Why I Rarely Buy High End Home Decor

September 12, 2017


You Get What You Pay For Doesn't Always Apply

I have never been one to subscribe to the "Bigger, Better, More" way of living. I am a simple girl at heart and am wholly unimpressed by extravagance and wealth. Like my grandmother used to say, there's no escaping it, you need money, it can bring you security and a lot of pleasures, but it won't buy you happiness.

I learned that the hard way when my father died at age 55. We didn't want for much, he had a thriving business and money to play with, but cash couldn't conjure good health.

However, like granny said, you can't really live without it, so I try to hold on to mine. I am a very frugal shopper and look for value over brand cachet. Why buy an expensive sofa or high end appliance, when a less expensive version will hold up just as well?

But will it?

That always seems to be the argument, doesn't it? Sayings like you get what you pay for and invest in quality nag at us. Of course, sometimes, they are true, but firmly entrenched here in middle age, I can say without a doubt, I am not a believer.

I have coughed up a lot of money and ended up with crap and paid next to nothing for items with fabulous results.

Especially when it comes to home decor. I have always believed and preached that you can create a beautiful home, that suits you, with very little money. It's not about how much you shell out for something, it's about value for your dollar.

Several years ago, I mentioned my countertops. Laminate is not a popular choice and let me tell you, my "friends" were quite vocal about it...I was putting in a cheap kitchen and I was going to regret it.

I used a box store to design the space, I bought Kraftmaid cabinets and discount pre-finished wood flooring for less than $3.00 a square foot. My kitchen faucet and chandelier were $99 each and my cabinet hardware was right off the shelf.

Oh, the horror. Who would do that??

I was told that nothing would last, I was making a huge mistake by not going custom and that I would never have a designer look with off the shelf products.

Well, it's been fifteen years since this kitchen was installed, I had toddlers then and teenagers now.

And it all looks exactly the same.

Yes, there have been a few paint chips on the cabinets and the floor has been dented from dropped cans. The soap dispenser broke on my faucet and I have had to replace a few lightbulbs, but the laminate is perfect and as far as a designer look goes, well, that my friends is in the eye of the beholder, is it not?

The ironic thing is that the only items we did spend more on, my dishwasher and stove, kicked after five years. So much for you get what you pay for.

It's been the same story with my furniture. Take crib shopping a million years ago, or twenty, every store we walked into promised us that their quality sets would last a lifetime. Well, that was great, but we only needed a crib for about eighteen months per kid, right? Oh, but you could save it and pass it down to future generations or keep it for your grandchildren. Really? Because we didn't use my sisters' kids' cribs because they didn't meet current safety standards. Defunct in less than a decade after purchase.

Oh ~ and the dresser/ changing table that would grow with them? Yeah, that no longer fit their needs when we moved into a larger home. It's in the basement now, holding my husband's yard work clothes. Glad we ditched the high end boutiques and bought their stuff at Babies R Us. Less than $300 for the set, it held up several times over and the room was still adorable. Amazing.

More?

We bought a kitchen table and chair set for under $700 back then and even the salesman tried to talk us out of it. He told us that it was a wood veneer top, that we'd never be able to refinish it (we did), that it wouldn't last (it has) and that the chairs would get soft and uncomfortable (they haven't).

Cottage Style Kitchen

I searched for a buffet for my kitchen and hit the thrift store after I refused to pay upwards of $1500 for one. For seventy-five bucks I walked out with a charming solid wood piece. Its simple style suits the room and when the shelf above it fell and dented it, it hurt a whole lot less than when my husband dropped a speaker on the pricey Crate and Barrel tv console in the family room.

Pine Buffet In Cottage Style Kitchen For Fall

A piece, by the way, that I will probably never replace...and not because I still love it, because I'm not sure that I do, but because of what I paid for it. I am stuck with that sucker.

My bedroom furniture is an antique set that I picked up at a garage sale, I've never paid more than $25 for a lamp, I'm not too proud to pick something up from the curb and I refuse to pay full price for anything.

Even my pool is a basic rectangle. It fit the style of my home and it was cheaper. There's no fancy shape, no rock diving board or waterfall, but you get wet just the same.

Of course, none of my thoughts are new. If you have been a reader for any length of time, you've probably heard me express all of this before.

So what prompted my little tirade today? Well. It was a pair of things really. First I went to fold my family room blanket and put it back on the couch when I realized the huge faded spot on it. Ugh. I received the throw this past Christmas and it was not cheap. It was over $50, when I normally wouldn't spend more than $16.99 on an accent piece like that. Throws are dime a dozen today and available in every discount home decor store from coast to coast and online.

Red Cotton Throw

But...

But I wanted an all cotton one in a very specific color and believe me, I looked for a long time. Like two years long. So I paid up.

Or rather my husband did when I put it on my holiday wish list.

However, it was not worth the price. The blanket I had there before was one of the aforementioned cheap versions. It was also 100% cotton, but that one took many years to show any kind of fading or pulling and the real reason I ditched it, is due to the fact that it was getting crunchy from the wash.

I doubt I'll have that problem with this one, because I'm afraid to wash it. It might fall apart. And the color will definitely run. I did not pay for that.

As these thoughts were racing through my head and I was stifling a few choice words through my clenched teeth, I received yet another email from a company that wanted me to featured their very high end products.

Clearly, they don't read my blog.

First of all, their catalog was lovely, but I didn't need anything. So that was a no right off the bat, but secondly, and more importantly, their prices were outrageous. I saw one item that was as much as the rent at my first apartment. I kid you not.

Yes, yes, but quality, I know.

Here's what I really know...I know that their products will not change my life in any great way just because they are more expensive...

...and that I will not be able to remove the stains that my teenagers inflict any easier than I can on the bargain ones...

...that they will most likely not last any longer than the ones I have now and paid less for, and that I don't need them to because I'm pretty fickle and in about a year, I'm going to want something fresh anyway...

...and finally that I could find look alikes for a fraction of the price and that their several hundred dollar throw isn't going to be any better than the faded one I have right now.

Yup, they were offering a throw.

Obviously, I politely declined.

So instead of a sponsored post, today you get my honest decorating advice.

Save your money.

Look for value instead.

Weigh your options, make purchases based on your personal needs and wants and think about how long you will realistically keep things.

You do get what you pay for, because very few things in life are free ~ but just because you pay more, doesn't necessarily mean you're getting more.

You can still have a comfortable, stylish home with pieces that will last and bring you pleasure without a high price tag.

Play it smart and the only thing that will be bigger is your bank account.

And isn't that better?

I bet my granny would think so.

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66 comments:

  1. I love this post. You said it perfectly - thank you!

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    1. Thank you, Betty. I just feel like there are better ways to spend a buck. 😊

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  2. I agree 100% with you. I want to add another item. Towels. I used to always buy the highest end towel sets. Yes, I have gotten my money's worth after years & years. But I'm tired of them. A friend's mother told her a long time to forgo the expensive towels for lesser ones, because you will want to re-do the bathrooms way before the towels wear out. Next ones I buy will be white to last me the rest of my retired life. I now prefer all white linens. My high end washer & dishwasher quit years ago. My lower end refrigerator is still going strong after 21 years.

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    1. You are so right, Mary! I still have the towels I received as a wedding present over 20 years ago. They are beautiful and monogrammed, a gift from my cousins and I love them, but it's nice to buy a few new pretties to match my changing decor. And I hear you with that fridge...same story! Thanks for sharing your stories with us! 😊

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  3. Me too. I told Hubby that I wanted to go to our local Restore store and find a new bedroom set and a hutch for the dining room. It will help us and help Habitat for Humanity.

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    1. Great idea, Betty, two birds with one stone! I love the thrift stores and around here they are a little pricey, but I too find solace in the fact that it's all for charity. πŸ™‚

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  4. Well reasoned and well said. Excellent advice.

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    1. Thanks Linda! I appreciate the feedback and I'm glad you enjoyed the piece. 😊

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  5. If you had charged money to read this post I'd say it was worth every penny. I LOVE some of the high end furniture but can't bring myself to pay that price. Your thoughts are exactly what I have everytime I need to buy something for the house. Great post! Thank you.

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    1. Debbie, you just made my day! I am so glad that you can relate and I really appreciate the time you took to comment and let me know. Thanks so much! πŸ™‚

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  6. Oh, Kim! Best post ever! I feel the same way. I have NOT paid full retail price on anything for years! My family makes fun of me all the time because if I see something I want at any store and I don't have a coupon with me, I just refuse to buy it. LOL And you are so right when you say sometimes you just don't get what you paid for. Years ago we bought one of those really expensive ($300) Kenmore vacuum cleaner from Sears and it lasted a year. Frustrated with the whole situation I went to Walmart and bought a $50 vacuum which I am still using today, five years later. Just because something is expensive doesn't mean it is good. Enjoy your dayxxx Maria

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    1. Thanks and that's so funny, Maria, my family gives me a hard time about the coupons, too! I can't tell you how many times I have walked around a store trying to get their coupons to load with my kids saying mom, just buy it anyway. Nope. Just can't do it! πŸ˜‰

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  7. Great post! I hate furniture shopping and we desperately need a new sofa. I want to buy a clearance sofa, but I can't convince my husband. Will keep trying..

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    1. Keep looking Maryellen, you may find one he loves! Good luck and thanks so much of the visit today. πŸ™‚

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  8. Great post . . .
    A gal who shares my heart . . .
    Just because "they" say it is "the best" . . . not always so!
    (We had our kitchen redone 15+ years ago and it still looks wonderful.)
    (We found a scrap piece of granite for our island, had it cut to fit our space, perfect.)
    I thank my Mister Irish for his keen eye and expertise!

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    1. Yes, I think that is what I am speaking of Lynne, discernment. Investigate and know what you are looking for. Of course, having an expert in the house helps!!

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  9. There are just lessons to be learned from this and some of them have to be learned over the years, I believe. I definitely do not spend much on accessories because tastes change and next year I might not want those things anymore. However, we've bought an inexpensive couch before and it was a big mistake. Within a couple of weeks the piping was all wonky and the cushions looked terrible. The couch we bought in 1994 (that we scrimped and saved for) still looks like new. We definitely need to pick and choose.

    I don't see how anyone could question your laminate counter tops. That's what everyone had for years and they last a lifetime. Your kitchen is beautiful! No mistakes there.

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    1. I totally agree with you about the sofas, Stacey. I think that's the main point I was trying to make, that you need to be discerning when making a purchase like that. Sometimes, a bargain is great, other times, maybe not. And thanks for your sweet kitchen comment! As far as laminate goes, I love it, I was looking for a certain style, not shiny and something that would fade into the background, but when we did them, granite was all the rage. I still love them and I guess that's all that matters!

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  10. Amen! I refuse to spend a lot unless it's something I absolutely love, which by the way never happens. Even our better furniture was given to us, bought on Craigslist, or on clearance. I'm not afraid to tackle refinishing or reupholstering. And going a minimalist route has saved more. Our house is beautiful and uncluttered and no guilt from spending so much money!

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    1. I like your style, Barbara! I wish that I had upholstery skills. I have a chair and a sofa with great cushions and good bones, but the fabric is starting to wear. It's way to expensive to have it done, but if I could do it myself, well that would be awesome! Thanks for weighing in today! 😊

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  11. Great advice Kim, and advice I totally agree with. I like your reasoning. Good thing you didn't listen to all those salesmen!

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    1. It's easy to get caught up in their pitches, Florence. I think I am just getting better at ignoring it in my old age! πŸ˜‰

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  12. brava!
    and in the end...
    i'm sorry to sound a downer perhaps?
    but... it's all just STUFF.
    either expensive overpriced quality or not.
    it's stuff.
    stacked up to love and fresh clean air and good simple food and the wag of a dog...
    it's stuff. and it's not that important in the overall scheme of life.
    love you old bean! xo

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    1. Exactly, Tammy!! Stuff...I say buy what you love and can afford and spend the rest on experiences! Thanks for the visit and hope you are well!! ❤️

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  13. I totally agree with all you've said here. And I've experienced it all at one time or another. The one that got me this time is about a company offering a product to review that is outrageously priced and not anything I would ever use. I fell for it once but now politely decline!

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    1. I think it's so funny sometimes when these offer come in, AnnMarie. I scratch my head and think, "Do you even look at one post to see what I'm all about?" Yikes!

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  14. I'm also with you.. I don't spend much money .. i always try to reuse things..

    Thanks for visiting my blog, and leaving a beautiful comment..

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  15. Preach it Kim! I am wholeheartedly behind you. I love all of my old worn out things more than I could something new because they also have sentimental value. Btw, your kitchen floor looks like a million bucks! And that buffet off the kitchen that is one of your trademark looks. Eternally stylish, practical and pretty, just like you.

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    1. Thanks so much, Mary! You are truly the sweetest! ♡

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  16. There are really wonderful furniture pieces out there today, because so many people want a more modern look. I'm frugal and I am not afraid to mix something new and inexpensive with something old. (I do have a thing for Anthropolgie dishes though. ) In regards to appliances, I don't think they make them very well anymore. The first home we had for seven years and everything worked perfect. The last home we had everything was going in less than seven years and it was the same brand, but a nicer aesthetic.

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    1. I mix, too and I think it adds such charm...and yes, those appliances. I bought a fridge last May and the repairman will be back tomorrow morning for a second look. Grrr...

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  17. Love your post Kim! I was duped in the past in buying something expensive to mean quality, but in the end, my walmart furniture lasted and looked just as well as my high-end pieces! And for a frequent redecorator like me, splurging on thousands of dollars on something I'd wanna replace a few years from now (or even months) does not make sense. On the other hand, I have a weakness for great art, fabrics and wallpaper and anything bag-related! LOL!

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    1. Oh Vel, yes, bags! I say invest where it makes you happy!

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  18. Great post, Kim. Pieces reworked from old to new fill my house and I love it. My expensive sofa is not holding up as planned. My stainless steel sink doesn't have any nicks in it and is still shiny after 5-6 years.. Anything more expensive than Home Goods mostly doesn't cross my doorway!!..Happy Wednesday..xxoJudy

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    1. Thanks Judy! Live and learn I suppose…like a lot of other things in life! 😊 Happy Wednesday!

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  19. Reminds me of my mother. She recently gave me her living room sofa and it's worth so much money the damn thing came with rules. We only sat on it once a year at Christmas when it was at her house, but I'm a use it or lose it kind of girl, so those rules aren't sticking, but boy did I get the run down of what I can and can't do with it or on it LOL

    Loved seeing you in the video!!

    xo,
    rue

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    1. Ha! Yes, that wouldn't work in my house either. If we have it we use and like you know, when you have teens they USE and ABUSE everything! Glad you liked the video...it was...different. xo

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  20. BEFORE I EVEN READ THE POST I LAUGHED AT THE TITLE )

    Why? Because unless you are among the super-rich or something akin to them, bascically you are going to have your kids and pets destroy your first set of furniture, etc. ...then you are going to try in the empty nest part of your life to rebuild/ re-do all of that, and then there comes the grand kids and it is rinse and repeat :) And KIM you have YET to live that portion of your life but I think that you are well prepared already :)

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    1. Deb, now you just made me laugh!! πŸ˜‚You are so right! About two years ago, my kids came to me and told me that we needed a new sectional sofa in the basement. The one we had was getting worn, they argued. Plus they didn't like the fabric. They requested leather. We of course told them no way. Well, about two weeks later, they showed us some funny videos they took of their friends...we watched the funny AND the kids (not mine) STEPPING on and over my couch with their shoes on, multiple times. Yeah...so no new couch and when and if we do replace it, it's a bargain sectional for sure!!

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  21. I was just having a conversation the other day with a friend about this very thing, i.e., 'quality vs price'. Her slant was the norm. That is, the more you pay the longer it will last. I, however, told her I've purchased both expensive and inexpensive items such as sofas and really didn't see much difference at all, so for me it boils down to comfort and style.

    I still have items that were given to me almost 35 years ago at my bridal shower such as farbwrware cookware, a cuisinart food processor and Corning white casserole dishes (although the later will not make the trip to NC with us, the others will). Appliances are simply not built to last long and the more bells and whistles they have the more likely something will go wrong.

    I rarely pay full retail. That's for suckers or people with more money than brains, and dare I say, little imagination. ;).

    xxx

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    1. Exactly, Doreen. I like your way of thinking! I have had the same experiences or seen it through the purchases my mom and sisters have made. Plus, I am way too fickle to invest in high priced accessories and when very expensive items get wrecked, I think it hurts more. πŸ˜‰ xoxo

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  22. Hi Kim,
    I agree sometimes buying expensive does not guarantee quality and long life. I learned this when I bought high end appliances. Nothing but trouble and service calls. So the next time I bought appliances I did not buy the high end and they were so much better. Less bangs and whistles to break. The only thing I ever bought high end was our sleep number bed. It really has paid off when it comes to a great nights sleep. Other than that I buy inexpensive especially since I change my mind on things and this way I have not put a lot of money into something I will grow tired of. Have a great rest of the week.
    Hugs,
    Kris

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    1. I totally agree, Kris. As a matter of fact, the refrigerator repairman just left my house. An electronic panel that controls the ice and water on the door kicked a year after we purchased the fridge...second house call in two weeks. Ridiculous. And a sleep number bed, huh? I have always wanted one since Mr. Snore keeps me up at night. I just want to raise his head and make it stop!! πŸ˜‰

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  23. I'm in your court Kim! I think the high-end pricey appliances for sure, have so much high-tech in them, that there is lots to go wrong, but the lower end appliances not having that, may last longer. That's been my humble opinion. Living in such a small house, I am very careful about what comes in too. It needs to last, and work well. I always enjoy your perspective, and I'm glad you ignored the offer of the high-end pricey company.

    Hard to believe summer is at its close, where did it go? Hugs!

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    1. In my experience, Marilyn, you are correct. More bells and whistles is just an invitation for more to break. So glad you enjoyed the post! Sometimes I just have to vent, but it’s nice to know I am not alone in my thoughts. And yes…summer has blown by too fast as usual. I hope you get to enjoy your garden a bit in the fall. It’s such a charming and cozy spot, I bet it will be that way with a little fire and a cup of cocoa too! Hugs to you!

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  24. Excellent post, Kim! And ha to your kitchen critics because yours is now one of the most viewed kitchens in blogland!

    I think the only thing we ever paid a lot for that we've never regretted is our custom made red leather sofa from Ethan Allen in 2004. Still love it and the springs are still as good as new. But I can walk around my house and point out a dozen favorite things bought at thrift stores.

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    1. Why thank you, Dewena! You just made me smile wide. ❤️ And a red leather sofa...well who could regret that!! Fabulous!

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  25. Agreed! As you know, we're redoing a big part of our kitchen and going with laminate again. I just love it and it lasts forever. We did splurge for the fancy edge this time, but it's still laminate. :)

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    1. Your kitchen and laminate countertops are some of the prettiest I've seen, Lisa and I just know the new counters will be fabulous as well.

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  26. Totally agree with you on all points. The only two pieces of furniture I will spend decent money on are a well-made sofa (so disappointed with our sofa from La-Z-Boy that is so uncomfortable and way too soft after only 11 years - and it started going downhill a couple of years ago) and a mattress. Don't even get me started on appliances! Two of our best working and longest lasting appliances are our oldest, cheapest ones - a dishwasher (which was handed down to us - it's lasted longer than the 2 new ones we had before that) and a washing machine (very basic - I didn't even want anything fancy) that we got refurbished for $175!

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    1. I think the appliances are the worst, Melanie. We had ones that came with our house, old as the hills and worked great. The new ones always have an issue...just had the repairman here for the fridge this week. Twice!

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  27. Yes, yes, yes! I love this! The couch we bought for our first house, brand new and would be easy to clean with water based cleaner and cost us so much money? My oldest girl threw up on it and we always had watermarks on it from the cleaner! And the arms were not padded right, etc....

    I too, am a curbside shopper, and willing to take hand me downs, buy from used stores, or thrift shops.

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    1. Oh no, Deanna. That's terrible, but it sounds like everyone has one of those stories...including me! And I love curbside finds, free makes me smile.

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  28. LOL....you are preaching to the choir in my case....the only new things we have EVER bought was a couch that is not holding up, a dishwasher that is impossible to load, and a gas range that quit "self igniting" in the first year :^0
    The rest of my good stuph was either hand made, handed down, or rescued from one junque heap or another!!
    Thank you for writing me a note of justification! I will print one for each kid to inherit while they are cussing my nice collection of "things".
    Blessings to you,
    J

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    1. That's funny, J and I bet my mom would've appreciated the same note of justification! And your all of your good "stuph" is a testament to the fact that they just don't make things the way they used to! Thanks for the visit. 😊

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  29. I somehow missed this post, but SO agree with it! In TX I had a newly renovated kitchen with granite counter tops. Within one year it was chipped. Here I have laminate and am perfectly happy. I would actually consider paying $700 for a dining room set TODAY pricey!
    Brenda

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    1. I agree Brenda, $700 is not cheap, and wasn’t back then either, but compared to say the furniture stores or Pottery Barn where a table alone is upwards of $1000 and the chairs are several hundred dollars each, it was a bargain. But no, in general spending $700 on anything is not a deal…unless it’s a Mercedes. πŸ˜‰ Ha!

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  30. Hi,
    Our oak table was passed down to us from my grandparents. I have my grandpa's old wicker chair. I also have a wicker chair my parents found me at an auction that I need to refinish. I think I shared that with you before. Anyhow, what I am trying to get around to say is, I agree with you!!
    As always, the way you write, it just makes this subject FUN.
    Love ya, Kim!
    Carla

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    1. Thanks so much, Carla! You are the sweetest and just made my day!

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  31. I too, am a frugal person, from the time my husband and I got married 43 years ago. Now, it's just in my blood, because now that we can afford it, I still refuse to pay high dollar for home furnishings. We do have three entertainment units in our home that was high dollar, but I think we have earned that right!! Most of my home furnishings are bought at flea markets & junk shops. I'm a simple girl too, and although I love a nice home, material things don't matter much. I am very easy to please, although I am very persistent, if I see something I need/want, I usually figure out how to make it myself! We have quite a bit in common I am quickly learning😊

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    1. Yes! I think that you need to choose what you want to spend on and what you don't...and I get a thrill out of a bargain. I love to create and I adore the hunt of finding something to relove. And yes, when I can't find it, I make, although you get the award for that with your gorgeous bedspread. I can't imagine a purchased one could look any better. ❤️

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  32. Well sir, I have absolutely enjoyed every single word of this post! I totally agree with what you have said and let me just say this, "YOU ARE MY KIND OF GAL". My granny would have said these words...."She's got more money than she does sense". LOL! That can be totally true! Hugs and blessings, Cindy

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    1. Thanks Cindy and it sounds like something one of my grandmothers would have said! Right there with "waste not, want not"...which is what I try to do! Have a super day!

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  33. I agree with you, I have always looked for an inexpensive alternative to decorate. Also let me say I think I fell a little bit in LOVE with you after reading your post!! Lol Don't Tell my husband! πŸ˜„

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    1. Haha!! You just made me laugh and smile, Linda! Thank you for the comment and don't worry, your secret is safe with me!! πŸ˜‰I hope you'll come back and visit again soon!

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