your own house  –  Sometimes the perfect item is already in your home, but somewhere else.  For instance, recently I was wanting to replace several light fixtures in our house.  I figured out that by moving fixtures around and spray painting them I could have the look I wanted for no more than the cost of spray paint.  It saved me about $200!  Look around your house and try to visualize what you already have in new rooms or used in new ways.  And remember, paint is your best friend when it comes to using what you already have on hand.

6.  Make the holidays work for you  –  If you love having nice things for your home, ask for them for gifts.  Eric and I often forgo gifts for each other at Christmas in favor of something “big” for the house.  Both of us are homebodies who take pride in our home, so adding to it works for us.  We do the same thing for Mother’s Day.  Each year we add a little landscaping to our yard as a Mother’s Day present.

7.  Do It Yourself  –  You can save a ton of money on home improvement projects by doing them yourself.  You have to be realistic about your skills, though.  Some projects like painting, installing laminate floors, light fixture swaps and changing handles on cabinetry are really easy things that most people can tackle.  Plumbing, major electrical and building an addition are examples of projects that I would choose to leave to professionals.  But, for the smaller projects, the savings can be significant.  Just realize that DIY-ing will take more time than contracting out.

8.  Out with the Old  –  Selling old decor, light fixtures, furniture, etc. is a great way to add money to your budget.  I almost always make an attempt to sell old items online or at a consignment store before taking them to Goodwill.  It is good for the environment and my wallet!

9.  Mix it Up  –  Mixing expensive items with thrifty finds is a great way to make the thrift look richer.  Springing for an incredible piece of artwork makes a room feel more luxurious.  Adding a super plus throw to the end of your bed has the same effect.  Adding a few quality pieces over time can really elevate a space.

Those are my top tips.  What are some ways you stretch your decorating buck?

~ Anne

4 Comments leave one →
  1. steven permalink
    June 17, 2010 9:12 am

    All great points and great ideas. Having a plan for what you want in the home is good idea and shopping around for deals or noticing deals is the way to go

    Garage saling 🙂 nice choice of words

  2. Keryl permalink
    June 17, 2010 9:33 am

    Oh, I’m all about making the holidays work for me! My mom never seems to know what to get me, and my sister is the queen of terrible gift ideas. (I still haven’t figured out why she once bought an afghan with Garfield crouching in a jungle scene for me???)

    Therefore, if there’s something I want and can wait to get, I’ll let them know. Then, I get a present that I actually like, and they’re happy because there are no hurt feelings or they don’t have to return anything to the store. It’s a win-win situation.

  3. Linda permalink
    June 17, 2010 10:32 am

    Good points. Love the graphic

  4. June 21, 2010 12:58 pm

    This could be one of the most compelling discussions I ever studied today, I’m talking about this part of your article “… I have several other things in line above it.  While out garage saling, if I find the perfect lamp for $20,…” this is it, you just nailed it down buddy.

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