Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Little Ways I Like to Save Money

Hi friends!  Today, I was thinking about Christmas and Black Friday shopping and I just wanted to share the little ways I've been saving for these major shopping occasions.  I know, I know.  Christmas and Black Friday are more than half a year away, but there's no better time than now to start saving.  AmIright?

For starters, the most popular method I've used to save for Christmas shopping this year has been the 52-week savings challenge.  In this challenge, you save the amount of $$ corresponding to the week of the year.  For example, if this were the 11th week of the year, I would put $11 into my savings envelope and if next week were week 12, I would put in another $12.  If you are going to attempt this challenge this week, you could either start at week 1, put the sum of the 11 week total into the envelop, or start at week 11.  I like this challenge because it is simple, it creates a habit, and it's a challenge.  My goal is to touch $0 of this money until the holiday season rolls around.    Now, for those of  you high rollers out there who say $1378 (the final sum of 52 weeks of savings) is not enough for the holiday season, you can double or triple your savings every week to get double or triple the amount saved!  Simple enough, right?  There are a bunch of charts that people have made online, just google "52-week money savings challenge".

The following blogs have great 52 week challenge charts:

 Digit savings

I adopted my second way of saving from Budgets are Sexy.  On his blog, J. Money introduced Digit, which is a free service that automatically withdraws small amounts of money from my account based on my spending habits so that I don't notice when the money is withdrawn.  The Digit account is linked to my bank account and the company is FDIC insured.  I also like that I'm able to withdraw the money whenever I wish or close my Digit account if I'm not happy.  Throughout the week, I receive texts that tell me $0.48 or $10 has been withdrawn from my account, but because their system is, the only time I notice when the money has been withdrawn is when they notify me by text.  I also like that the frequency of text messages can be customized so that I can change how often they tell me what my balance is.  It's only been a month and Digit has been able to save me about $48 so far.  This isn't a whole lot, but it's $48 more than what I would have saved on my own without Digit.

The last way that I've been saving is by having a small % of my bi-weekly paycheck withdrawn and direct-deposited into a separate savings account so I don't even see the money.  This way, I don't have to remember to transfer the money and I'm saving without even thinking about it!  If you don't get direct deposit or you work for yourself, I totally recommend committing to paying yourself a certain % of your paycheck whenever you get paid.  Pay yourself before you spend!

For each of these challenges, I have placed deadlines for my savings goals.  This way I know when I can and can't touch the money and ensures I don't withdraw money prematurely.  I hope this post gave you some ideas!  If you save differently, I would really like to know what your methods are!  Let me know in the comments below!

[Share to Pinterest]

Thursday, March 19, 2015

My Latest Antique Faire Finds

The weather is warming up so nicely over here on the west coast and I'm loving it!  It's the perfect weather for antique faire and flea market shopping.  Who doesn't like picking through someone else's old stuff with the distraction of awesome food from various food trucks, kettle corn, and the challenge of finding the best deals?

If you didn't know, I live in California's Central Valley.  We are midway between the Bay Area and Sacramento.  Because of our unique location, I've been able to set up a schedule where we can pretty much go to an antique faire/flea market 3 out of 4 Sundays every.single.month.  It's pretty awesome.

If you haven't gone to an antique faire of flea market yet, I suggest you yelp or google some in the cities and towns close to you.  For us here in the Central Valley, this is the schedule I have come up with:

1st Sunday of Every Month:  Alameda Point Antiques Faire
2nd Sunday:  Sacramento Antique Faire
Last Weekend of Every Month:  Treasure Island Flea

The 3 that I have listed above are my favorite places to find unique pieces for my home.  Also, when I say "flea market", I don't mean the kinds where you can buy 10 packs of tube socks for $3 or a bunch of batteries for $2.  The Treasure Island Flea is the kind where artists make unique handmade goods  and crafters share their work.

Cell phone picture of Treasure Island Flea!
Now, for the good stuff... These are some of the amazing pieces I've found to decorate my home:

$20 pedestal side table

Milk Glass 

Grain Sack (that I'm using as a table runner)

Antique jars

Framed chicken wire

Awesome right?  Also, nothing pictured above cost me more than $25.  The deals at antique faires and flea markets can be awesome if you know what you are looking for and you know how much these items typically cost.  My advice for shopping at places like these is to keep an open mind and go in with a set budget.  I usually don't tell myself that I want to find a specific item when shopping at a faire because I want to be able to appreciate all the cool stuff around me.  I just make sure I tell myself I don't want to spend over a certain $ amount so that once I pass this spending limit, I stop buying.

For those of you who shop at antique faires often, do you have any advice?  What are your favorite places to find treasures?  Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Hunting!
[Share to Pinterest]

Sunday, March 15, 2015

DIY Tufted Foot Stool with IKEA Lack Side Table

I just made my unofficial reading corner in the living room a little more official by DIY-ing a tufted ottoman/foot stool out of an IKEA Lack side table!

Before I begin to tell you how I made my ottoman, let me rewind a little to explain to you how I got the idea to create this ottoman in the first place.  Early last year, I made myself a tufted headboard using screws instead of a needle and thread.  I liked my tufted headboard, but I didn't love it.  There were mistakes I made and little imperfections I saw that just drove me nuts.  So, instead of just throwing the entire headboard away, I decided to dismantle it and reuse the materials.  I will be reusing the wood to build my workbench and I used the foam and batting for this ottoman!

This is what the headboard looked like before I tore it apart...

Are you making the "yuck" face?  I know I am!  
Now, this is how I put my ottoman together.  I decided to use the IKEA Lack side table because it has been sitting in my garage for the last 2 years and it has the perfect dimensions for my green arm chair.

For starters, I screwed off the legs of the side tables and threw them away because I don't like the look of them and I knew they wouldn't go with the ottoman.

Next, I cut 3 inch foam down to size to fit the top of the table.  I used some spray adhesive to stick the foam to the top of the table.

Then, I cut 2" holes in an alternating pattern like you see below.

I covered the foam with batting and stapled the batting to the bottom of the table with my staple gun.

This is not one of my best pictures....but let's trust the process m'kay?
Once, the batting is attached to the top of the table, I poked holes through the batting, into the foam so that the 2" holes were exposed.  Finally, I centered my fabric on top of the ottoman.

The drilling part is pretty easy.  I assembled my washers and screw like so.

I started with the upper most left corner and worked my way outwards, making sure that the creases and tufts were just right before screwing the fabric onto the tabletop.

My tip for this step would be to make sure that the fabric is pulled taut.  Also, using your finger to push the fabric into the hole before screwing it in with the screw driver will allow you to see how the fabric will lay once everything is screwed in.

After you have created all of your tufts, go ahead and attach the fabric to the bottom of the table top with a staple gun.  Trim off the excess fabric.

For the legs, I purchased 4" decorative legs from Lowes and stained them using Walnut by Rustoleum.

This is the final product!  Tada!

This little foot stool is the best addition to my little ready corner because it prevents my short little legs from dangling whenever I try to sit in the chair.  I also wanted to try something different and screwed in the legs using angled plates.  I'm not too sure how I feel about the angled legs, but I definitely love the foot stool.  Let me know if you try this out or tell me what you think in the comments below!

This project is linked up to the The DIY Showoff:

[Share to Pinterest]

Thursday, March 12, 2015

RugsUSA Review

Do you guys ever stalk home decor blogs in search of inspiration and good home decor deals?  Well, if you said yes then I'm right there with you sister/brother/homie!  A while back I read a blog post by Liz Marie from Liz Marie Blog and she mentioned that her beautiful jute rugs were from RugsUSA.  She also mentioned how great their deals were.  At that time I checked out and did see 75% off deals on their rugs but I said to myself "Self, you don't need these rugs now.  Save your money and wait."  Well, I waited a couple of days and decided that I wanted the rugs, but guess what?    When I went back a few days later the sale had ended.  I didn't see the same deals anymore.  NOOOOOOOOO!

So this past President's Day when I received an email that they were going to have a 75% off sale again, I jumped on it.  I bought 2 rugs....

this one...

and this one...


Pretty right?

I was able to score both rugs for less than $200 total.  TOTAL!  For any of you who have looked at rugs, even jute rugs, you would know that they usually cost way more than a couple hundred bucks...for 2.

Overall, I love my rugs and they have stood up to my four dogs very well.  The quality is great and they don't look like they'd be worth less than their original selling price.  If you are in the market for a new rug, I would recommend just stopping by every once in awhile to see if there are any good deals.  If you do see a rug you like, I don't think waiting would be a bad idea either because they have these sales so often.  I also recommend reading the reviews before purchasing the rugs because the comments about one of my rugs being very dusty was actually pretty accurate.

Now you might be wondering if I'm getting sponsored or paid or compensated in anyway for this post, but I'm not.  I wish, but I'm not.  I just wanted to tell you about some good deals this company has to offer and I really do like the sale prices of the rugs on this site.

Because this is a review, I also have to tell you guys about my gripes.  For starters, the Chunky Loop Rug collects dust like a crazy.  I don't know if the dust was already trapped in the fibers and it fell out when I unrolled the rug or if the rug just collects dust, but I know I'll probably have to sweep under this rug at least once a week.  Then, there was a little shipping mishap for one of my rugs.  This has very little to do with (maybe it does?) and a lot to do with UPS, but my rug was shipped to my neighbors house and my name wasn't on the shipping label so they weren't sure which house it belonged to.  Thank goodness I have awesome neighbors who recognize my style and asked me if the rugs belonged to me before asking the UPS man to take it back.  That would have sucked!

Look at the braided detail!

Overall, I really like  Shipping was relatively quick, the quality of my rugs are great, and the prices can't be beat!  I'm already looking at their site for a dining room rug and I can't wait until I spot another great deal.  Where do you shop for your rugs and what's the average you would expect to spend?  Let me know below!
[Share to Pinterest]

Sunday, March 8, 2015

My Experience Building a Console Table

If you follow me on Instagram (@mylifeonelizabeth), you would have seen a picture of the console table I built following the Rustic X Console Table plans from Anna White.  This is the console table I built:

I made small modifications to my table because I forgot to add the X's to the sides.  Instead, I used 2x2's to finish off the side edges.

I love the table!  It's the perfect size for my entryway and provides the adequate amount of storage so the tabletop doesn't look too cluttered.  I also love that because I built the table myself out of real wood, I know the construction is super durable and I was able to stain the table to whatever color I wanted!

The cost of supplies for my console table came in at about $130, which is cheaper than console tables I can find at most big box stores.  The plans provided by Anna White were definitely easy to follow and should be read over once or twice before starting the build.  The most tedious part of the project was cutting all of my wood pieces with my miter saw, which took about 2 hours.  Other than that, attaching the pieces using my Kreg Jig Jr. and pocket screws was really easy and is definitely do-able for a beginner.

  • I recommend having at least a couple of clamps on hand to use with the Kreg Jig and to help you hold the pieces of wood flush against each other so that it's easier to screw them together.  
  • Take your time picking out your pieces of wood to ensure that they aren't bowed because that would definitely affect the construction of your console table.  
  • You'll also need a good orbital sander so that you can smooth and even out the surface of your console table before staining and/or painting.  
  • Remember to always work safely and wear protective gear!  
  • Become familiar with your tools before tackling any project to ensure that you are using them correctly and safely to prevent any injuries! 

If you have thought about building your own furniture and you want to invest in some new tools, I highly encourage you to try building this table.  I was able to do it by myself and you can too!  The only time I would discourage you from attempting this project is if you don't ever plan on building another piece of furniture ever again. If this is the case, then the investment in all the necessary tools might not be worth it if you don't already have the tools on hand.\

If you want to build something for your home, I encourage you to check out Anna White's website if you haven't done so.  There are collections of awesome pictures of other readers/bloggers who have built the same projects.  I would love to know what your first building experience was like in the comments below!
[Share to Pinterest]

Thursday, March 5, 2015

How I Set Up My Drink Station

Remember a few posts ago when I mentioned that Spring is coming?  Well, folks, Spring will be here in about 2 weeks!  You know what that means right?  It's time to do some Spring cleaning, or in my house, Spring clearing.

One of the most "done" and yet un-done areas in my home is my kitchen.  I completely remodeled it and everything is shiny and new, but my main focuses for my kitchen are optimal functionality, organization, and of course cleanliness.  As you can see in the picture below, my kitchen didn't look like it was organized, clean, or functional.

A part of the problem?  I lacked countertop space and if I had just put 1 or 2 items on my counter, the kitchen just looked cluttered.  I also had a wall on the other side of the kitchen that just wasn't being utilized.

I was using the area for my dogs' food and water, but realized it was such a big waste of valuable wall space.  Once I realized that the lack of countertop space was the main issue, I decided that if I moved my Keurig, Ninja blender, and microwave off the counter, I would be regaining a lot of that precious real estate.  So, this is how my drink/microwave/blender station was born.

The table is actually a console table from Cost Plus World Market that I used as my entryway table.  Because I built another console table for my entryway, I decided to reuse this one in the kitchen and it actually fit the length of the wall perfectly.  It was meant to be, you see?  The wall shelf was actually a DIY up-cycle project and works great with the space.  I need to work on decorating the shelf, but I just like knowing that it's there for extra storage if I ever need it.

I love that the table gives me so many storage options.  I use the drawers for my K-cups and boxes of tea bags.  The bottom shelf on the table also gives me a place to put my water bottles and I love how organized the bottles look!  Now, realistically, my blender won't be utilized on this table, but its a great place to store my blender out in the open so that I can easily reach for it when I need it. Personal fact:  I'm really short so anything lower to the ground is better than being higher on a second or third shelf!

This is a shot of my counters now!  Isn't there just so much more space to work with?  Yes, there is still a whole rack of mugs right over there in that little corner, but that's only because I have an unhealthy obsession with mugs and I like to display them!

Clearing up my counter made my kitchen way more functional and also gives me less anxiety.  Before I set up my drink station, I was constantly stressed out about cleaning and organizing my kitchen every time  I used it because I felt like I just didn't have enough space.  Now, I still clean and organize my kitchen every time I use it, but I don't feel as stressed about it and I can actually spread out my ingredients while I'm cooking or baking.  If you have space for a drink station or just a makeshift island in your kitchen, I would totally recommend putting one together!  This little project of mine was an eye-opener for how some spaces are/aren't being utilized optimally in my house.
[Share to Pinterest]

Sunday, March 1, 2015

My Colorful Front Door!

Do you ever look around your house and feel like something needs a little more pizzazz or it's just lacking a little personality?  Well, the other day, while I was putting my new entryway table together, I realized that the interior part of my front door was a plain ol' white.  Just...white.

After looking online and seeing so many bloggers paint their doors black, I realized my door needed just a little more personality.  I wanted to make a statement, but because my living room/entry way is so small, I didn't want to paint it black.  Instead, I decided to use some teal-colored paint by Valspar that I bought last year for another project.

This is what the door looks like now!

BAM!  It's suuppppeeerrrr bright and I thought about stopping midway through painting the door but just decided to commit to it.  It was such a drastic change so I gave myself a few days to see if it would grow on me, and it did because I LOVE IT!  It's a perfectly bright door and adds so much more personality to my little living room.  Have you ever wanted to paint your door a bright color?  Would you buy a house with a bright-colored door?  Let me know!

[Share to Pinterest]