Whether you’re the person to greet every day with a smile on your face or not, chances are a lot of us hit those speed bumps in life and money gets tight. After an unexected medical bill or a hit to the rainy day funds, home improvement projects usually end up dead last on the list. I’m with ya, sister.
In June, my husband and I made the decision for me to quit my teaching job to become a stay-at-home-mom and drastically cut our spending. We’re talking strictly bare essentials- gas, groceries, bills. But I would have done anything to be with our toddler full-time.
So I sorrowfully waved goodbye to any hopes and dreams I had for our home and sobbed over my inspiration boards on Pinterest. (Okay, I’m exaggerating.) But after strapping down on our spending, I’m so amazed how many strides I’ve been able to make in our house and I spend next to nothing to do it! All it took was a little perspective.
The positive side of having no money to decorate is…
1. It gives you the opportunity to organize.
Whenever we hit a lull in home improvement funds (which is basically all the time), I get the itch to organize what we do have. (Don’t get me wrong. Our house is still pretty disorganized…the battle never ends.) Just because you don’t have the money to buy things for your home doesn’t mean you can’t make improvements. Cleaning out a closet can cost absolutely nothing. Creating a filing system for your office is totally free. And you improve the functionality in your home as well as give yourself peace of mind. It’s like yoga for your brain! Cleansing breath.
2. It encourages you to sell things you no longer use.
It’s amazing how much money people usually have lying around their house, usually in the form of furniture or random items just taking up space in their homes. Don’t overlook that old ratty chair in the corner or that musical instrument sitting in your closet that you haven’t played since high school. To give us a cushion for some vacation money over the summer this year, I sold my old (but still very nice) saxophone for $1,000! (Marching band geeks rock, y’all! Don’t hate.) Use Craigslist, eBay, and buy/sell/trade groups to list items on the higher side of its value and be willing to negotiate a bit.
(P.S. Robert has no idea he is the poster child for this post.)
7. It makes you more aware of “curb alerts”.
Two years ago, I wouldn’t have given “trash” on the side of the road a second look. Now, I’m always amazed by the treasures people throw out. Having a miniscule home decor budget teaches you to keep your eyes peeled. Craigslist is always full of free merchandise. A lot of times, people list bigger items for free just so someone will come haul it away for them. And now thanks to photo texting, you don’t usually have to drive across town to check out the castoff. Landscaping is the same way. If you’re willing to dig up those rose bushes or carry off those brick pavers, they’re yours. And have you seen the gajillion pallet projects out there? Wood pallets are listed as free for pickup all the time. Just be sure you’re getting the heat treated kind. If you can’t find pallets on the local classifieds, post your search on Facebook. You’d be amazed how many people you know probably have piles of them lying around at their workplace. An even bigger plus- it’s eco-friendly!
The journey of creating style in your home can be so challenging when it comes to finding the funds, but figuring out how to overcome the challenge can be part of the fun, can’t it?
I’d love to hear what other tips you have or projects you have done for design on a $0 budget!