October 21, 2013

Lesson 121: How I Learned to Save Money and Decorate My Home

Develop a plan. Narrowly focus. Have a mission statement. Set goals.

How easy to agree that these are smart ideas and yet, completely ignore them with small, seemingly insignificant details.

Is it relevant to have a mission statement for your home decor? Is it helpful to set goals pertaining to decorating? Seriously? It sounds a bit excessive.

This is something that people with too much time on their hands, have time for.

Friends, that's what I thought too.

I too went through life, haphazardly making purchases for my home, spending money on sale items that I didn't love, picking up yard sale scores that required too much work, and never, never, never being satisfied with my home!

Spur of the moment acquiring was not working.

Yet, I kept buying into the magazine's experts, "You want a fresh look? Buy a pillow!"

Buy a pillow. Buy a pillow! BUY A PILLOW!!!!

Y'all, I have a box of beautiful, wrong pillow covers. I spent a lot of money to fill that box. 

This is how they keep the decorating industry going. Their answer is always to buy more and more and more.

Replace. Refresh. Change. Update. This time it will work!

I'll tell you right now, this does not work!

This conclusion was not easily reached. I fought and fought and bought and bought. I was convinced that small, ok items would come together and create something spectacular, regardless of opposing evidence. 

Then, one day, I saw them.

I saw them, and I immediately fell in love with them.

I mean, I fell hard.

But, I could not afford them. I could not have them. They could not be mine.

I was crushed!

Oh how I wished that I could return all those random pieces of furniture, those almost right, but not quite right pillows, those inexpensive, but meaningless pieces of art, just to have the funds to bring these wonderful friends home with me!

I left the store and dreamnt of them for months.

Months and months.

I could not get them out of my mind.

And so, I began to save for them.


I made a decorating goal, and I began to work towards it.

That was in October. (Last October.)

I began to sell all the so-so items. Instead of immediately spending the earned money on another pillow, I saved it. I saved gifts. I saved random baby-sitting money. I spent less in other areas.

I kept saving.

I kept not buying.

Until graduation. Then, I was so excited and proud of Mark, I just had to spend some of the money on a perfect gift for him. By some, I mean, it completely depleted my savings. Oh well!

Providentially, I too received a few graduation gifts. And so, I bought them!

Two days after graduation. Seven months after first spotting them. They finally came home with me.

I didn't feel one bit of guilt. I was still in love. Five months later, I still am.

I love them, because they are beautiful.

I love them, because they are fun and interesting. 

And I love them, because they taught me to save.

They taught me to break the cycle of fast, off-the-cuff purchases. They taught me the concept of delayed gratification. They taught me to be thoughtful, intentional, and wise, even in something as small as home decor.

The discipline learned has effected the way I spend money in all areas of life from the rest of my house, to my wardrobe, to my children's toys, to my grocery list. Our family's spending has been revolutionized!

So, how do you save money and decorate your home?

Make a goal to only bring in items that you truly love.

Over time, your decorating task will be finished.

You'll love your home.

And, I promise you will spend less money.

Lesson Learned: Goal setting, even in and perhaps, especially in small life details, can help a person spend money with wisdom. 

P.S. I wrote this post before the whole Martha Stewart vs bloggers, "experts" comment. I had even italicized the word before it happened. I just think that is funny to point out!

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