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Saving Because We Can

I had a great conversation with a client this week about saving money.  Not necessarily because we have to, but because we can and should.  The conversation came out of a discussion about the lifestyles us 30-somethings think we need to lead.  The interesting part is that as this "younger" generation, we have a growing entitlement to live like our parents do, have the stuff they have, the big house filled with nice furniture, the nice cars, etc.  Even more interestingly, we think we should be able to acquire all of these possessions through a few years of hard work, when realistically, our parents worked a lifetime for what they have now (and are often still more money-conscious and penny-pinching than us!)  I think about my own "standard" of living.  I don't consider myself to be an outrageous spender, but I will splurge once in a while on things my mom would never consider dropping that kind of money on.  I was with her when I recently dropped $27 on a blush (with a name that makes you blush!), and she thought I was ridiculous to spend that kind of cash.

Part of me agrees that it's ridiculous, but a bigger part of me thinks "I deserve it", and allow myself to become a member of the cult following that "needs" these products.  How does this kind of spending come into play when it comes to our own homes?  I think its easy to get carried away and think everything needs to be brand new and shiny and perfect, but when we sit back and take stock of what we have, and what it would take to live a modest and less-expensive life and still be over-the-moon happy with our surroundings, I think we would be pleasantly surprised.  There are many creative people out there who pinch pennies, spend wisely, and still end up with a beautiful result.  I admire these people, and hope to learn from my past splurges and realize that new/expensive isn't always better.


This light fixture just about blew my socks off.  Britt at Gus + Lula came up with this beauty, and you can click here for her great tutorial.  It looks beautifully expensive, and it only cost her $35.  Brilliant.

While you're over there, check out her hand-painted "wallpaper".  I've been paging through wallpaper books for months trying to decide what to do for my front entry.  I was about to give up and succumb to the fact that I would have to pay at least $75 for a double roll to get what I wanted.  Since seeing her beautiful transformation again, I've decided to do something far less expensive, and although it won't be as stunning as this, I'll be happy with my choice.

 I've posted here about this kitchen, and the amazing before and after transformation that took it from drab to fab.  Although this looks like a major overhaul, the genius homeowner kept all of the existing cabinets, plumbing and appliance locations, etc., which was a huge savings.  The end result is outstanding without being an extravagant over-the-top overhaul.

I'm sure you've seen this beauty from Isabella & Max Rooms. Janell is pure genius at well-executed, expensive looking DIY projects.  This upholstered headboard is no exception, and I can just imagine what you'd pay in a designer showroom for something like this.  See the whole tutorial here.

But don't stop at just the headboard, how about an entire DIY bed!?  This was done by Camilla at Effortless Style, and the work her and her husband did to pull this off is nothing short of impressive.  Definitely the look for less, and they did a wonderful job creating the high end bedroom retreat they were after.  Check it out step by step here.

I could literally spend hours posting all of the projects I've found that have been done by creative people who pinch pennies but still turn out projects that look like a million bucks.  To say the least, I'm inspired to look at what I have, and see the beauty and potential in existing items instead of thinking I need to buy new.  These photos and projects show that it doesn't have to look "homemade" and cheap to be cost effective and savings-conscious.


Sarah said...

I totally agree with you though I am older than you, I do think people spend frivolously sometimes. I rent my house and really wanted to wallpaper but decided on 'Urban Walls' on Etsy...they have great designs that are stickers - easy on and off for rentals. The designs LOOK like wallpaper and it only cost me about $40. I will only do one wall as a feature, but it will still help me redecorate the room. :))

The Starr Family said...

Oh Kristen... the subject that arises all too often in our household. The hubby and I are all too guilty of this, when you are raised in a certain lifestyle, you tend to assume it continues as an adult... but there is contentment in not having, not allowing yourself to feel the pressure of maintaining a standard. We treat ourselves to small indulgences and skimp on the next want that pops up. My dear, its like a brownie on a diet... cave to the cocoa once in a while to maintain your girlish smile.

Anonymous said...

It is shocking to my 20-somethings ear to hear a 30-something say the things that I have felt since 19! I live in utah where kids get married at 20, drive nice cars, buy (fairly - if not brand new) nicer homes than most of my adult relatives have and wear all the latest fashions to boot. It is refreshing to hear people bring this to light that we can't have overnight what it took our parents decades to achieve! Sometimes I want to put a tatoo on my forehead that says "We aren't POOR! We are just living within our means!" Love the highlight on fabulously done DIY. :)