Starting Over on a Dime
Change is good. Moving sucks. It just does. It’s expensive, exhausting and did I mention expensive? I moved my family from Vancouver to Victoria a couple of months ago. After living on top of each other in a teeny 2-bedroom apartment on the mainland we were excited to move into our spacious, 3-bedroom townhouse in pretty much the best co-op ever. We left a lot of stuff behind to save money and space in the moving truck. Fresh start, yeah! So, we loaded up the baby, the teen and all our remaining worldly goods and crossed the water to start a new life. It was a smart move, but a costly one. After paying the movers, ferry fare, co-op shares and first month’s rent we were broke. Broke but unbowed.
You see, I had big plans for our new home. I’d been dreaming of a vintage-inspired space furnished with quality pieces and I wasn’t about to let a couple of empty pockets ruin everything. And so, after some intense shuffling, juggling and pilfering I managed to secure $500 to furnish and decorate our new home. That’s a teen’s room, a nursery, a master bedroom, dining room and living room all for the cost of a new La-Z-Boy recliner. I was going to have to make a dollar dance. Hard. Like, Footloose hard. I knew I’d get more bang for my buck shopping second-hand and with kids at home, I’d have to conduct the bulk of my search online. This is when UsedVictoria.com tapped my shoulder and asked to cut in. This is also where the dance analogies end. I promise.
I hadn’t heard of UsedVictoria.com before my brother-in-law started sending me links to stuff from the site. Great, cheap stuff! Within an evening I was hooked. I set up RSS feeds and email alerts and I downloaded the Usedeverywhere.com app for my iPhone. I was determined not to miss a deal. Sleep, I could do without. But not that perfect velvet, raspberry, polka-dot sofa! Perhaps this is a good time to reveal I have a slightly obsessive personality… Anyhoo, my mild dip into mania paid off. In two weeks I scored the following:
- captain’s bed (free delivery!) = $125
- crib & mattress $50
- sofa & love seat (free delivery) = $125
- vintage solid wood, dining room table, hutch & 6 chairs (delivery $25)= $175
- glider (FREE)
- dishwasher (FREE) + an awesome handyman to install it
- new duvet cover & pillow cases = $15
- unpainted wooden bird candle holders = $3
GRAND TOTAL: $493 (note: some prices were negotiated – shrewd!)
Come on. How good is that? And I came in under budget allowing me to splurge on some red paint for my beloved bird candle holders. The dining room set is my favourite find. It’s beautiful, solid and the table came with two leaves. I can easily imagine my family gathered around it for many years to come. It was also very cool meeting all the sellers. From the empty-nesters who were finally letting go of their newly married daughter’s captain’s bed to the young couple wanting their grandfather’s dining room suite to go to a family instead of a reseller – these used items came with stories. You won’t find that at Ikea.
What’s next? I like a challenge, so I’m going to attempt to finish our semi-finished basement using only free items. I’m in no rush. I will set up my feeds and alerts and bide my time. In the meantime, I’m throwing down the gauntlet! What can you do with $500? $250? Less? I’d love to see you make that money shake it.