Thrifty Bargains

I love bragging about sharing my bargains and deals with others.

It used to drive my mom crazy. "Cindy," she'd say, "You don't need to tell everyone that you only paid $5 for those jeans." I think it embarrassed her a little bit that I was so vocal about being a thrifty shopper. I learned my thriftiness, after all, from her. But that didn't mean I had to tell the neighbors and everyone else!

I remember going shopping for clothes with my mom when I was in middle school. I hated it. I'd find an outfit I loved. It fit, it was cute and I liked it. To me, that was the end of the story.

But not to my mom. Nope. We'd spend the next 20 minutes looking at the tags to see if everything could be washed and dried easily, we'd make sure I had at least 5 other things in my closet that would go with these new clothes, she'd make sure I could sit and bend and move easily without straining the seams. Oh yeah, and price was the biggest factor! My mom was the best at getting a good deal, shopping sales, using coupons and generally being very thrifty.

You'd think that I would have grown up to hate shopping....however, the very opposite is true. I adore shopping! And I inherited all the best lessons that my mom so diligently instilled in me. The result... I have become an amazing bargain hunter, if I must say so myself :)  Mr. DIY jokes that I have a coupon for everything.

I still have a very hard time keeping my mouth shut about my bargains.

If I had you over for a meal for instance, and we were hanging out in my dining room and you complimented me on my unique curtains....I would be compelled to tell you that they cost me less than $10, that I made them from painter's drop cloth that I stenciled with leftover wall paint from our piano room.

Or if you commented on my black hutch that is stuffed to the brim with china, I would tell you how I found that hutch on Craigslist for $80 and Mr. DIY and I drove over an hour one way to look at it. And how the guy who owned it told us that his grandfather built it for his grandmother, and he felt bad for how far we drove and let us have it for $60.

And I'd tell you how this was my very first chalk paint project, and it was homemade chalk paint and it was really lumpy and grainy and I thought I totally wrecked the hutch...and if you look closely at it, you can still see the tiny white grains of Plaster of Paris throughout the black.  And how I had to ask my son to help me wax it because my arm was so tired from painting two coats. And how one of the glass panes was cracked and so Mr. DIY and I replaced it with antique-looking bubble glass. And that it cost more than the hutch! $100 for two panes of antique-looking glass, but we splurged because we got the hutch for such a steal.

And I'd tell you that all the china on the top shelves belonged to my mom (who has since passed away and left it to me) and in her 41 years of marriage to my dad, not one piece of the china was broken, chipped or even cracked. And she used it for all the very special occasions. I'd tell you that the rest of the china in the cabinet is antique ironstone that I've been collecting from thrift stores and Goodwills and that none of it cost me more than $2/piece. I'd show you my favorite pieces.

And I might drag show you into the other room to see my other Craigslist hutch, a French Provincial white hutch, that was even cheaper than the black one, and that is also filled with thrift-store finds.

And then, oh then, I'd proudly point out my pecan dining set and tell you all about how I found it on Craigslist for $300 but when Mr. DIY went to pick it up, he discovered that the chairs had been badly painted a greyish black but they had not revealed this to us. He was able to talk them down to $200 (my hero) because he knew that I could make them look better. And how I then found myself painting 5 cane-back chairs, waxing them and then finding the perfect fabric for the seats. And then painting the legs and apron of the table so it would match.

I'd tell you how I still want to refinish the top and the 3 leaves (yes, three!) that came with it, but I'm hesitant because I don't want to wreck it.  I've since bravely refinished the table top and all three leaves and you can read that post here! I'd point out my lazy susan that is the centerpiece of my table that I found at Goodwill for $2.99 and then painted with chalkpaint. And how handy it is when you need the salt or a toothpick or a napkin. Just give it a spin and get what you need, no matter where you're sitting :)

I'd point out my ruffled drop cloth table runner that I made from a remnant of drop cloth, as well as the drop cloth seat cover and cushion on my white chair. Yes, MY chair :) I'd share how I found this chair at Goodwill for about $5 and it's from a good North Carolina furniture company and it was my very first chair that I painted. And I love it. And it has become the "mama" chair because every mama needs a pretty chair with a little ruffled seat cover and lumbar pillow to cushion her sore back after preparing the meal!

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If you're still with me, I'd point out my collection of ironstone cups, creamers and sugar bowls in my tiffany blue cabinet that used to be storage for my ribbons and embellishments in my scrapbook room. I'd tell you how I love to repurpose things and give them new life with paint....and I'd probably go into a long litany of how cool chalk paint is and how to distress and what kind of wax* I like.

Oh, and if you noticed my bamboo mat, I'd have to tell you how that was a bit of a splurge for me, but even so was a steal at $120 on Decor Steals and yes, it is the exact same one that Miss Mustard Seed has in her home.  And then I'd probably ask if you noticed all the cute pumpkins around my house and, yes, I made them {blush} from Goodwill sweaters and they were so easy, would you like to learn, I've got a great tutorial.

Why do I share all this with you?

Well, I married Mr. DIY right out of college and we went right into the ministry.

Wait, what you ask?

Well, he's been a Youth Pastor for 20 years of our 21 years of marriage and, most recently, a Director of Family Ministries. After we had our firstborn, I stopped working because we felt it was really important for me to be at home with our kids while they were growing up. So we've been a one-income family for a long time. And a family on a Pastor's salary...which isn't bad, but isn't comparable to, say, a doctor or a lawyer ;)

Therefore, I have HAD to be thrifty and other choice.

But that's pretty much the whole purpose of my blog - to show you that you, yes you, can have beautiful things and a lovely home - and do it very frugally. Not crafty? Sign up for a class or ask a friend who is crafty to help you out!!

Don't be afraid to tackle a DIY project. Enlist your family for help, do it together and make some memories.

Don't be ashamed or embarrassed to shop at thrift stores, Goodwill, yard sales or on Craigslist. Probably 90% of the furniture in my home comes from one of the above. And I'm proud of it. Can you imagine how much money I've saved Mr. DIY over the years, lol??

At this point you probably don't even want to ask for a tour of the rest of the house because you are absolutely starving and just want to eat dinner ;)

So we'll save that for another time!  Hopefully you still want to be my friend! And maybe you even want to tag along next time I go shopping :)

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  1. First of all, you must have some awesome Goodwills! lol You would never find any chair for $5 at a Goodwill where I live. Secondly, as a fellow lifelong thrifter I am super impressed. You have a beautiful dinning room. :)

    1. I was very lucky in SW FL to have some awesome thrift stores...not so lucky here in TN :( Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving such a nice compliment!

  2. Cindy, I loved this post!! I love hearing about thrifty makeovers and treasured goodwill finds! I could have written this myself....I also feel compelled to spill the beans about every amazing deal or cheap upcycle!! Thanks for a fun share, that hutch was an amazing score for $60!

    1. Thanks Christy! Part of the thrill is the hunt...and the score...and then making it beautiful :)

  3. I loved this post! That's pretty much how I decorate too. Your dining room is just gorgeous! I got that rug from Decor Steals as well. I think it's a great bargain for that size and it's comfortable. I put mine in my dining room too :)

  4. Your dining room is beautiful, and I loved your story about your mom's china that nary a piece was broken after all those years. It made me a little misty eyed! My house is full of thrifted/new-to-me furniture. It makes my heart happy that I can make our home a pretty, cozy place to be, and take care of our three special kids.

    1. Thank you for your sweet comments, Becky! It is so special for me to have my mom's china and I'm afraid to use it b/c I'm a bit of a klutz and would hate to break any!!

  5. You've done a fantastic job on a small budget, just proves that all you need is some imagination and time and effort and you can transform your dining room into the room that you love. I have just finished a big kitchen and dining room renovation, would love for you to check it out have revealed the dining room today :)

    1. It is a great transformation Michelle! Thanks for sharing and for visiting my blog :)

  6. HOw Beautiful! Thank you for linking up! I am featuring you tonight at my Furniture and Paint Party! Hope to see you again at 8PM MST!!


  7. I'm so glad I found your blog. I DIY and thrift everything, too! So fun, isn't' it?

    1. Betsy, I'm so glad you found my blog too!! I Love new followers :-) The drop cloth was ripped down the center to make two even sides and then I hemmed the inside edges (the outsides were already hemmed). I used black clip rings to hang them - super easy - from a black rod.

  8. Hi Cindy I found you on Its Overflowing, Aimee's site. I love these curtains, did you sew them or just cut them and hang them? I'm happy I found your site.

    1. Hey Di, the curtains are one drop cloth that I ripped straight down the middle. Then I hemmed the ripped edges. All the other edges were already hemmed (one of the reasons why drop cloth is such a popular fabric to work with). I'm so glad you found my site too!! New followers are such a blessing :) Welcome!

  9. I wish I could find the great things you do. I just love your thriftiness. I could just hang out in your dining room. Love it! Thanks for sharing at Throwback Thursday.


  10. Great post!!!!! Yes, I would love to tag along with you to check out the sales. We garage sale and thrift store rummage every weekend, and really enjoy the time spent together as well as the bargains!!!
    I am a music minister and hospitality coordinator at an E&R church, so I understand the foibles of being a church worker.
    Blessings to you and thank you for a lovely blog!

    1. I am so glad you found my blog and left your lovely comment!! Next time I'm in Texas, we'll go thrifting together, ha! Hubby and I just spent our Valentines hitting some thrift stores and I came home with a few treasures, including a genuine Globemaster globe with hardwood base and brass latitude/longitude 'ruler?' for only $2.99 {in perfect shape!}!! Maybe I'll finally learn my geography now, lol!

  11. I really (!) want to see a tutorial for your drop cloth table runner. I love it so much.


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