I’m going to walk you through each room of my house and tell you how much I paid for the things in them! Now you’re going to see just how cheap I really am! My goal in this is to show you that you don’t have to pay a lot of money to have a stylized home. You just have to think outside the box and be selective.
In this four-part money series:
- How we got out of $18,000 of credit card debt
- How we afforded our dream home
- 100+ ways to save money
- VIDEO: A tour of my super frugal decor
Let me clarify, the house itself was not cheap. The house cost us all our savings and profits from our previous homes. But we were able to come up with a significant downpayment by paying off our $18,000 credit card debt, and by selling our two previous homes for more than we paid for them.
The house, the land and location is our financial priority at this time in our life instead of vacations, eating out and clothing. We feel called by God to have a house for His purposes, hosting, helping and providing a safe space.
As we move away from our lean years and gain some wiggle room in our wallets, we still live frugally. It’s just who we are now! We trained ourselves in our 20s and now we hate overspending or letting food go to waste. We don’t even like a lot of things in our house or in our space. I show you how we save money on everything in this comprehensive post!
I have possibly a new concept for you — you can aim to have more so you can give more. Yes! Instead of piling on the extras for ourselves and having more stuff clogging up our space, we can give to someone who doesn’t have the basics of food, water and housing. Or we can turn a frustrated cashier’s day around by giving them a $25 gift certificate. Offer donations to a homeless shelter. Give to clean water foundations. Sponsor an orphan. These are the things that matter.
Ok, hopefully you can see the reasons behind our frugal mentality. Now I’d love to show you how my home decor is free or cheap, but still selected.
You don’t have to have lots of money for home decor, you just need to know your style, think creatively and be selective.
I’m very picky about the things that come into my home. I prefer not to have a lot of things, so the pieces that are here I need to love.
This space by our front door remains empty because we’re saving to put bookshelves and nice bulky chairs to make a reading nook. Hopefully we’ll get to it in the next six months, but personally I’d rather leave it open than fill with stuff I don’t love.
Before buying something
- Can you use something you already have?
- Can you make it?
- Where can you get it the cheapest?
- Always wait for the sale.
Cheap and free stuff
- It’s cheap, but do I love it?
- Where will it go when I get it home?
- Inexpensive items look more expensive in neutrals — white, wood, glass, gray, black.
Where to find cheap and free home decor
- by the side of the road (especially things without fabric)
- Craigslist (also check the free section)
- thrift stores
- estate sales
- garage sales
- your parents’ garage ;)
If something is free, that doesn’t mean I necessarily want it in my home.
Last week my husband asked me if I wanted a hideous blue metal picnic table someone was giving away. I would like a picnic table outside, buuuuut not that one. I’d rather hold off for a wooden one than have something free now that I don’t care for.
Some before and afters
This dresser was in my parents’ house when they bought it. When they asked if I wanted it, I said yes! It looked pretty dated, but some paint and new hardware gave it a new life. It serves as a tv stand in our living room now.
This was a large bookcase I found on Craigslist for $40. You can’t buy laminate shelves for that! So I painted it white with the same method I painted my cabinets. It is in Clara’s room now.
This was the second makeover of this chair. I found it at the dumpster with banged up legs and sun-bleached fabric. I saw why they threw it out, but it has a really cute shape. So I painted it black. But then the 2000s called and said they wanted their damask back so of course I painted it white. Here’s the tutorial.
Are you seeing a trend? Yes, I basically just paint everything white. BUT my husband came home with this wine cabinet he bought for $200 I did a bleached look. I used liming wax in this tutorial. So I can change things up! Sometimes anyway.
And finally on to the frugal house tour:
I’ve added more since this video!
I added a board and batten wall to the dining room too! This one has a shelf and I used no power tools.
I added these IKEA Pax wardrobes on either side of the wine cabinet. Eventually we will make them look built in.
A lot of these things were on clearance, consignment, on the side of the road or at non-online stores, but I’ll do my best to link what is available.
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In this four-part money series: