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<p>I am just curious to know if anybody out there also lives this way. If so, why?</p>
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<p>Maybe I'm just being too wrapped up in things that are not important, but it is just kind of coming clear to me that we're the only ones we know who live this way. And I'm not sure what we're doing wrong, or if we ARE in fact doing anything wrong.</p>
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<p>I've seen people here on MDC working to get out of debt but say they "have" to buy new towels since theirs are "5 years old." Oh, I know that's just one person out of many, but when I go over other people's houses, I see they have matched towel sets and all. Our towels are 100% hand-me-downs from our parents, about 20 years old, there are not even two matched pairs. When I hang them out to dry it's startling to see how many holes there are (the sunlight shines through them). Most are frayed at the edges. All are absolutely beat up.</p>
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<p>Sheets - I just sewed up a patch on one set, but there's another sheet with widening holes that I have to work on, plus an ultra-cheap quilt we had (gift from my mother) is absolutely coming apart. I mean coming apart to the degree that I have to hold it in place when making the bed, not merely in the "getting ugly" sense. Most of our sheets are hand-me-downs but a couple we bought - but they were cheap Walmart sheets (and, frankly, those are the ones that are coming apart - before the older hand-me-downs).</p>
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<p>Are we choosing the wrong priorities? Is it just so inexpensive to have proper bedding and towels that we are doing ourselves a disservice by doing this?</p>
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<p>We keep saying that when we are out of debt, or at least closer to it, and have more savings, we will spend some money on the extras. But that day just does not seem to be coming. At all. Ten years have gone by and we're no better off. Our walls are bare and unpainted because we don't want to blow money on extras. But I just don't see the day when we can say "ahh, spending $50 on a few cans of paint and supplies will be no sweat."</p>
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<p>COULD we spend $50 on paint? Yes we could. But we just keep prioritizing other things (saving and debt, not that we're getting anywhere on either). Are we wrong? Especially since we just don't seem to be getting anywhere? COULD I blow $100 on a new comforter? Sure, but it would mean we'd have $0 added to our savings that month.</p>
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<p>So, are we crazy for not just spending money here and there when we're not getting anywhere anyway? Would it be worth it to have a house that doesn't look like we're a couple of college kids who haven't really moved in yet? We don't have a sofa - never have, except one summer when a guy donated his 1970s sofa from his basement. Our cat peed on it about three dozen times and we gave up and trashed it. I have been seeing other people's houses, even people who have a similar (lousy) income as us, who have gorgeous houses. Thick oriental rugs. Not merely furniture, but matching, classy furniture. End tables. The works. Our 2 foot fake Walmart Christmas tree that MIL handed down to us is sitting on the FLOOR. MIL gave us our two beds as gifts years ago (one as a wedding gift, the other as a house-christaining gift). If she hadn't, I strongly suspect we'd be sleeping on mattresses on the floor, no box springs or frame. (Of course we don't have headboards or anything like that).</p>
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<p>I'm sorry, I didn't mean for this to be a vent, but an honest question - are we living the wrong way? Would it be better for us to divert some money toward having a decent house, since we're just never going to be well off anyway?</p>
 

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<p>We do spend some money on our house, some repairs here some paint there.. but nothing major.  We have fraying towels that I repair. We have old sheets that have been patched.  Like you, we prioritize. We'd much rather pay off debt or give to our church than have expensive, fancy bedding.</p>
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<p>Almost all of our furniture is hand-me-down. Nothing matches.  I don't have a decorator's eye, so the stuff on our walls is pretty random.</p>
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<p>But, I have put a little thought and effort into the house, so although it doesn't look as 'put together' as some of our friends, I think it looks okay.  Our house will never be in a magazine or on a house tour.  It is comfortable for us, has enough room for us and our stuff and does it's job keeping us safe, warm and dry.</p>
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<p>If you are really bothered by something (say, an unpainted wall) then I don't think it would be such a big deal to spend the money on that one thing.  If it doesn't bother you, then it's no problem!</p>
 

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<p>I just recently had a "do we need new towels?" conversation with DH the other night. He mentioned wanting to get new (matching) towels. The ones we have are mismatched and old and the edges has started to fray. We are also working toward eliminating our debt  and saving money so I can be a SAHM next year. So, I weigh any purchase we make against the bigger picture, being home with my son, and it has certainly shifted my mindset about what I "need".</p>
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<p>Does it bother you the way your things are or the fact that your walls are bare? If it does, look for inexpensive ways to change it. Maybe, pick one thing to get per month. Go to garage sales, thrift stores, freecycle or craigslist. You could make your own wall art with photos, magazines, wrapping paper, old calendars, etc. and get cheap frames at the dollar store.</p>
 

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<p>Well paying off debt and saving are very important.  BUT there is also the thought of spending your whole life waiting to be happy.  If you are happy with the ways things are then fine.  If you aren't and are always looking down the road to someday then it is a problem.  There has to be a happy medium.  My thought on our house-its our biggest investment at this point.  (we have a house, several barns and 40 acres).  If we don't take care of it and keep it well maintained I am, in the long run, losing our equity.  So we are going to put in new windows very soon, insulation, etc.  Thats a huge hunk of change.  My walls are kept freshly painted and simply, tastefully decorated.  HOWEVER, we shop the sales for food, watch the ads for jeans when the kids need them, buy furniture off craigslist, use christmas money for things like good coats and gloves.  I don't want to be cold in this house for the rest of my life and have a great savings account.  I'd rather have a comfortable home and an ok savings account.  If we ever needed to, down the road, we could sell and downsize.  But not if we've let things go downhill.  As for towels-I'd get one nice set for company (primarily hand towels cause thats all they usually use) and use the frayed ones myself.  Sheets-sorry but I like getting into my comfy cozy bed.  I have one nice set of sheets per bed.  Wash and remake weekly.  Walls don't have to be expensively decorated.  You can even get "mistint "<br>
 paint in some great colors at Lowes for 7-12 dollars a gallon.  I've made some gorgeous curtains out of sale rack sheets in the past.  Garage sales and thrift stores are the place to get wall stuff.  Do what feels right to you.</p>
 

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<p>Once your sheets get holey, they are no longer doing their job protecting your mattress.  Mattresses are expensive to replace.  I would spring for new sheets - you can get deals on clearance in January, usually, especially if you don't mind sleeping on winter-y prints all year. </p>
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<p>A lot of the stuff you describe I would (and do) live with in the interests of saving money and being frugal.  But sometimes, you have to look at the long term impact of not spending and make some changes.  Do you have a portion of your savings earmarked for routine household maintenance and repairing/replacing things as they wear out?  I would see a lot of what you are describing as things that are sensible uses of that portion of your savings.</p>
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<p>Our towels are pretty beat up, but not threadbare. They're mostly all hand-me-downs from our parents. My fiance has a major thing about stuff matching and his dream would be to have a few sets of matching towels. I know we'll be getting married in a year or two and I figure towels are wedding present type things, so I'm just gonna stick it out til then.</p>
<p>We have a few newish sheets that we purchased when I was going through chemo and sweating like crazy at night. They were fairly cheap at Ikea, but nice and soft. The pillowcase I usually use is from when I was a kid, so it's probably 20 years old. Our blankets are a random assortment of gifts from my fiance's godmother over the years, our parent's houses and a few newer college dorm leftovers (from our own dorm rooms...i realize that could have been interpreted rather grossly lol!). Our dishes are the same mix: mostly stuff leftover from college with very few matching sets.</p>
<p>We've picked up bits and pieces of furniture in the 5 years we've been together, but it's mostly cheap Ikea stuff. After our last big move, we graduated from free craigslist couches to an Ikea couch, but our cats have destroyed the cover, so it was really just a $200 exercise in futility.</p>
<p>All that having been said, I think my house, bed, towels and everything are very comfortable and they feel homey to me. The only thing I even really have any desire to replace is the towels! I have other priorities for my money. So long as I've got the basics covered, I'm good. Sure, my dishes don't match, but they're still usable, so I see no reason to spend the money to replace them. I do agree with a previous poster though...if it's bugging you, change it! I think most of the things you mentioned could be obtained relatively inexpensively. Otherwise, if you're happy with things the way they are, don't worry about it! You're living the right way if you're happy :)</p>
 

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<p>I want new sheets SOOOO badly! Dh and I got married back in September so (of course) a month before the wedding my face broke out with acne in a massive way (probably pre wedding stress : P ) . Out of desperation, I opted to go with some peroxide stuff to clear it up quick before the wedding...and accidentally bleached our nice organic sheet set : ( It makes me sad every time I change the sheets (we have another set that is too small for our bed and torn at the corners from being stretched to fit) because I loved these sheets so much! We're building a cabin in the woods and moving in a year or so, so I promised myself that I would buy us new sheets once we are in our new house, so for now we deal with it : P </p>
 

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<p>Well, yes, half of our towels are threadbare, ripped and discoloured! We're still doing some major ("basic", nothing fancy) work on our house so once things are "done" and cleaner around here I'm going to buy new towels.I might get some sooner as I have been asked by family what we want for christmas and I mentioned towels, dishcloths, dishtowels etc.</p>
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<p>I pick up most of our stuff second hand and if I'm looking for something specific, I let my family know so they can keep their eyes open or pass on extras they may have. </p>
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<p>My dishes are all mismatched and bought second hand but they are all white. They go together. </p>
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<p>All our furniture is from the thrift shop or passed on from family members. My rule is to look for real wood furniture over mdf/melanmine/particle board stuff. I sand, paint/stain. For couches and chairs, I visit the thrift shop a couple times to get something just right instead of settling on good enough. Our thrift shop is GREAT but sometimes they have some ugly stuff!</p>
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<p>I have a couple quilts made by my grandmother when I was younger. They're too small for our queen sized bed but I turn them sideways and use them across the bottom of the bed over other blankets (helps with chilly feet!) Our mattress is still on the floor, when I finally do our bedroom (paint with $10 oops paint, install flooring that came with our house) I'll look for a bed frame or build one a la Ana White with left over lumber. </p>
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<p>If we could just finish the family room, I could clean and reorganize the house and THEN I would be happy with our space. I'm fine with the stuff we have, I just don't like the layer of plaster dust all over it and the way things are shoved into corners! Done by Christmas! *fingers crossed*</p>
 

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<p>I can't really get into the philosophical argument of new sheets/towels, but I can give you some practical hints about what I do. </p>
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<p>We set aside money in our budget every month for "household maintenance." This is for things like replacing a leaking faucet, or buying caulk for windows, or even dinner plates. Things do wear out and need replacing. So I put a line in our budget. Sometimes we know an expense is coming, and we "bump up" that amount for the month. Sometimes it catches us by surprise and we have to wait until next month to replace the needed item. We have debt, we're paying it off. We're building savings. But we also have to have a liveable house. </p>
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<p>Secondly, I really shop the sales. Really. I keep an eye on a couple of money-saving blogs, and that helps. For example, there was a recent deal where you could get a set of towels (two bath towels, two hand towels, two washcloths) from a major retailer for $2.99, shipped. Great deal! I can fit that in the budget! When sheets go on sale at Target (lots of white sales in Jan/Feb) I keep my eyes peeled. Last spring, I scored complete flannel sheet sets for each of my boys for $6 each. Those sheets will last us a few years. When you average out how many months we'll be using those sheets, and think about the monthly/daily cost of them, it's pennies! That's $1 month, per bed, for 6 months. Not bad. Could you maybe start an envelope and stash a dollar or three in there a week? By the time spring comes, you could buy some new towels. Break the amount down into smaller, incremental amounts, keep your eyes open for a good deal (check over the clearance racks and shelves when you're out) and buy when you find a good deal and have a bit of $$. </p>
 
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>laohaire</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1283693/are-your-towels-bedding-frayed-holey-threadbare-torn-do-you-have-no-furniture-etc#post_16095177"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-right:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-bottom:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>... </p>
<p>COULD we spend $50 on paint? Yes we could. But we just keep prioritizing other things (saving and debt, not that we're getting anywhere on either). Are we wrong? Especially since we just don't seem to be getting anywhere? COULD I blow $100 on a new comforter? Sure, but it would mean we'd have $0 added to our savings that month.</p>
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<p>I think this says it all, you are prioritizing getting debt paid off over new towels or paint.  Different priorities are not wrong, just different.</p>
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<p>However, if it is really bothering you then I agree with the other posters who have said to set aside a little each month and shop the sales.</p>
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<p>I have awesome sheets - but I never pay full price.  I shop TJMaxx and such until I find sheets on sale.  I stick to white or beige in one brand I like and build sets as I can.  I now have all the sets I need - all  bought at a major discount - but it took a while to find them all.  I've done the same thing with all our blankets and down blankets and pillows.  Check the discount places every few weeks and pick stuff up when it is on sale or clearance.  I still get giddy when I think of the king down blanket I bought for $19.99 - original price tag of $200 still attached.</p>
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<p>You can do the same with towels.  Just pick a color (I'd go with white) and build as you find really good sales.</p>
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<p>If the bare walls bother you - check out the Lowe's/Home Depot/Menards mistake paint.  It is often under $5 a gallon.  Look until you find colors you like.</p>
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There are ways to do it at a huge discount - but it takes extra time and patience.  You have to figure out which brands are worth the investment and at what price point they are a good deal.  And you have to decide which is more important - building a set of towels or paying off debt.  That answer is going to be different for everyone.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter #11
<p>Thanks for the perspectives. I do apologize for my little pity party. I'm not proud of those at all, but getting perspective from other women is just invaluable to me.</p>
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<p>So the question is: does it bother me? I guess I was trying to figure that out... and I guess the fact that I wrote the thread must mean it bothers me at least a little, right? The question is, how much - or maybe the question is, should it bother me at all.</p>
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<p>I don't shop (part of being frugal - I'm just never in Target or wherever, except sometimes Walmart because we buy cat litter and toothpaste there). So it's hard for me to follow the sales. I don't like to expose myself to consumer items because I don't want to have any temptations. It's so easy to look at a weekly flyer and say "oooh, that is a cute dress." And even if I don't buy it (which I probably won't) then I'll be THINKING about that dress. This thread itself is evidence of that - the only reason I got to thinking about this stuff is because lately I've been going to people's houses, new friends of DD's. And I see their stuff. And I wonder what we're doing wrong, and try to figure out the math - how can they afford this and that and the other, even things I don't personally desire but that add to the equation that I can't figure out (like we have one car and we're happy with it, but another family has TWO, and NICER, cars - AND all these fancy things in their house).</p>
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<p>A PP mentioned our house is in investment and we have to maintain it to keep it up - but is towels really <span style="font-size:10pt;"><span style="color:#000000;"><span style="font-family:arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-family:arial;">maintenance</span></span></span></span>? We absolutely do keep up with the structure of the house and always have - the roof, the windows, they are all in excellent shape. There's nothing wrong with our HOUSE, we just don't have nice things inside it, haven't decorated or furnished it in any way, etc. Sure, there are parts that need updating (the bathtub is old and cheap, the kitchen floor is old) but it's solid. The walls were painted neutral white when it was for sale, so we moved in with fresh paint, it's just white (or off white or whatever) and isn't <em>decorated</em>, no personality, not finished.</p>
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<p>Yes, we could set up a budget for home maintenance, but same thing - the budget is not going to come out of nowhere, it's going to eat into the lousy amount we save. I'll just go ahead and give you guys numbers for perspective, real numbers, what the heck, I'm anonymous. We have $535 in our emergency fund right now. Yup, pathetic. I've been holding the financial reins for 2 months, and in October I managed to put away $21, and in November I got that up to $95. So spending $50 is going to eat into our savings, you see? And the reason isn't because we're blowing money on lattes or curtains or clothes or haircuts or cable or anything.</p>
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<p>I am thinking I might just prioritize things, and do one thing that would make me feel the best. Maybe paint the bathroom. Maybe $25 for the paint and supplies, and keep the supplies in good shape for a later project in another room. And maybe in a year we could do something else.</p>
 

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<p>I too struggle a little with this topic too. Not because we have debt, but where exactly are things too junky for daily use. My DSs sleep on a bed that is ancient.  They both seem to sleep well and say it is comfortable.  It would not work for me.</p>
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<p>I have a ton of quality towels that we got for wedding gifts nearly 11 years ago.  They were quality towels because they don't have holes and the hems are intact, but they are all in light colors that were not the best for a family with two messy little boys. They aren't wore out but sometimes I think they are grunged out.</p>
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<p>As for bedding I think I have some borderline sensory issues with sheets<span><img alt="shy.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/shy.gif" style="width:15px;height:15px;"></span>.  I have several sets that look just fine that I will put on my kids beds that I will not put on my own<span>.  I don't think I could handle patched sheets  We all have beautiful quilts since my mom is prolific and talented quilter.  Currently she is done with our beds and now working on window quilts for our drafty old windows<img alt="wink1.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="width:15px;height:15px;"></span></p>
 

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<p>Holey sheets are beyond the pale- not because they aren't nice, but because your body secretions are getting on the mattresses.</p>
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<p>Threadbare towels? Well, they aren't absorbing half the water a newer towel would, because you've lost 50% of the fabric the towel was made with. But like everyone says, if it doesn't bother you, then no problem.</p>
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<p>But if you can get 20 years out of your towels, try to think about how that is a worthwhile investment. You will <em>have</em> to shop a bit. Going out and paying full price, or close to it, because you don't know what is out there is just as bad as buying daily lattes! You can get a <em>very</em> nice set of towels for $50 if you shop around. That $50 spent means 20 more years of towels (well, probably 10, things aren't made as well anymore.) That same $50 in 10 years isn't going to be worth nearly as much... inflation and all that... and isn't the pleasure of stepping into a fluffy towel after a hot shower- a towel that is actually big enough to wrap up in- divided out over 10 years worth $50?</p>
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<p>This is just a snapshot of how I decide whether something is worth buying. YMMV.</p>
 
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<p>Mismatched is not an issue IMO, although I think it's useful to have a look you're striving for, so if things become available or people want to know what they can get you, you are aiming for a color of wood; certain colors for each room; a theme for the room. You needn't spend money getting it all matchy, but once you have all the basics covered, you can start replacing things to slowly over time grow into the look you want. If you're going for all white minimalist eventually, and you have a dark brown bookshelf, and a relative offers you a different dark brown bookshelf, you can say no thanks, we're hoping to move to all white. (You could also paint it if you go for white rather than wood tones). </p>
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<p>Holes in sheets and towels though I feel is a use and efficiency issue. I would replace them, although you don't need tons or matching sets or anything. Just watch for lone towels or sheet sets on clearance and as long as you have some without holes, do the same as above and if you see "your color" on clearance buy it, otherwise pass it up. </p>
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<p>Oh, and I always find it exciting to shop for something specific, you just have to have a set budget and a set thing you are shopping for. You can have fun shopping for new towels or sheets, just stick to the budget (bring cash). If you spend less than your budgeted amount, you can buy a splurge with the rest of it.</p>
 

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<p>I think that there are extremes, and the way you are going is one of them.  You can at least replace items that are done or destroyed without blowing a bunch of money on new stuff.  Thrift stores are great for household items, just wash in hot water to make sure there's no buggies.  We don't have all new stuff, but a very nicely cared for and furnished house, and no, we don't have a lot of money.  To me my home is my castle, and considering the amount of time I spend here I like it to be pleasing and comfortable.  I also kind of gave in to the idea of being debt free a couple of years ago, no matter what I'm going to owe somebody something.  We work not only to live but to enjoy the fruits of our labor.</p>
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>mommaof3boz</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1283693/are-your-towels-bedding-frayed-holey-threadbare-torn-do-you-have-no-furniture-etc#post_16095333"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Well paying off debt and saving are very important.  BUT there is also the thought of spending your whole life waiting to be happy.  If you are happy with the ways things are then fine.  If you aren't and are always looking down the road to someday then it is a problem.  There has to be a happy medium.</p>
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<p>This is what I picked up from your post, and I think that making small, inexpensive changes around your home will make you feel more content with life.  Not to say that you should aim to make your house like the others you see, with all matching furniture and all.  But little things that you do will make it feel more homey.</p>
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<p>I'd probably set aside a small amount of money, say $10/month and use it for something to make your home more appealing or comfortable to YOU.  So after 3 months you may have enough money to paint some walls, you can get those error-mix paints for really cheap or get stuff from the Habitat Re-store shop if you have one nearby.  It doesn't have to cost a lot and if you're not too picky it can be a very frugal way to paint.  I think sheets and towels would definitely be a good investment.  We started off with 2 sets of sheets for our bed, so we can rotate them and spread out the wear a bit.  Same with towels - ok, ours are 95% hand-me-downs too but they're mostly white (a few are beige) and sort of go together.  I'd choose one or two plain colours that you won't get tired of, you can always get a couple of cheap, colourful "accent" towels for display if you want to get fancy.  We got a few navy and burgundy hand towels that go well with our basic colours for when people come over for gatherings, etc.</p>
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<p>I'm not sure if there's an amount of money that you would be comfortable spending, so that part is really up to you.  But I do think it's worth it.  If you can't swing it financially, how about asking for these things as gifts?</p>
 

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<p>All our towels are hand me downs but we do have a couple of matching sets because SIL is a massage therapist and most of our towels are handed down from her.</p>
<p>DH is fussy about sheets but we really only have one matching set for the guest bed. It's the cotton/thread count he's fussy about, not what they look like.</p>
<p>Yes, I think we live like you and while I don't really know anyone else irl I don't think it's that unusual. As a PP said, different priorities are not wrong, just different. We spend money in areas that are important to us (organic, TF foods for instance) that many of our friends and acquaintances don't.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter #18
<p>Just about the holey sheets - is that really a problem for the mattress? Doesn't the mattress pad protect it even if there are holes in the sheets?</p>
 

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<p>What a welcome thread here this AM!</p>
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<p>We have downsized our home dramatically in the past year and I love it.  Finally got DH on board after he watched me the past few years, he is a bit of a self proclaimed pack rat but is changing for his own sanity!  DH and I just had this chat last night about towels, don't have enough!.  We too do not have a couch and really we just laugh about it.  It broke awhile back and I just put an ad on Craigslist for free for someone to fix it and take it, which a nice girl did. </p>
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<p>We are living in a rental that our landlord isn't into us painting (EVERYTHING IS WHITE HERE!), drives me nuts a bit, however, we live in the country and everything outside is so colorful, which I have brought the outdoors in a bit with willow branches, etc.  Our wall art is up for the most part but our other art is packed due to DS (16 months) wanting to play with most of it and it isn't play worthy art.  We plan to make shelves to display after Christmas. </p>
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<p>We too go over to others houses and see all the decorations, matching sets, etc....  I have to remember that I love that type of decorating but I have never been one to go that route.  My things, as well as DH's, have always been from 2nd hand stores and art our family and friends have crafted.  Our house is really plain with lots of art.  I am proud of that really.  Our house doesn't look like a Pier 1 ad.  I remind myself that most of our <em>true friends</em> homes are really like ours and the really decorated ones, well, everything including the people are decorated too and that really just isn't my family.  It seems exhausting to me to keep up with trends and such. </p>
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<p>Everyone's priorities are different, if it works for you and your family... go with it.  I would however spring for the paint if you are able, I would!  I live in the white room, lol!</p>
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<p>We do not have a lot of money, but I don't feel our home looks so much like it. I can look up from where I am and see my sitting area which is furnished and decorated by all second hand items, including pillows, rugs, and christmas decor. Our whole house is full of used items, but that can look good too. Is it as stylish as some other homes? no. That's ok. I understand saving money but I want to feel comfortable and happy with my home. When the budget has allowed it, we hit up thrift stores band flea markets to personalize our space. Our emergency fund is not much bigger than yours, and while I know that it is important to have an emergency fund, I also know we will never have a lot of money so there is no point in waiting to be happy some other day.</p>
 
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