Thursday, July 6, 2017

Frugal Floor

I bought a magazine today.  I know, I know.  Buying magazines goes contrary to all of the frugal advice out there, especially when I can (usually) get it from the library for free (at my library, we can borrow last month's edition.  The current month's edition we can read at the library, but we can't borrow it and take it home). 

We were getting some screws at the Tractor Supply Store, and it was next to the register - you know that spot where they know you're going to impulse buy. 

And I did.

Fact is, I don't actually feel guilty for the impulse purchase.  First, because the magazine I bought is Mother Earth News Wiser Living Series, and the edition was titled "Guide to Living on Less and Loving It."  And, second, because even though most of the articles were things I already know or do, there were some tidbits that were valuable to me.

In particular, there's an article about lye soap-making (which, as it turns out, I could have read for free online :( ! ), and while I probably won't follow the author's soap-making advice or technique, it might encourage me to make some more of my own.  I have everything I need to make lye soap, including a great recipe, which I've used before, and it worked out well. 

There's also a great article about pruning standard-sized fruit trees for small spaces.  My peach tree will need to be carefully, but aggressively, pruned this fall, because it is growing too big for the space it occupies.  In the future, using the techniques described in that article, I could even add a few more fruit trees to my landscape - small as it is.

There was an interesting (in a not-useful-to-me way) article about how to save money.  It wasn't useful, because ALL of the tips were, what I've come to refer to, as the low-hanging fruit of the money-saving lifestyle changes.  The article recommended things like, making your coffee at home and putting it in a reusable to-go cup rather than purchasing coffee from a coffee shop, cutting the cable, and line-drying rather than using a clothes dryer.  Those suggestions are so five-years-ago - at least here at Chez Brown.

In fact, we've been pinching pennies in every place we can, and when the best advice I can get from the money-saving articles is stuff that I've been doing for a really long time, I start to think that I'm pinching my pennies a lot harder than most people. 

But it's not just about pinching pennies, because as every frugalista knows, in most cases, when one saves money, one is also doing something positive for the environment.  Take the above examples.  If I make coffee at home and put it in a reusable cup, I'm not creating more garbage.  If I line dry my clothes, I'm saving electricity. 

Being frugal is also very green.

So, when we started the renovation for our backroom, we talked a lot about how we wanted to do things, and, of course, the answer was as inexpensively as we could without compromising on quality.

Home improvement is expensive, and even just refinishing a room (new walls, ceiling and flooring), can be pretty pricey if one isn't careful.  We had many discussions and took a very long time finding our supplies. 

The first place we saved big was on the wall color.  Mr. Field and Stream has worked as a painter, and he recommended a particular primer, which is really expensive for just regular folks.  Thankfully, I was able to get it at the contractor's price. 

Then, there was the question of the wall color.  I found a great deal on "oopsy" paint at the hardware store.  The color on the lid looked like a beige color, which looked fine to me.  I bought two gallons of it for $10 each, and then, the guy at the hardware store gave me a third gallon of paint (different color) for free.  When we started painting, Deus Ex Machina read the color name.  It's "Golden Retriever."  Perfect for this household of dog lovers! 

Good quality flooring is exceptionally expensive.  We knew we didn't want carpet, and I hate linoleum.  I also didn't want laminate of any kind.  I wanted real floors. 

We knew we wanted tile in front of the door, because our farm is in the backyard - through that door.  Originally, the room was carpeted, and all of those years of coming into the room from the backyard with wet or muddy feet caused the subfloor to rot.  It was replaced and the door was moved.  We decided that to protect the subfloor and hopefully not have to replace it again, we'd tile it.

Deus Ex Machina found some tile for free on Craigslist.  It's my favorite style of tile.  I like the 1' x 1' size, and I love the blue color.  There's enough of it left to tile the small hall area between the kitchen and our office. 

For the rest of the floor, we decided we wanted wood.  Wood flooring is crazy expensive. 

So, instead of spending hundred$ of dollar$ that we don't have on the kind of floor we wanted, we decided to use reclaimed wood from pallets that would have been thrown in the trash.  Imagine all of that perfectly good wood ending up in a landfill somewhere. 

Not only will it look gorgeous once we're finished, but it also appeals to the recycler in me. 

We still have to sand it, seal it, and stain it.  Then, we'll be putting up a tongue-and-groove wood ceiling and building a custom frame for our bed ... and moving back into the room that we starting fixing going on four years ago.

There are a couple of other money-saving choices we made in the room that I'll discuss later - when we get those things put into the room. 

Of course, the absolute best part about moving back into the room will, actually, be discovering how much progress we've made toward decluttering. 

And I can hardly wait to see how empty our nest feels when everything is put into its place. 


  1. Great ideas! We used lots of recycled/free/used things over the years to fix up our house/yard. Brings out my creative juices!!! I love ME magazines :)

    1. We should trade notes. I have dozens of freebies I've used in my yard, too. I love DIY and making old things new again :).