Decorating on a budget… (joke’s on me)

After a few months living together, things around the house began to settle in. Those overwhelming moments of feeling like I have an endless mound of boxes filled with crap, began to subside. By now I have shoved all my belongings in creative little nooks and crannies and didn’t dare to open some drawers in fear that they might never close again. Clearly storage is a problem, but that’s for a later date to address.
For now, it was time to focus on something much more enjoyable.

Decorating!

Now before I got too excited, I needed to first see what kind of cash flow I was working with.

I checked my bank account and put on my accounting hat. Started with subtracting for cost of food, house bills, car expenses, phone bill, credit card bill, that goddam student loan that I swear was going up rather than down…. and VOILA! I was left with a grand total of ……. $300

That was an underwhelming grand total.

$300 to decorate the family room as well as the bedroom was my main concern. So clearly working with that budget the house was not going to be featured in a home decorating magazine anytime soon.

Determined that it could still be done, I got to work. It was time to decorate on a serious budget.

First stop – Pinterest.
All I ever hear is girls rave about Pinterest saying “Isn’t this great?? I GOT THIS IDEA OFF PINTEREST!”

I thought to myself hey I like crafts and this could be a fun afternoon project. So, I began to do some of my best pinning. The problem with Pinterest however is you begin to decorate a home that you don’t own. Next thing you know, you are trying to figure out if you can somehow install a barn door that you don’t have the wall space for and how to update your fireplace mantle when you don’t even have a fireplace.  I began to fall down the rabbit hole of pinning pictures of wood beams and looking at farmhouse kitchens, when I currently live in a house that has 8-foot ceiling height and a redone modern kitchen.

The next findings on my pinning-spree is the ultimate storage set up in the laundry room. This baby has pullout drawers that hold laundry baskets and each basket is meant for sorting different colours of clothes to separate for washing. What a great idea! Before I know it, I’m downstairs measuring to see how this can fit when I determine I just need to knock down the wall to my garage and BINGO – I will have achieved the ultimate laundry room organization!

A few hours wasted later, is when it dawns on me that I don’t have the budget nor the home to do any of this in.
I began to give myself a pep talk to focus on the task at hand: Making this home pretty.

Round 2 on Pinterest: About 80% of Pinterest home decorating consists of mason jars. In case you were thinking of decorating your home, I’ll save you half the work. Purchase 2 cases of mason jars, and just go nuts. Put that shit everywhere. Either paint it, or put lights in it, or stones with flowers – if it fits in the jar then you are a home decorating goddess in Pinterest standards.

In the other 20% of home decorating ideas, a lot of them were quite helpful! I began to get excited thinking of the possibilities. After finding a few project ideas that I thought I could handle, I looked at the tools required to do the job.

And then I ran into a bigger problem. My tool box consisted of a drill, a screwdriver and hammer. I found this fun wall art, and after checking out the tools required to do it, I realized Pinterest assumed I was a carpenter. Why did everything involve power tools? The video showed a guy working on the first part and had a work bench with clamps ready and was describing what angle the first cut needed to be. Wide-eyed I decided this was no project I could handle. I am more of a glue stick and tape kind of girl.

I was looking at all these motivational project ideas called “Decorating on a Budget” when I quickly realized we had 2 different ideas of a budget. After doing some savvy shopping and trying to get the most of my buck I determined that there was no way I was going to be able to get an ottoman for the living room with this budget. Back to looking on Kijiji I stumbled upon the free area. This area of Kijiji is an absolute war zone. You need to act fast and basically need to already be sitting in your car with the ignition on while you search so you can beat anyone else to it. I would see an ad up and before I could even run it by my boyfriend, the ad was taken down.

Onto the next idea.

I live across a townhouse complex that has junk day pickup once a week. Whenever the day rolls around people begin to act like little scavengers and come from far and wide across the lands to come snoop through what is being tossed. Occasionally there are some nice things; storage units, kitchen chairs, side tables… and so on. I began to keep my eyes out. Maybe I could find some supplies to work with. The night before junk day rolls around and I begin to peer out the window hourly to get an update as to what people are throwing out. There isn’t much out there; a lot of old scrap pieces of wood with nails in it, and an old junky looking bookshelf. It’s the end of the night and I am now getting desperate. I’m channeling my thoughts to encourage someone to throw out a great coffee table or ottoman.

Right before I go to bed, I decide to give one last ditch effort and check outside. And you see, there is a point when desperation hits. You begin to look at things in a new light.

I peer out my front window and there illuminated under the street light is a patio table sitting there absolutely radiant.
And I think to myself: hey that could work as a coffee table? It’s a bit large but who cares. I begin to think of how it could be a fun conversation piece when someone comes over. I could explain to them that “No, that hole in the middle is not for an umbrella silly, it is for your power cables to run through.”

I decide that I am officially turning into a crazy person and cannot bring patio furniture into my living room.

So, here I am a few months later after I’m done decorating. To sum up, I blew the budget.

To compensate this extra charge, the food budget was the only cost that could have been adjusted as I don’t think cutting back on electricity was possible. There is only so many times we can eat by candlelight until it gets weird.

So, for a while there our dinners consisted of pasta. Of course, it was kept spontaneous as we rotated between sauces and different shapes of noodles.

My advice to you: if you are wanting to diet, there is no better time to do so than when you decide to decorate. Use that grocery money to buy furniture and décor items, and then if you try to cheat your diet by eating something you shouldn’t, you can’t even if you want to, because you will have no money!

As usual, you are welcome for the excellent advice.

-Nikki

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