My 5$ Yard Sale Table Transformation: Lessons in Frugality

Table refurbishing in steps. Prep, Tile, Finish.

I consider myself to be a frugal person. I make almost all my meals at home, and I try to buy used, I get water at restaurants and never get the most expensive thing on the menu, I even cloth diapered. I love the value. If I find a good deal, it makes whatever I get that much better to me. Take this table I found at a yard sale, I had been recently looking online at entry tables and found them very expensive for what you could get. I refused to waste my money when I am handy and have done a lot of little projects like this; I enjoy them. I knew I could buy all the pieces and would get it done rather than have an old broken table sitting in my garage for months till I threw it away. I also had a little mission:

Last fall I was sitting on my computer much like I am doing now, in a comfy house dress with bare feet, it was the middle of the day, and my kids were napping. I heard a clatter outside my house and stepped out onto my porch expecting to see a stray cat and instead stepped into the scene of a crime. There stood a man, he looked to be in his early 20s, but he could have been much older based on the wear on him, he had a black dolly next to him, and he was holding a package of the tiles we were using in our most recent remodel. Here is where I learned my instant reaction is to fight not flight. I started screaming and started after him. The minute he saw me, he yelled some obscenities and dropped a whole package of my beautiful tiles on the ground. I chased him barefoot into the street as he ran and jumped into a waiting truck and his accomplice peeled away. I got the license plate. Those broken tiles are the ones I used to mosaic my new table.

My table took quite a long time to build, getting materials, several stages of work, it likely was not a cost effective task, when factoring in time. Had I hired someone they likely could have done the job better than me. However the intangible benefits were strong, I made that table a symbol of lemons to lemonade, and I enjoyed the process and letting my children help. If anything it was a character building experience. Maybe I’ve got it wrong and I should be in the table refinishing business, and instead of being the first thing you see when you walk into my house I should sell it.

Money Strategies, what blend are you?

A penny saved is a penny earned:
Everyone has heard about how that 4$ coffee you buy every day adds up over the year to over a thousand dollars, right? I am all for this as long as you are only diverting things you can do without in your life, and saving for things that matter to you. Your time is money, so it needs to be factored into how much something is costing you to the get the benefits. If you can do something but would make more money doing something else, you are losing money doing something yourself. There was a time I got really into mom blog giveaways and sweepstakes. I just loved the free stuff I would get in the mail, however, after a few months of this I tallied up an average hours spent scouring for giveaways and entering them. Then I looked at the monetary amount of everything I won, including the things I would have never had bought if not for them being ‘free.’ After a little math, I found that I was working a 5$ an hour job. While not my wisest move in life, it was, however, fun winning prizes!

Spend money to make money:
There is truth in this statement, but it must be moderated. This statement is mostly used with the entrepreneurs. The catch is with any business ventures there are a lot of risks. The risk that the business does not work out or that you fizzle out before the idea even comes to fruition. I have had several business start-ups end up in a box in my storage. The main thing that will make your business succeed is you, try to scale yourself slowly up especially if you have never run your own business before. You don’t need to start out perfect or doing everything at once. Ease in, see if things you are spending are getting are getting returns, then move up.

Money does not matter to me:
There are those who just do not think about money all that much. This is, where the do what you love, and the money will come movements live. Money does not make you happy. Live in the now not in the future. I have to admit some of the best times of my life were those that I did things completely irresponsible just because I wanted too. In fact, in all my world travels I would say the poorer the people, the happier they were in general.

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