We all love a home that looks nice, as it makes us feel nice, doesn’t it?
It doesn’t matter if you live in a studio apartment or a prestigious country manor, having a pleasantly decorated and styled home with attractive furniture and appliances is great. However, it’s even better when they don’t cost an arm and a leg.
As much as we would all like to have the perfectly fashioned home, the chances are we won’t quite be able to afford those $19,000 Coffee Makers that we’d really like in our kitchens. (Seriously, $19k for an espresso machine. Some people have too much money.) What we can do though, is make smart decisions when it comes to decorating and/or filling our homes; save ourselves some money and end up with an abode that you just love coming home to.
Is there a better place to start than the beginning? No. Now, pointless questions aside, it is vital to get off on the strongest foot possible when it comes to redecorating your home – whether it be a full scale remodel or just introducing some new appliances or furniture to the habitat you call home. In order to do this, you need a plan. And part of your plan will be a budget. As simple as it sounds, it can be the catalyst for a successful venture into home decorating. If you have a budget in place before you even start looking at new floors, or curtains, or crockpots, then your life is going to be a lot easier. If you know what you want and need for the makeover, then you won’t overspend on ‘this’, leaving you short when it comes to buying ‘that’. A good plan is essential to any endeavors, and home improvements are no different.
Any excuse to buy a new crockpot
Assuming you have taken my first piece of advice and have started your home improvement mission smartly, what you need to do now is continue in this fashion. With your budget in place, you now need to make sure you know: What you’re doing; When you’re doing it and most importantly; How you’re doing it. The last one applies especially to men. That’s right, we are inherently unable to admit that sometimes we may, and I stress may, need help when it comes to building a new wardrobe (damn you Ikea!) If you have a shiny new addition to your household that needs assembling, make sure you know what you are doing with it. If you don’t, and you manage to mess it up, then it may end up costing you more than you had originally planned. This will in turn mess up your budget, and that will in turn just undermine everything that I am trying to do here! Instructions are there for a reason.
This doesn’t just apply to new, non-assembled furniture. It also applies if you’re having a go at restoring an older piece of furniture. This is something that I will always recommend; as not only can it save you money, but I personally believe that older furniture is the best furniture. It comes from the days when men were men and trees were trees and furniture was made with character and intent. A properly restored old piece could end up being the highlight of your possessions, so make sure you do it properly. There are many online guides out there that can help walk you through a restoration process, so you’ve got no excuse at ruining a lovely piece of furniture.
I’d take this over an Arkelstorp any day!
If you unfortunately don’t have access to a load of old furniture, then the chances are you will have to do some shopping around for some new items. And this obviously goes for other things such as appliances or textiles. The trick here is to find quality goods for low prices; however many people might say that this is easier said than done. I am no one of those people. If you know where to look, then it certainly is easy enough to find value for what you’re looking for. You might be drawn to the larger suppliers, the ones that society tells you to be drawn to. While I won’t argue that these guys don’t offer value for money, I will argue that you can nearly always find a better price using the magic of the internet. Now, I’m going to assume that you are familiar with the internet as, well, you’re reading this aren’t you? Googling ‘chrome kettle’ and click on the first result and buying it from them is one route to go, but I’d put good money on you finding a cheaper option just by looking through results for a while. The first result might in fact be the best value, but at least you know for sure.
Another method that I’ve found works particularly well in finding bargains is by regularly checking price forum type sites. These are sites where people do the work for you, and post deals that certain companies might be holding at the moment for a particular item or range of items. You might not find what you’re looking for, much like Bono, but you never know what you might come across in these bargain laden sites. My favorite such site is Dealhacker, which is great for electronics and appliance needs for your home improvements. Though, be careful, do not spend for the sake of spending, it’s easy done, so don’t get drawn in.
This can be your best friend
‘Snaffle’ you ask? This is a very important term for this article, do you know why? Because I wanted to keep all the sub headings as alliterations and ‘snaffle’ is a synonym for ‘borrow’ that begins with S. Not everyone will be taking out home improvement loans in order to get their homes up to personal scratch, but a lot will be, I did. It was part of my budget and again assuming that you took my first piece of advice, it could be part of yours. The problem with borrowing though is, much like shopping, we immediately go to the most ‘famous’ lenders or comparison sites. And again, I’m sure they do have a lot to offer, but if we just dig a little deeper (this would appear to be a recurring theme in this article) you can find something that is ideal for your needs and wants.
My recommendation is to stay away from the comparison sites. What you generally get from these sites are the cheapest options…at the moment. But, they might not be so cheap down the line. Hidden costs and rate inflation are common and can cause you serious problems in the future. Instead delve into sites such as Money Facts and read up on lenders and suppliers, find out which are the best options and make an informed decision. These guys don’t actually sell anything, they just provide the facts. The Money Facts! They even give out little badges of honor so to speak: here’s an example of their loans badge for example, so now you know what they look like, so no excuses! If you see a product with such an endorsement, then they are more than likely one of your best choices. Borrowing money is a delicate operation; make sure you’re doing it properly.
Whatever you do, don’t go anywhere near these guys!
Now, this last section may be the most important thing you read today. It might not be, but I’d like to hope it is. One of the biggest wastes of money around the home, is your home itself. There are so many ways that you can cut costs from every day things, that you can in turn invest back into your home and maybe one day afford that $19,000 coffee maker ($19,000! I still can’t believe it!) Starting with heat loss. A lot of energy is wasted, and in turn a lot of money wasted through heat loss every year. This can be fixed by proper insulation or even just simple draught excluders or a nice big pair of thick curtains! You’d be surprised how much you could save just by doing this.
Then come your appliances. If you are splashing out on new appliances in your kitchen for example, make sure you’re going to get most bang for your buck for them. Appliances that carry the Energy Star badge of honor (we love a badge of honor) are your best bet here. These appliances are the money energy efficient and will save you money in the long run, so you should definitely consider them. There are a wide range of appliances that carry the Energy Star out there; you’re bound to find exactly what you’re looking for, unlike Bono. Eco-Friendly Updates are not only good for the environment, but good for the wallet. You can’t argue with that!
The trees we were talking about earlier will thank you
My name is Chris and I like to write about money saving advice and ideas. People might not always agree with me, but at least I’m trying. I also write about sports! You can check out my blog at Spend It Like Beckham or follow me on Twitter @officialsilb