How to Save Big on the Little Things (Part 2)

It’s fun to save money. One reason is because I take pride in finding a good deal and knowing patience equals dollars. Another reason it’s fun is because saving money sometimes means reinventing something.

1. Reinvent


In my last post, I talked about how I try to save money by keeping my options open and waiting for a sale. But another way I can save money is by reinventing an old item. Sometimes the investment of time isn’t really worth the financial savings, but if it’s fun, then the time investment becomes a way to relax.

My husband and I recently repainted our kitchen. I chose a blueish-aqua color, which contrasted really well with the cabinets I had just finished painting a dark brown. But blueish-aqua is hard to match! My kitchen cannisters looked out-of-place, but I didn’t want to let them go since they had been a wedding gift. I googled “how to paint glazed ceramic” and found I could paint them pretty easily and inexpensively. I took them apart, primed them with some old spray-paint, and found a nice matching acrylic and a clear sealer at Hobby Lobby. It was a fun project, and cost me about $10. I had enough paint and sealer left over to re-finish my utensil holder also.

2. Shop Off-Price Retailers
014I also wanted to replace my tired-looking hand-towels since my walls and cabinets looked really fresh, and I was excited to find a set of blueish-aqua towels at Burlington Coat Factory for $5. I love shopping at off-price retailers including Ross, TJ Maxx and Marshalls, because I can find really nice, brand-name items, usually half-price or less. I don’t need brand-name hand towels, but I like finding good-quality items for equal to or less than middle-to-lower-quality items. I also replaced some counter-top items at off-price retailers and found good deals.

3. Use coupons and rebates
083Besides painting, my kitchen make-over also included a new back-splash. My husband carefully tore out the old back-splash with a grout saw and mallet, preserving the wall behind it. Then we found a nice natural stone tile at our local home-improvement store. The tiles cost $11 per sheet and we needed 10 sheets, so we waited to buy our tiles and supplies until the “11% rebate on everything” was offered again. This rebate offer comes around pretty frequently at our home-improvement store, so we waited to make sure we got the most for our money. We also saved money not paying for installation, since hubby decided to impress me and figure it out himself (and he did an amazing job!).

Sometimes the fun of saving money is also about the memories you make as you go. I really love my new kitchen because now when I look at the back-splash I think about my husband’s hard work to make it beautiful, and when I look at the fresh walls I remember staying up late together painting them. And all the little extras like my painted cannisters and bright hand-towels remind me of the fun I had getting a good deal on something special.


  • Dave

    One of the great things about what you offer is that creative energy is transferable and multiplies. Inspiration from something as simple as repainting cookie jars might lead someone to imagine repainting rather than replacing an otherwise perfectly useful appliance, light fixture, or dinette set. God only knows but your reader can make the mental leap to consider something that for them seems radical except that you did it first. Inspired leadership produces creative solutions no one else imagined. On those wings a people soar. That’s why western cultures can rightfully boast of the greatest innovations. Repainting ceramic jars is part of that. Well done.

    • Awww, thank you for these kind and inspiring words!!!

  • I love this post!! I’m also a big fan of saving money, my husband and I are paying back his dental school loans so I try to take advantage of every opportunity I have to save. These are some awesome tips! I adore your canister makeover- I was actually thinking of getting rid of some similar but after this I’m totally going to give them a makeover 🙂 your backsplash is gorgeous! I also love how you’ll remember the sweet memory with your husband every time you look at it. In addition to the off-price retailers, do you like shopping yard sales too? I’ve found some pretty amazing things at yard sales around here!
    <3 Smitha

    • So glad you enjoyed the post and the make-overs! And I’m glad to hear you’re going to give some similar items a make-over yourself! I had a lot of fun with the cannister project, and I love them so much more than if I had replaced them. I was just thinking I should add a “part 3” to this post series and include “buy resale” as one of the points. Most of the resale shopping I do is at resale stores, but yard sales are probably even better deals!