Friday, January 15, 2010

Household Necessities Do Not Mean Expense

There is absolutely no need to worry that staying home will make you poorer.  Most homemakers have beautiful homes with nice furniture. They serve delicious teas for their friends and families.  Without going out to work in a 9-5 job, they live very well and prosper.  One reason for this is that they learn to find what they want at a cheaper price, or free. 

 Everything in the photograph, above, can be obtained without spending money, as per the strategies in the previous post.  The rumour that you will be poor and unable to dress in nice clothes if you stay home, is spread so that you will be intimidated and frightened.  It simply is not true. 

 Some homemakers do not like modern clothes and others really dont care to heap up impressive posessions or drive new cars, so if they appear poorer, we cannot know for sure that they are. Some people have different ideas of what is important. Some women love antiques and prefer to find cost-free items for their homes in other ways.

Dining Room from Direct Buy

There are some people who will start out their housekeeping with nothing. By carefully guarding their income and by looking for ways to furnish the house without spending money, they accumulate quite a house full in just a few years. Other people may have higher incomes and can afford brand new things, and if they can, there is no harm in doing so. If they choose high quality things and teach their children to be careful with family posessions, they will not have to replace it often, and will be that further ahead. However, for those who wont be able to start out with new, expensive things, there are still plenty of  creative ways to have a nice home .

One way to overcome the lack of things is to see things in a different light. One woman was facing the cost of replacing a worn out vacuume cleaner. She began to sweep her floors and in doing so, found many missing items: puzzle and game pieces, and items dropped that were too small to find.  Sweep, and ye shall find. 

Another woman did not have enough of one kind of dinnerware to serve company on matching plates, so she interspersed an old set with a new. On the table, every other plate was from a matched set, and by adding flowers from her garden with coordinating colors of both sets of plates, she tied it all together.

Still others learn to re-cover chair pads and cushions, with old sheets, in matching colors. Women have for centuries, known how to dye things  to make coordinating table cloths, curtains, and rugs for their homes.  Such things as this are often the next popular item with designers, as they look for more creative things to present.  

Visitors to the homes of homemakers sometimes get the first impression that their husbands must make a lot of money and they must be very rich.  When one homemaker was asked if her husband made a lot of money, she said "No, but I know how to make it stretch."  She took her friend on a tour around her house, pointing out different things she had got for free, found at yard sales, or were greatly discounted.  To this day, her home looks like a million dollars, and her family uses it and lives in it. She shares it and when something wears out, it does not worry her, for she knows there are ways of replacing it without spending money.

Clothing is another issue that many people bring up, when it comes to staying home. I really believe you feel better, as a homemaker, if you'll not hang around in casual clothes, like pyjamas or sweats. There are so many alternatives to this, and if someone comes to the door, you will feel confident and well dressed.  The frugal homemakers have a system with clothing:  Save the really good clothes for church and formal wear, and as they get more worn, use them at home.  Some people do not sew, but are really good at finding nice things. Even the high-end stores have good sales, and when they do, they are better than the big-box stores or Goodwill.  A sweater at Goodwill can be six or seven dollars. At JC Penny with a coupon, you can get a similar item for five dollars.  These can all be worn at home. If you want to really do  good job at home, feel good about your work, and make others have a bit more respect, it is important to dress well. The home maker with the nice house had many famous brands in her home, and wore clothing with high-end labels However, it was not  expensive. The important thing is to look for what is useful in your home.


Tracy said...

Very true and a timely reminder as we purchasing our first home. :)

Anonymous said...

I read your recent posts on furnishing and equipping a home on a family income with great pleasure. You are correct in saying that it is possible to live well and have nice things on one income. I have furnished our home with hand-me-downs, garage sale purchases, and salvation army and goodwill finds. My home isn't filled with particle board tables and dirty, old sofas. Instead, it is filled with classic Ethan Allen and Baker pieces all made in America of solid wood. Just a few days ago, I found two solid wood bookcases at the local Salvation Army store. They look very shabby right now, but I plan to trim them out with molding and paint them a warm white. I will have a nice built-in double bookcase for our family room for less than $50. I have learned to sew my own window treatments and find creative substitutes for the things I want (for example, I made a tailored bedskirt for a king-sized bed out of a dupioni silk panel I bought for $2.00 at a resale shop) or need (my high quality pots and pans were a $5.00 Goodwill find).

There are wonderful Websites with all sorts of inspiring ideas for a homemaker with more time and imagination than money. Our quality of life has actually risen since I quit working outside of our home. Money stretches if you try.

Candy♥ said...

I couldn't agree more. There are so many ways to make your home and your wardrobe appear expensive/tasteful/admiring.
Slipcovers work wonders on sofas.
Of course, the same goes with a fresh coat of paint of walls. I dont know why some people keep the old brown wall boards in their home when they can easily paint it white (pure white right from the can - no tint cost) and overnight your home will look like the cutest beach cottage. So easy!
When painting, lighter colors make the room appear larger. And larger looks "grand".

With clothing, my family/friends and I sometimes trade. Once every 6 months we get together and bring the items we no longer wear/like (from accessories to purses to clothes to even home decor items!) Then we trade with each other. This way, we all get something "new to us" and its fun, and FREE :) Sometimes I may trade a home decor item of mine for a new purse. A family member might trade a set of cookware to a friend for a lamp.
I think its a great idea for Church members to do too...get together at someones home, have tea and a potluck dessert and trade stuff.
My husband cracks up when I come home with a bunch of "new" stuff that I replaced with stuff that we didnt want anymore. It a genius idea Im tellin ya! :)


Anonymous said...

The lady is right, who said that you dont have to live with pressed board tables or dirty couches. This is an image promoted by people who look down on homemaking. One of the things that causes poverty is the lack of good stewardship. Being careful with everything prevents damage. It does not hurt the family to be careful with chairs, tables, lamps, dishes, etc. It helps them become more thoughtful and refined. We should not raise our children as though they were going to live in a rubber room all their lives. Mothers must take the time to make the children appreciate and respect beautiful furniture and the walls, etc. Also, getting rid of vice is a way of preserving your income. If your money is spent on wine, beer, ballgame tickets, or other habits, you have no reason to complain that you cannot afford a coffee table, a lamp, or a new shoes. Eliminating the money that goes out the door--such as too many trips in the car, all the extras you think you must have, that you never can put your hands on (entertaining, eating out, etc) leaves more for the things of lasting value. It is better to have something for your money that you can actually own for awhile, than to fritter it away on fun and games.

Anonymous said...

Try for kitchen items. A friend I know got all her cuisineart appliances there, and all her matching kitchen acessories, brand new, for a lot less.

Anonymous said...

I think we're cut from the same cloth. You describe many of my early years of homemaking perfectly. In addition, I make delicious gourmet meals better than any restaurant three times a day. It's all in the attitude. Are we grateful and delighted with the possibilities, or are we unsatisfied, grumbling murmurers.

Anonymous said...

Soon after I married my husband, I quit college and switched from pursuing a nursing degree to being a stay-at-home wife. My husband and I started married life with not a stick of furniture. We "rented" a tiny camper trailer at a local Bible camp (the camp we met at) and had a tent to store our few possessions.

We were regularly ridiculed by others who believed we could never make it on one income. We graduated from the camper to a tiny basement suite (a converted garage!) and then a tiny cabin with dirt cheap rent. We often got things used or for free, including a piano which was given to us after being damaged in a fire. A local piano tuner took me under his wing, worked with me to fix it, and then I taught piano lessons/music theory classes with it until our first child arrived.

We bought a very small, very affordable home before our first child was born. My father helped us renovate, teaching my husband and I some very valuable skills.

When our third child arrived and was sleeping in the kitchen, God provided an incredibly affordable, much larger home just up the street from my parents! It needs paint, new flooring etc. eventually, but it more than meets our needs. We are picking away at fixing it up as we can afford it.

As my husband learned/matured/excelled in the workforce, his income steadily increased (he is now a sought after international speaker and considered an expert in his field). He is also a published author. He could not have pursued being published, or transitioned to his current employment if I had been working out of the home, because he wouldn't have had my support/time to run our household.

We've lived on one income for fourteen years, but we own our vehicle, have absolutely no consumer debt, have six months living expenses saved for emergencies, retirement savings, and Lord willing our mortgage will be gone in four years (we are doing everything we can to slay that beast as quickly as possible). The irony is that we are in better shape financially than the very people who ridiculed us when we were newlyweds (we were determined to prove them wrong).

I'm sorry this is so long Lady Lydia, but I thought it might be encouraging for others to read a real life experience of living on one income. It CAN be done!

Anonymous said...

Maybe you also remember the big wheels that telephone wire was wrapped around. If you could get ahold of one, it made a wonderful table. the smaller ones made children's tables. Now, they are collectors items but then, only the poor and desperate used them. Covered with a round cloth, no one could tell that your end table was a cable cord wheel. Emily Barnes describes one that she had tried to get rid of, and her family was so sentimental about it that she had to keep it. Look at the first photograph and notice that the cloth on the table isnt exactly a table cloth that fits. The cushions are covered with similar prints. I know of someone who buys a lot of the dollar a yard fabric and makes everything coordinating in her home and it is a lovely effect. When married couples first settled down, often it was no more than a little trailer that was fixed up and made to look lovely, despite the circumstances. There are so many depressed women, that would be made happier by a little cleaning up, neatening up, rearranging, and improving of their living spaces. It does wonders for the mind.

Anonymous said...

The last comment: I love your story and would like to hear more stories like it. I know of one lady who began life with her husband in her parents garage. Her first baby was born there and during that time her husband was learning a trade, so he wasnt getting much, but she saved all she could and she made do with the sparsest of furniture. They were also ridiculed by their peers, who thought they were crazy. Today, they own property that their children farm. It all had to start somewhere. No one handed them anything. The couple was willing to start out in the garage, despite the pressure from others and the mocking that went on. They knew what they were doing.

Anonymous said...

WONDERFUL! I've had an excellent 'return' for listening to God and going home. I got comments about how rich we are from extended family members so much to the point that they got mad because we wouldn't lend them money for their nonsense! Well, truth be known, we made 'just enough' and we pretty much stretched it as far as it would go! (I LOVE the challenge) This year our health insurance doubled and get this: we have more in the bank than ever; still not a lot in the world's eyes, of course, but some extra. Staying home allows me to make all kinds of pretties for the house that makes us appear even richer! ;) Now this is coming from starting off with an ironing board, also used as a table, 2 barstools, and a 13" B&W TV and sleeping on afghans! Where there's a will there's a way! :) Thank you!

Anonymous said...

WONDERFUL! I've had an excellent 'return' for listening to God and going home. I got comments about how rich we are from extended family members so much to the point that they got mad because we wouldn't lend them money for their nonsense! Well, truth be known we made 'just enough' and we pretty much stretched it as far as it would go! (I LOVE the challenge) This year our health insurance doubled and get this: we have more in the bank than ever; still not a lot in the world's eyes, of course, but some extra. Staying home allows me to make all kinds of pretties for the house that makes us appear even richer! ;) Now this is coming from starting off with an ironing board, also used as a table, 2 barstools, and a 13" B&W TV and sleeping on afghans! Where there's a will there's a way! :) Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Lovely interiors shown and helpful thoughts for frugality.

Anonymous said...

I VERY HIGHLY recommend the book by Emil Barnes and Yoli Broger- Beautiful Home On A Budget. Some of the ideas are rather dated (at least in the copy I have, published in 1998, it may have been revised since then), but it gets you thinking, and it is for those who truly have little to no budget in stead of the "budget" makeovers in magazines. You know, the ones you excitedly pick up in the store to look at the *10 Budget Friendly Makeovers!* and then realize their budget is about $20,000 for the bathroom alone.
I have recently decided that the way I WANT to decorate, (farmhouse/vintage/antiques/cottage/with a little shabby chic thrown in for good measure) is just not affordable in my part of Ohio. But. Farmhouse with some primitive/colonial looking items is, mostly because I can make a lot of the things for very little to no money. (I just re-purposed a few pieces of leftover wood laminate flooring by painting and and stenciling Farm Fresh Eggs on one, and Buy Star Brand Flour on another.)
Well, I did run on there, but this just gets me so excited! I love Candy's idea for a swap, and Anonymous at 7:00PM's story.
Looking forward to more!

Anonymous said...

A advantage of shopping at Goodwill and De Pauls is that the furniture is usually a little out of date and made in the USA, unlike the modern imports. Also some of it is made of the heartwood, which is very desireable.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mrs. Lydia,

I enjoyed your latest post. And how very true it is. I don't think my home would necessarily appeal to the Home and Garden Magazine reader, but I like the way it's done--mainly because I spend very little on decorating and have a wide variety of taste. Hodge-podge is probably what I'd call it. A friend who visited told me my house was "homey". I took it as a compliment. :)

AND, as far as offering teas, coffee, etc. I always have that on hand. I'd like to improve a bit with the hospitality so I can enjoy a nice cup of tea with friends.

I rarely buy new clothes. I love to thrift shop. My favorite place sells clothing for fifty cents an item. I'm not really into the "latest". I don't have a particular style that I'm stuck with so it's easy to be satisfied with what I find on the thrift store racks. :)

Again, I enjoyed the post.

Anonymous said...

I loved commentor 7 PM's post on starting married life in a garage.

When my husband and I were married in 1969 we rented a converted garage appartment too. It came furnished with a 1950's frig, stove, sofa and a double bed with a 6" depression in the center of the mattress. We stuffed it with a pillow and slept quite soundly.

I was in college, my husband was in the Navy and we had 6 months of wedded bliss before he was deployed.

His allotment check was $90 and the rent without phone or tv was $88.50.

With some money that we got as a wedding gift we bought a few groceries. Our first meal was a BIG tuna casserole that we dined on for a week. We were in love and had our own place and didn't mind not having much.

After he got home from his first deployment he made 2nd class and was given a small raise in the allotment checks. We started saving and were able to move up to a two bedroom rental house with a fenced yard.

I planted a garden, a postage stamp orchard of fruit trees and we raised rabbits for meat. I learned to can, honed my sewing skills and made lots of our clothes.

When our children came along in two years I made the baby alot of her clothes and my son's baby clothes too.

I started teaching my daughter to sew her doll's clothes and am confident she could sew today if she desired to.
I taught the kids to cook and clean house and take care of animals.

Through the years my husband continued to get training for practical things, took on overtime duty and kept us in running cars and even sold a few fixed up cars for cash.

I made school clothes and baby quilts for extra money and we got by on very little, even having enough to take yearly camping vacations to his mother's home out of state.

We were criticized for not spending lots of money at Christmas, and being careful with our money. We always bought fixer- upper homes and improved them and built up equity in them, then sold for a profit.

I was criticized for not going off to "work" like the other neighbor wives when it was the popular thing to do. I took care of the kids whose mom's were at the office all day.

Today our critics are not as well off as we are and we are also taking care of two sets of parents.

You can get by quite nicely on very little and be perfectly happy and comfortable on very little if you are resourceful and wise with your funds.

prayzgod said...

We may have had a lot more money when we both worked, before we had children, but now that I've been home all of these years with our children, I can say that we are much richer now.

Money and materials are fleeting, but the home decorated with love surpasses worldly riches. :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi, I checked a neat book out from the library....Easy Flea Market Style-Creative Ideas & Fabulous Fix-ups. It has a lot of cute do-it yourself ideas.

Thanks so much for your lovely blog. Being a Sahm can be lonely...your blog is a blessing to me.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing more wonderful than being a stay at home wife, who can work diligently to make her home a place to honor guests. Her family appreciates a place to really relax, and you cant do that if everyone is rushing around or the woman is not home. I have a story from another angle: My son stayed in our upstairs area, which was not being used, right after they married. His wife stayed home and made that place really beautiful. Today they have their own home, and it was partly due to the fact that they didnt pay rent those first years. He helped a lot by renovating our downstairs area and re-landscaping our yard, which would have cost thousands, and she was very helpful too. When I got sick, she attended me and kept the home going.

Homemaking makes more sense, time-wise. Think of all the time spent in the commute too and from work, running here and there to pick up children, or having to run errands at the same time. The time the working women are spending in the car commuting, the homemakers can read a book, create a leisurely meal, sew some quick item, write a letter, make a gift for a loved one or a needy person. When women left home, a lot of things suffered

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Thanks for the tip about the book. I'm going to see if I can find it on Amazon.It sounds interesting.

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I remember when my son came home one day when we lived in our former neighborhood. He was around age eleven or twelve.

He asked me if I realized the neighbors thought we were rich because our home was decorated so nice and we drove a nice car.

I had to laugh as we probably had one of the smallest incomes in the neighborhood but we shopped at dept. store sales, thrift stores, Goodwill, etc. and bought good USED cars. :)

They thought our friends in the same neighborhood were poor even though they had a very high income. They were both very busy with working outside the home and had little time for the upkeep and maintenance of their home (and it showed).

Anonymous said...

Great post!!! I shop at salvation army on 1/2 off days and I have the most beautiful clothes. I get my husband ralp Lauren dress shirts and polos that are in excellent condition for only $2.00. I am so blessed at this thrift store. I know some thrift stores the clothes really do look used and beat up but in my area I find such beautiful dresses and skirts. Also I have puchased some beautiful pieces of furniture at salvation army. Every time I go it is such a surprise what I might find. Just the other day I found 24 yards of white fabric for $3.50 for the entire bolt at salvation army and I made a beautiful shower curtain. Here is a tip don't use rings just shear on a rod and make 2 panels. Make the panels go almost to the ceiling, then put on a seperate rod a liner. This gives a luxurious look. I love to decorate and am so thankful God provides ways for me to do it for next to nothing. I am so excited about all this fabric. I might dye some of it and make a crown for my bed. Anyways I love your post and we homemakers can look beautiful have beautiful homes too all on a budget.

Anonymous said...

Here are a few hints and some luck I've had that I would love to share...

Once when I had company over and didn't have glasses to drink from, the visiting lady said they always drank from canning jars. That was a life saver, cause I had plenty of those!

We had a very good piano given to us from some dear friends. Our daugther now uses it.

I was able to pick up a big area rug, almost like the one shown in your photo, for $1 at a garage sale.

I have bought used towels and cut them up, sewed the edges, and made dishrags from it.

I have bought a queen size flannel sheet for around $2 at Goodwill and made lots of diapers from it.

A few times when I wanted a new dress for myself or my daughter, I would buy a huge one from the thrift store for a few bucks, cut up the whole thing and use it to make the dress. Saves bigtime!

Keep looking in thrift stores; you never know what you might find that you could not afford otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Here is a good money saving idea that my friend had. She used a large plywood board, and just bought the table legs, attached them to the plywood, and covered it all with a beautiful table cloth, and no one would ever guess it wasn't a fancy table underneath! I thought that one was so clever and definitely worth passing on.

Anonymous said...

Like Brenda we too have been told we must have spent a fortune on our home furnishings! We laugh, all are used. They were sound solid wood things that we redid if necessary and have had for years and years. Most went through all our children's growing years and still going strong. One is a table bought with 4 chairs for $5. We actually like shoppoing used stores better than new. Even if we had the money we like what we see at these stores better. The selection is not what you see everywhere. Your home is unique and your own. My curtains, material for home things and clothes, pots and pans even top notch knives for $2. $85 at the department store. These prices are not from years ago but this month. Yes some of the stores sell their used things rather high but shop around just like you do with any store. Others sell things lower...or the higher stores have sales or sales by the color on the tag is half off that week etc. Let your friends know what you are needing..or have to barter or give away. Many times people have things they want to get rid of that they would love to bartar etc. As was said have an exchange party with friends!

Mrs. Anna T said...

Very true, dear Mrs. Sherman. As I look around my living room, I see no new furniture. All was given to us for free, or salvaged. Yet whenever people come, they comment on how cozy our home looks. I have hand-crocheted covers on our armchair and sofa, and we have curtains that we got as a gift that make everything so nice and bright.

Oh, and we own a vacuum cleaner, but I don't use it. I prefer sweeping. :)

Anonymous said...

One more positive example of the importance of homemakers. There are currently 3 vacant houses in forclosure in our cul-de-sac. The houses look very sad and neglected and are beginning to become an attractive nuisance to teenagers in our neighborhood. The homemakers on the block are keeping watch over these homes as well as our own-picking up trash, sweeping the driveways and walkways, and chasing away the teenagers who see vacant sheds and back decks as ideal spots to hang out after school. The other day, I noticed water running into the street from one of the vacant homes and contacted the water company. Some teens had broken the main. Luckily, the problem was fixed before any damage was done. We are protecting our neighborhood with our time and care. We hope nice families will buy these houses soon.

Anonymous said...

I had to mention something here -- for years I have wanted an antique settee, but whenever I found one it was far too expensive and we could not afford it (we are talking something like $1000 and up). I suppose I could have charged it on a credit card, but it would have been very imprudent -- we keep one for emergencies only. I did not believe that charging it would be a prudent use of money.
But last week on Craigslist I found one that is upholstered in the exact colors I have used for my living room for a fraction of the cost. It was so beautiful. Moreover, the gentleman selling it was so pleased that a real person wanted his furniture instead of a consignment shop; he is willing to let us save the remainder required -- all cash transaction! And I get my settee! It's mahogany with beautiful carvings and newly-upholstered in the stain-resistant Dupont fabric just in case we have some spills (we have four small children and one on the way; this is "for good", but when we do let them sit on it, you know :-). I wish I had a digital camera; I would show you a picture! I love it!


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