ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Save Big, Spend Money Like the Wealthy

Updated on April 22, 2011

Buy Value: Save the Planet and Your Wallet

So much of what we buy is disposable and winds up in landfills, draining our savings and contributing to piles of garbage that ruin the planet. Buying things that don't last or have value that lasts is one way that we impoverish ourselves. If you are just starting to furnish a home space, I recommend 2 opposite approaches. One will save you lots of money. The other will cost more, but make you money over time.

Furnish your living space with free items that can be re-purposed and refurbished spending little money. Don't buy a new living room or dining room suite from a chain furniture store. Instead, join your local FreeCycle group, go to estate sales, hunt in warehouses and yard sales.

Why should you not buy at furniture stores? New furniture has one of the highest markups of any item, as does fine jewelry. That is, the final cost is usually 5 times that of the components. Labor, design, transportation and resale profit cost more than the fabric, wood and other materials to make furniture. The surprise is that, just like a new car, the value of mass manufactured furniture goes down as soon as it's used and continues to decline.

The Nate Burkus show recently had an episode on how to make dramatic shelves from old end and coffee tables. By sawing them in half, to get a width of about 1 foot, and stacking these, you get the benefit of the design of legs and trim and a unique shelving.

Most towns have collection sites for things people are no longer allowed to throw in the trash. I got double pain sliding glass doors for $25 as such a place. I used them to replace rotting siding on a garage. I use my broken dishwasher as an extension of my kitchen counter and to hide drying dishes. I hate dishes on the counter top.

You may say that you don't want other people's smelly sofas, neither do I. Many items offered for free are in good condition. If the springs are gone on a sofa, there are supports that you can buy to remedy this. Colorful throws, bedspreads, curtains and tapestries can hide ugly sofas and chairs.

Lamps are expensive purchased new, yet so easy to make.  Find an interesting support, attach it to a base, buy the socket, wire and plug, assemble.  Old lamp shades can be recovered with fabric or paper and glue.  Rusted metal objects can make artistic supports to use as lamp bases.  Watch out for "Tiffany" lamps.  Many are not real antiques.  Artisans, often found at summer art in the street markets, are making stained glass lamps that may retain value.

Dining room sized tables can be made from a large piece of glass or wood and any supports that you like. Legs of such supports can be cut to the height that you prefer. A glass shop can cut heavy glass to size and smooth the edges to make a table top. Better, use an old solid wood door and cover with a beautiful table cloth. If you have to move, you can recycle such a table and take only the cloth. If you want to keep the table, it comes apart easily.

Buy like the rich. Buy antiques; buy one-of a kind objects; buy from craftspeople and artists. Buy objects that will increase in value. The next style that will be officially antique is Art Deco. Antiques of the future can be great buys. You may not think that you have money for that, but it's better to get one valuable piece than a bunch of junk. Seek out one-of-a kind objects, like backdrops or other original art and furniture made for a theater production. If you live in an apartment, what a great way to bring color and drama to those white walls! What fun you'll have exploring and hunting for such treasures.

How do you make a room filled with this and that look good? Unify with color, style and texture. If your things are all one color or type of wood, use different textures to add interest. If you are going to have different fabrics in a room, look for a unifying color or colors and include solids in those colors. For example, I got dining room chairs at Ross, but only 2 of each. One set of 2 chairs has beige, soft mossy greens, violets and wine colors. The other 2 have only the beige colors. Both are floral themes, but one is dramatic, the other subtle, and the chairs are the same style, have the same lines. Visitors have commented that, at first, they didn't even notice that I have different chairs. Don't be afraid to mix styles, too. A pair of dramatically different chairs can look great.

We often furnish our homes based on past trends and needs where cold winters required rungs and heavy stuffed furniture to make us feel comfortable. In the U.S. many have left the cold North East for the South and South west; population in Florida, California and Arizona have grown over the past 40 years. Yet, people living in these warmer climates still furnish a home as if they lived in Victorian England or Vermont. We have ways to make homes warmer without rugs and stuffed furnishings: floor insulation, electrically-heated floors, double pained glass windows. Think about your needs, style preferences and climate before you buy. I'm not asking people to give up a comfortable recliner. Do, consider, however, whether you really needs rugs. Carpet and rugs get dirty fast, trap dirt, contribute to allergies, and decline in value, unless they are antiques. Of course, you have no choice in an apartment or other rental situation. If you do have a choice, you may want to consider a painter's canvas drop cloth and paint it yourself. This would be a good choice in dinning room, where you should not have carpet where food is regularly eaten, any way.

What about the bedroom? People have been sleeping on flat surfaces, and complaining about back aches, for hundreds of years and only recently are new types of mattresses available. Ideally our bodies should be in the "astronaut position" for sleeping: head and torso, thighs and legs elevated with knees bent. This is the position of a reclining chair, though most are angled a bit too high at the torso part and not high enough for the legs. A reclining lawn chair may come closer. You could easily make a bed with such a lawn chair, especially if it comes with cushions. You'd need a mattress pad, doubled, to separate your body from the usually plastic cushions and give breathing space for sweat to evaporate, or sleeping bag. A note here about bedding, leave bedding folded open to allow sweat to evaporate in the mornings. It can look good folded half way down, exposing sheets to the air. This will be much cheaper that the new beds that adjust to firmness or those that are like hospital beds.

If you try these ideas, please leave a comment.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)