Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Magazines on a Budget

I decided to treat myself to a house magazine subscription for the renovation project to motivate and inspire me. Magazines aren't cheap though, especially house magazines, but fear not, a thrifty solution is at hand! You can save up your Nectar points or Clubcard points and spend them on a magazine subscription as a treat (or maybe a gift for someone?) see here for Nectar or here for Clubcard. Even better, Clubcard have deals on 10 popular titles at the moment, meaning you need even fewer vouchers to pay for your 'reward'.

I went for Real Homes, which is a bit out of my little house's league, but inspires me to try and get the look on a budget.

But having already read this month's Real Homes and after a long day at work, I found myself in the magazine aisle and happened upon Style at Home, which at £1.99 was far less bank breaking than most magazines. I thought I would give it a whirl and I am sure glad I did. Style at Home features people who spent a few thousand pounds on a kitchen renovation (not hundreds of thousands!) and suggests buys from Next, Wilkinsons, Dunelm Mill and other places I might actually afford to be able to shop. I would definitely recommend it if you need a bit of inspiration on a budget!

Any magazine suggestions that will inspire the thrifty renovation are most welcome, please!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Furnishing with Freegle

I love the idea that something you no longer have a use for can go to a good home and online communities Freegle and Freecycle are the perfect way to do this. You post a 'wanted' or 'offered' items and others can see your post and reply, simple.

Here are my ten top tips:

1. Be clear in your offered ad descriptions- detail the size, colour etc and also your location and when would be convenient for the new owner to collect

2. Most groups send a summary email everyday- sign up to receive daily digest emails, then you won't need to keep checking the website

3. Be quick! If there's something you really want, make sure the emails come through to your phone and reply as soon as you spot it- chances are if you want it, someone else probably does too!

4. When you reply to a post, be polite, succinct and flexible (nobody wants to read a long story about why you'd be the best person to have the item)

5. Be patient and be prepared to wait for replies if you post a wanted ad- it's bad etiquette to re-post wanted ads frequently

6. Remember that it's free- don't ask for anything ridiculous and be grateful for all offers you receive

7. Give and take- it's important not to just always browse the offers, but to give stuff too. I make a rule that for everything I receive from Freegle, I will post something too

8. Keep up to date- mark offered items as 'collected' and wanted items as 'received' to save your time and other peoples

9. Say thank you- it's always nice to drop someone an email afterwards thanking them for the item

10. Be careful- these online communities tend to be lovely, safe places, where people want to share what they no longer need, but think sensibly when agreeing to collect items and bring someone along with you, just in case

Here are some of the free things we've found for the kitchen at Thrifty Terrace:

And a slimline dishwasher, which is perfect for our small kitchen and a real luxury in our otherwise spartan home:

We have also given lots away lately, including our old bath tub, which I'm told is now being used on an allotment to grow carrots in!

Why not have a look- you'll be surprised at what you can find!