Cheap home decor, everyone wants nice things for less money, but how? Homebody Hall is all about making your house a home, on a budget. And today, I wanted to talk about why that is, why I believe in working within your budget and living within your means. I also wanted to introduce some basic tools I’ve discovered that you can use to do find cheap home decor when you’re looking to make your space your own.
Have you ever met someone who works at the local fast food joint or the like but has a really nice car or the latest and greatest gadgets? I have, and I often find myself thinking, “Man, am I doing something wrong? I’m over here working myself to the bone and having trouble making ends meet and this person is skating on by and has all these fancy things.”
Now, of course, it could be that this person saved up money or that they come from a wealthy family. But increasingly, it seems that these are not the case. It used to be that a status symbol was something, such as an expensive car, that people had that told the world they had wealth, because they were able to buy it. However, nowadays, with the ever increasing prevalence of financing, it often seems that these status symbols are merely a symbol of how much debt the “owner” is willing to go into.
So what are the benefits of staying out of debt and living within your means?
I mean, we all know that debt is bad. But what are the actual consequences of accruing debt?
Well, interest is a huge one. Check out this example from The Balance: You want a $2,000 living room set RIGHT NOW. So you put it on your credit card and only make the minimum payment. By the time you’re done paying for it, you’ve actually paid $3,400 for that living room set. That’s $1,400 flushed down the toilet, essentially. I mean, with that $1,400 you almost could have bought an additional living room set.
Avoid Penalties to your Credit Score
Debt affects your credit. We all know that credit comes into play when you’re looking to get a loan, buy a house, buy a car. And certainly your debt can affect your eligibility to do things like purchase a home. But did you know that it can also affect how much you pay for things like car insurance? So you’re now paying more for services that aren’t even directly connected to your debt.
More Money for Everyday Expenses
Putting more money towards payments for your debt means you have less money for everyday expenses. In extreme cases, this can lead to eviction, foreclosure, and bankruptcy.
Dodge Debt Addiction
You can fall into debt addiction. According to Money Crashers, “Debt addiction is more than compulsive shopping. Someone who is addicted to debt uses debt as a crutch for solving their financial and personal problems without any plan for living differently or getting out of debt.”
Maintain Healthy Relationships
Debt can put a strain on your relationships. As reported by U.S. News, debt can be a cause for people to put off living together, buying a home, having children and can be a turnoff to prospective partners. And, as the New York Times points out, when you’re moving towards getting serious in a relationship, there can be a question of who is responsible for it within the relationship.
Bypass Debt-induced Stress
Having debt is stressful! The Simple Dollar cites that debt can cause depression, anxiety, resentment, denial, stress, anger, frustration, regret, shame, embarrassment, and fear. So not only are you seeing financial impacts, it’s impacting your emotions as well.
So if these are all the consequences of accumulating debt, why do we do it?
You know, while getting out of debt is hard, it’s easy to swipe that card. You don’t really even have to think about it. There’s instant gratification. No waiting to save up the money, just swipe and, boom, it’s yours. You can have things you otherwise wouldn’t be able to. And it’s fun to have those nice things and do those exciting things in that moment. Not so fun when you’re left with the bill.
As I’ve said before, here at Homebody Hall, my whole thing is helping you make your house a home, on a budget. I find great joy in creating, making my space my own, and making my home work for my family. BUT I’m totally not willing to go into debt for it and I don’t think you should either, not when it’s totally possible to do it without going into debt. I also, personally, think it is way more fun to do this stuff creatively, rather than just buying things straight off the showroom floor.
What are some practical ways that you can find cheap home decor?
How can you have the nice things you want while still living within your means?
According to Merriam-Webster, upcycling is “to recycle (something) in such a way that the resulting product is of a higher value than the original item; to create an object of greater value from (a discarded object of lesser value).”
I LOVE upcycling. I am constantly looking for ways to reuse things in new and interesting ways. For me, it’s not just that I can get cheap home decor for less money than buying it from a store. It’s also that you can customize it to your liking exactly, to fit your home exactly, and come up with something truly one of a kind and unique.
From thrift stores to Craigslist to yard sales, there’s always a good deal to be had out there. Seriously, you know the old adage “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” it’s totally true. The things people are practically willing to give away boggle my mind sometimes, but, hey, I benefit and they do too. Either they don’t want it in their house anymore or they’re looking to make a quick buck. Whatever the case, if you’re patient and keep an eye out, you can find some really good deals on cheap home decor, and some crazy unique pieces.
Evaluate Your Finds
Now. I know some of you are out there thinking, “Eew, I’m not having someone’s used stuff in my house.” But I’ve found that you shouldn’t make blanket statements like that. You’ve got to take it on a case-by-case basis. I’ve found things that are literally right out of the box brand-new, they just didn’t like the color. Things that have been used once or twice and somebody had to move and couldn’t take it with. Some things, it just takes a quick clean, and others are a total overhaul.
Whatever the case, it’s all about the item’s potential and what you’re willing to invest, time or money. Neither time nor money or free, and you always have to take into account what kind of supplies you might need, but it’s about what you have and are willing to put in to make it worthwhile for your situation.
One of My Finds!
Y’all, I’ll give you an example. I totally just scored at our local HabiStore. I just went down there to look around during their Memorial Day sale.
Side Note: Yes, thrift stores have sales!!! They also mark items down in price when it’s been there over a certain amount of time. It’s like doubling down on the money saving. I LOVE it! Keep it in mind, seriously.
Anyway, I found a 100th edition Kirby that looked like it had hardly been used it all, complete with all of the accessories. It even included the shampoo set with carpet shampoo and conditioner that had never been opened. Growing up in the era of door-to-door salesmen, I remember my mom letting this guy in for a vacuum demo and us writing him a huge check to leave one with us. These are NICE vacuums, and they are not cheap. My parents’ last Kirby cost them over $1,000 new, and this was at least 5 years ago. I scored this like-new Kirby for $105. WIN!
Now, we kind of needed a new vacuum, but it wasn’t anything that we were seriously looking at. But when I saw this, I knew the time was right. We now have a way nicer vacuum than we ever would have been able to afford. However, we didn’t have to put it on a credit card.
Also, yes, my husband and I are officially grown-ups because we are this excited about a vacuum cleaner. If it hasn’t yet, it’ll happen to you to! But I also just love to get a really good deal. It’s sooo satisfying.
Make it or do it yourself! Most of the time, small things where you can incorporate everyday items and upcycle will totally be worth a good DIY, hence my love of DIY. Plus, DIY projects are a great way create cheap home decor to add character to your home without breaking the budget.
With bigger projects, there are a couple of things you’ll want to consider:
- Time is not free. If it’s going to take you a ton of time doing something you hate, it might not be worth it. It’s possible that you could be able to do something to earn the money to buy it in less time than it would take you to make or do it yourself. If that’s the case, totally buy it or hire someone. But if you like what you’re doing and don’t mind spending the time making it or doing it, go for it.
- I actually sometimes think of it in terms of how much I would spend on entertaining myself if I wasn’t working on that. So for instance, if I’m knitting something that takes 10 hours, I think to myself, “Well, that’s the equivalent of 5 movies and I end up with something to show for it. Win!” It’s all about perspective.
- Materials and supplies are not free. The best thing to do is to price what you want at a store, used, and then the materials it would take to make/build it. Compare these before you do anything. Then, factor in your time, as I mentioned above. Only you can decide if it makes sense for you.
- One thing that you don’t have to pay for when you DIY something is someone else’s labor, if it’s that kind of project. The tradeoff with that is that you also aren’t getting that person’s expertise. There are some things that I totally believe in hiring a professional for. Because I don’t want to burn down the house or injure someone, e.g. home electrical work. Please keep this in mind and always value safety!
- There are also some things that take a skill that I don’t have or that would take a long time to learn in order to get the project to the standard that I want it. In that case, I hire out as well.
- If you need something custom, you may have to make it or pay a premium price for it to be made to your specifications. So in this case, again, it’s going to come down to a cost-comparison analysis, what materials do you need, how much time is going to take, etc.
Coupons and Sales
When you’re trying to get a good deal, patience is key. Waiting for a sale or a good coupon can save you a TON of money. It’s not fun waiting, but when you’re being conscious of what you’re spending, it’s worth it. Always look online for promo codes and coupons and, if you can, hold out for seasonal/holiday sales. Also, buying things at the end of the season, when stores are looking to free up room for the next season’s merchandise, can save you some money as well. Checking out the clearance racks in the stores you frequent also has the potential to turn up some good deals.
Sometimes when you just need to make a big purchase or hire someone to do a job, the only thing you can do is set aside money for it and save up. It can be tough to have the money in your hand and actively choose to save it. But it will be worth it in the end. You’ll have what you wanted; you won’t have wasted money on interest from financing it; and you won’t have to worry about how you’re going to make the payments for it. Self-control, especially in finances, is a great thing to cultivate and will serve you well.
Go Forth and Save!
All in all, it is totally possible to have nice things while still living within your means and staying away from debt. For cheap home decor, you can upcycle, shop second-hand, use coupons, shop sales and clearance, make things yourself. And if there’s something more expensive you’ve got your eye on, you can always save up for things you want. The options are there. It often takes more time and patience and sometimes skill and labor. But if you’re willing to take the time and put in the effort, you can end up with beautiful, unique spaces that work for you without breaking the bank.
If you’re having a tough time with debt, here are some resources that may be able to help:
- Dave Ramsey is well known for his financial guidance and offers tons of resources on his website, radio show, and podcast.
- Rosemarie Groner of the Busy Budgeter has awesome practical advice for getting your finances in order and saving money on all types of things. She even offers a free 90-day budget bootcamp!
- Jayleen over at How Do The Jones Do It has an awesome debt tracker called the Debt Boss debt tracker.