In these times of austerity and financial insecurity, everyone’s tightening their belts and spending as little money as possible, particularly on their homes. There’s nothing bad about being a little more parsimonious with your pennies if you’re considering some refurbishment. In fact, it should be seen as a positive advantage – consider it a challenge, if you will.
If your house is in need of sprucing up with a lick of paint or new furniture, there are plenty of places you can improve and things you can do that embrace the notion of buying on a budget. Don’t think of the limitations, think of the opportunities.
So with that in mind, take solace in the fact you’re not a spendthrift or a miser – you’re simply adapting to the current economic times. Here are six great, budget-conscious ways to decorate your home…
Get It For Free
Getting something for free is easier than you might think – like anything in life, you just have to know where to look. Websites such as Snaffle Up, Freecycle and Gumtree have ads where people are willing to get rid of household items gratis.
Sometimes they even deliver them directly to your door so you don’t have to concern yourself with travel expenses. You can sign up to their newsletters and get regular emails updating you on any bargains as they come in – but be quick, anything that’s in good condition and going for free is likely to get snapped up quickly!
Flea markets are a perfect place to pick up cut-price antiques!
2nd Hand Shops
Call it the circle of life, but certain things have a funny way of going in and out of fashion. This is no more apparent than in the sudden boom in charity-shop shopping. What was – even only a few years ago – something that was sneered upon is now suddenly trendy.
There’s no time for such arrogance in the Age of Austerity! Everyone’s getting in stuck in. Plus it’s great fun, too, Rummaging through the displays and shelves, I guarantee you’ll come up with a few unexpected surprises.
Hidden gems (such as the divider screen in this image) can be found at yard sales.
Car Boot Sales
Like charity shops, car boot sales are truly benefitting from the recession. Also like charity shops, they’re more selective about what you can pick up (ie: they don’t sell complete rubbish).
Car boots (and yard sales in the States) attract everyone from young to old, students to first-time buyers. You’ll find everything from antique porcelain to ceiling lights. You could buy a vase for a pound and discover it’s worth a million. So, what you waiting for?
In-store sales are great, but get there early before the best stuff sells!
If you’re a regular visitor to shopping sites, chances are you’d have already signed up to their regular emails and newsletters keeping you in the loop with their latest deals and bargains. A boon for the modern shopper is also the price comparison site, so you know for sure that you’re buying at the cheapest price.
Go to indie shops to haggle, chain stores often don’t have permission to cut prices.
I know lots of people, myself included, who hate haggling and bartering to get the price down. But hey, we’re in a recession (and a double-dip one at that) so the opportunity has never been better to try and knock those retailers down a couple of pounds.
At the moment a lot of shops are desperate for your custom, so they have to do all they can to make sure you buy their products. There might be a price label on the product but it’s not illegal to ask them to shave off a quid or two. And if they won’t do that, try to negotiate free delivery on those larger items.
Buy luxury antiques on auction – mostly expensive but there are bargains to be had!
Homes Under The Hammer, Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is and Flog It more than substantiate the notion that auctions are the bargain hunters’ paradise du jour. They’re doing very well in the recession, with people bagging bargains from bankrupt stock left over from insolvent companies.
So if you can drag yourself away from the trilby-hatted, leg-kicking raconteur that is Tom Wonnacott, track down your local auction house and bag yourself a bargain. Just don’t forget your bow tie.
This is just a soupçon of budget-busting ideas to prove you can still furnish your home without having to take out a second mortgage. Have you got any more?
Estelle Page is an interior designer who hasn’t let the recession put her off looking for good deal! She recently picked up some vintage table lamps at a flea market that looked like expensive designer pieces after a little buff and scrub!