Monday, August 24, 2015

Apartment decorating on a budget...Part 1

One thing that I had to realize is that this is our first apartment, and isn't going to be perfect or look like one of the pins on my "dream home" Pinterest board. However, I think a little work, some DIY and a whole lot of patience can help make a comfortable apartment feasible, even on a budget.

Tips

1. Buy from friends/family/secondhand 

I am really bad about buying secondhand things. There's just something about using someone else's things that I do not like. With that being said, it is so much less expensive to do so. My compromise is purchasing or getting second hand things from people I know. We scored our couch, a nice chair, and an ottoman in great condition all for under $200 total when a friend was moving out of her apartment and sold them to us. (Thanks Mattie!) We also were able to get furniture that was passed down from my grandma. When she moved into my parents house from her own she didnt need her furniture anymore and we were able to get several things for free. 
I understand this was good timing for us, but we also had been thinking ahead. My grandma moved in with us in 2012 but we held on to her furniture because we knew eventually I would be moving out for college. I know it's not feasible storage-wise for everyone to hold onto things for this amount of time, but if it's possible planning ahead like we did really helped us save money on the items we got from her. 
My parents also recently purged a lot ofunnecessary (to them) things, and we were able to get some things we needed from them. They happened to buy a vitamix blender recently, and while I'd absolutely love to have one myself, I can't afford that on a college student's budget, so opted to take their previous Ninja blender with us instead. Again, this is also good timing for us, but it's something to take advantage of if it's available. 

2. Yard sales 

Like I said above, I'm don't love secondhand things, but went yard-saleing with a friend anyways and was pleasantly surprised. I was able to score a couple frames for $1 each, and after a quick spray paint they are perfect for bedroom. I was also able to find small bookcase that is going to be perfect for our hallway for only $10! After some more spray paint and a couple hours of my time, I was able to get something the perfect color for our apartment because I picked it myself. (More on that later)
2.shop at discount stores like Ross, marshalls, and tj maxx
Abel is not the most patient shopper, and if that's you, this tip may not be for you. I happen to be much more patient because I love a good bargain so I don't mind the hunt that's sometimes required for these stores. We've (I've) scored several finds at these stores. Over the past couple of months I stop by every once in a while and have gotten a complete sheet set ($20) two decorative throw pillows ($10 each) and four nice kitchen pots and pans ($12-34 each). Yes these stores do take patience, but it's worth it for these bargains. 

3. Splurge on what is important to you, and save on what doesn't

This is a big one for me, as there's some things I just refuse to buy cheaply. For example, I'm not one that needs luxurious towels or expensive pillows, so I bought basic ones at target and Costco. (My exception to this was a $24 Lilly for Target throw pillow but I needed that one :) Of course I would love all of my throw pillows to be beautiful $30 throw pillows, but it's just not important enough for me to spend that much right now and I am fine with throw pillows from Ross (which can still be really pretty too!)
On the other hand, cooking is something I thoroughly enjoy, so I splurged more in the kitchen. I can't stand trying to cut something with a dull knife, so one of our  more expensive purchases, within reason, were our knives. We still didn't spend over $100 on one knife, but I did my research and found a couple that worked for us in our budget. Our other big kitchen purchase was actually a (very) lucky find at Marshall's. I happened to be there with a friend who was shopping for her own apartment but I wasn't really looking for anything myself. However I came across a $225 All Clad stainless steel pan for $99!! This was something I couldn't pass up, and like my mom says "it's an investment." It just comes down to what is most important to you (and whomever you're living with) and what you want to splurge on. 

4. Plan and organize

We started planning and buying things months ahead of time (not always possible I know). We agreed to buy ahead of time in order the ease the financial burden of moving into a new place and starting school when the time actually came to move. Since we began preparing for this move, we kept track of what we had. Therefore we knew exactly what we needed as we went. This allowed us to prevent any unnecessary purchases. It also helped us with my next point...

5. Know what you need and stalk the sales accordingly 

Abel and I knew in advance that we definitely needed some kind of tv stand or organizer. We started looking a couple months in advance and when we found one we liked we waited because it was target and we figured it would go on sale eventually. And eventually it did go on sale, so we bought it at that time. By planning ahead and knowing that we were going to need this in the future, instead of waiting and having to buy it when we needed one right away, we were able to save ourselves $50.
This also helped with buying our vacuum. We were able to get one on sale at Costco and saved money by waiting for a sale.

I think Pounce and Dany approve.

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