Jan 22

I am Obsessed with Bargain Hunting.

My family rarely pays full price for anything. If we can can wait for it to go on sale, we will. If we can buy it used, we will. If we can make it instead of buy it, we will.

I come from a line of resourceful/handy people. My grandmother was a housewife, and while raising 4 kids, she also made and sold traditional Chinese treats in her tiny kitchen and was able to earn as much as my grandfather did in a year just by baking around the clock for 2 weeks around Chinese New Year. She also used to make my mom’s school uniforms rather than buy the ones sold through the school and she’d use better material, add warmer lining, and she’d tweak the designs to for better fit and style.

My mom followed in her mom’s footsteps. She cuts her own hair, tailors her own clothes, and LOVES to bargain hunt. When I was a kid, my mom would go to TJ Maxx or Marshalls at least once/week and I would tag along. She was the master bargain shopper and I was her apprentice. Shopping didn’t always mean buying. A lot of times it was just the ritual of looking, comparing, examining the quality and value of goods from different sources. I never saw her spend over $24.99, yet she always managed to put together super chic outfits. My mom is the kind of lady that will buy a $9.99 from the sportswear clearance rack, then she’ll cut a hold in the shoulder, take 3″ off the bottom, hand sew sequins and stones on the neckline and BOOM! New shirt to wear to a party. As I mentioned in a previous post about my mom’s home office makeover, my mom is the coolest person I know. Exhibit A:

-1pin it!

Sometimes you just need to buy a solid, quality piece that will last forever and I’m willing to splurge on wardrobe staples. Anyone who lives in New York probably pounds pavement for at least 2 miles/day and your footwear has to be tough to survive this city. My favorite shoes, coats, purses, and carry-all totes get used and abused to death and they prove their value over time.  But when it comes to a nightstand, I really don’t feel like spending more than $75 because ultimately it’s just a horizontal surface on which to place a lamp and my chapstick.

It’s not much of a surprise that I wound up with a profession that requires a lot of shopping. I’m a speed shopper at work but when it comes to buying stuff for my own home, I’m annoyingly indecisive. If I’m in the market for a lamp, I will literally scour the internet, flipping through thousands of lamps until I have a folder of my 50 favorites. From there, I narrow it down to my 10 favorites. Then I’ll go to a handful of  thrift stores, Home Goods, and big store sale sections to see if there’s anything I like better. Then I’ll go back to my “faves” folder and start searching Ebay to see if any of my faves are online for cheaper. Not until I’ve spent about 10+ hours researching to ensure that I have absolutely found the lamp that’s the greatest value will I pull the trigger and buy. I’m fully aware that this method of shopping is ultimately uneconomical because time is money, but I simply cannot help myself.

numberspin it!Anyway, I lived in the tiny room for 5 years, and when my guy moved in with me, we stayed in the tiny room for a couple weeks with intentions of making the big room into a giant home office, but it turns out we don’t really need a giant home office, so we decided to try out the big room to see if we liked it. And we did! There was something nice about making a fresh start with a new space. Problem is, I don’t really have any bedroom furniture, because everything in the tiny room is built-in and fastened with 10,000 screws so the only way it’s coming out is if I demolish it.

The upside? I get to buy new stuff! But as y’all know, furnishing a room or house all at once is wicked expensive. I’m also a decorator, so I’m extra picky and I like to live in rooms that look finished, so I need to save room in the budget for accessories. I whipped together a mood board of affordable things that I love.  Here’s what I have my eye on:

1. Dusk & a Dirt Road by Christina Shaffell, Society6, $34.00

2. America Cutting Board, Target, $12.50

3. Compass by Zach Terrel, Society6, $21.00

4. Nyfors work lamp, IKEA, $49.99

5. Water by Jaime Hogge, Mammoth and Company., $20.00

6. Valhalla walnut 5-drawer dresser, Overstock, $184.99

7. Rugby stripe bins, Container Store, $14.99

8. Serving tray with faux leather handles, Target, $24.99

9. Faux sheepskin area rug, Home Decorators Collection, $149.00

10. Fjellse bed, IKEA, 49.99 upholstered on the cheap a la Manhattan Nest

11. Tear drop decorative pillow, Target, $8.49 (discontinued)

12. Draper stripe ash duvet, Dwell, t’was a gift

13. Dwight console, CB2, kindly donated by my friend Natasha (discontinued)

14. Set of 2 chestnut dining chairs, Target, $82.99

15. Hometrends 5-drawer chest, black, Walmart, $179.00

16. Marble top tables, Craigslist, $30 (score!) similar to Smart glass top side table, CB, $149.00

17. Ljusas Ysby lamp, IKEA, scored it for free on a job

18. Wooden flower vase, Target,$24.99

19. Floating by Heather Goodwind, Society6, $50.00

The first things I bought were the marble top tables (#16) and they set the tone for the new room. I pursue craigslist every freakin’ day, and I rarely find anything that I need or want. You know the drill. If you want to find anything good and cheap, you have to email the owner within 15 minutes or someone else will beat you to it. Finally, one day I saw these perfect marble side tables for $15 each, so I emailed the guy in a hurry and made them mine. They’re definitely worth at least $150 each. Winning! I feel like there’s a little marquee in my brain that says “You saved 90%!” in flashing red lights.

The room is coming along and I’ve already bought a lot of the stuff on the list. I will post progress pics soon.

Posted by Jen at 9:22 pm
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5 Comments:

  1. Rorr says:

    These are always such inspiration. Can’t wait to see the progress pics!

  2. ingrid says:

    love your blog! please keep going. More!

  3. Jeanelle Postell says:

    It is commonly agreed that the dining table is the staple of any family home; a chance for hectic lifestyles to take a pause and children and parents to sit down, share a meal and gather their thoughts. In today’s modern day, technology obsessed, fast paced lifestyle; meal times are now quite easily the only time for family members to communicate with one another yet having said that it is still common for many to neglect their choice in dining furniture.’..

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