Stash Your Cash: How to Have Cool Crap for Less Money
This is for those of you who still want better crap, but love having a bank account balance too. It’s also a companion post to Philip’s piece called When Poor Folks Have Better Crap Than You. (Was that intro hilarious, or what?) After getting a sneak preview of his article, I thought it was too cool to wait. So here are five simple strategies you can put to use immediately in order to have better crap. Happy shopping!
Fix up and find free crap. Many a curbside, salvage yard, or dump item has found new life in our home, and I dare say the homes of many other cheapskate decorators. A quick example? Turn a lower height rectangular bureau into a room divider and sofa table. Here’s how: add some bun feet, spray paint it, and add some funky new handles. Then, top it with a runner, some potted plants and framed photos, and perhaps a candle or two. With the drawers facing out, you also have hidden and easily accessed board games for family activity night.
- Modify or spruce up your old crap. Got an old, beat up set of tall generic bookshelves? Add some bun feet (one of my favorites along with industrial shelving) and crown molding at the top and bottom. Then, add some half round trim the shelf fronts and paint the whole thing black. As I covered in my blue jeans article, this strategy works for clothing too. Rip off any ugly detailing and slap on some new buttons. You might be surprised at the result. Tempted to trade in your old car? Think about a new paint job, tweaking the hub caps and cleaning up your white walls.
- Shop for second hand crap. Auctions, moving sales, estate sales, and classified sales ads from people who buy all the newest stuff but can’t afford it. I covered this a while back in the power shopping article. You can get some seriously high end crap with this strategy. A fairly well-to-do friend of mine is currently downsizing in order to sell her place, buy something smaller, and have a little more free time to travel and smell the roses. Some of the stuff she’s getting rid of at fifty percent off or more from her original purchase price? An ATV without a scratch, a new model Hummer with low mileage, multiple flat screen TV’s, some seriously slamming jewelry . . . the list goes on. Now that this girl has decided to downsize and simplify, she’s not screwing around. The executive ocean view / lake front home on the coast is going too. She’d rather have a small cottage or cabin. Shopping second hand, as I’ve covered previously, is not just about second hand pots and pans.
- Figure out new uses for your crap. I’ve spent a fair amount of time researching this, as we want to save as many things as possible when we raze the cottage we’re currently living in. As this was and is a family property, this is largely for sentimental purposes. But it’s certainly for financial reasons as well. The more creative we get with the building process, the more square footage we can have. Just replaced your front door? Repaint the old one, add some legs and a glass top, and you’ve got a one-of-a-kind loft style dining room table. Got some tall old shutters? Hinge them together for a combination room divider and holiday greeting card display rack. All sorts of ideas are out there for re-using old windows, ladders, bureaus and more.
- Try on expensive crap in stores to get the style and size right. Then go shop for it on Ebay for a chance to buy a new version from a seller who’s letting it go cheap. A friend of mine turned me on to this. It’s how she gets her designer jeans and other name brand crap for 70 percent off or more.
These are my top five strategies for saving money on cool crap. Got any you’d like to share?