Gobble, gobble. It's the sound of credit card machines every time I come within 50 feet of an antique mall or a Homegoods. I really need to take a break from shopping after this whole patio thang. I don't think I actually bought a lot but I SHOPPED a lot and am done. Done with a capital D. And broke. What started out as a simple project in my head resulted in a bit more spending than I had anticipated. Wow, that's never happened in the history of anything before!
And because I'm crass and indelicate let's talk about money! How pedestrian of me.
Normally I don't really "decorate" on a budget because #1 I just acquire shit over time which really isn't decorating because you can't force things to happen at the thrift store no matter how many times you pray to the trash gawds. And #2 I never have a large enough sum of money at one time to put towards one single goal (kitchen renovation excluded). But the patio seemed like a place that I could actually make habitable with a small sum of money and a short timeline.
It's like I put myself on a reality tv show where the contestant has $7, one month and a mediocre ranch house patio to make decent before the big reveal on her blog. Please don't vote me off of my own reality tv show I created in my head! Charlemagne can host.
When I added everything up I'd spent a little under $1000 on the patio project in the past few weeks. Honestly, that's a lot of money to me even though in real decorating world (wherever the fuck that is) it probably makes people chuckle before they drink their tea out of the gold-dipped skulls of former TJ Maxx employees.
But I don't live in 'real decorating world' I live in the real regular world where I enjoy buying decorative pillows but I enjoy saving for retirement more.
Okay and getting my hair highlighted. And going anywhere that has tacos... Obviously I have a very full life outside of design.
I had hoped to spend around $750 which seemed reasonable since getting furniture for free is a little harder than I imagined. The major things - all the furniture, seat cushions, lighting - actually DID make it in at around $800. It's the damn accessories that caused my wallet to vibrate every time I passed the outdoor aisle at a Tuesday Morning. How many lanterns do you need for your patio, Madame?
I use budgets more as guides rather than an actual envelope with $1000 in it because this ain't tv, y'all. I can spare an extra $25 on a lantern if it makes my eyes orgasm. It's the the 15 lanterns at $25 each that is where someone might fall into trouble. And serious credit card debt. Fortunately my credit card company sends out a band of angry ninjas with poison-tipped throwing stars if I start to spend that much money on lanterns so I'm safe.
Until I see a clearance aisle...
Accessory warning aside, the big takeaway from this little patio partio was that I learned that having parameters for myself made spending money easier. I KNOW! Sounds ass backwards.
Would I normally spend $100 on a cushion for a bench? I'm cheap as fuck so unless it's woven of unicorn hair, NO. Would I spend $100 on globe string lights when I could have bought white Christmas icicle lights at the Dollar General like I live at the redneck North Pole? Am I shitting monkeys that are shitting thousand dollar bills? DIDN'T THINK SO.
Giving myself permission to spend a certain amount of money in the beginning detached me from the money and decision-making became exponentially easier. This way I didn't have to agonize at EVERY purchase about whether or not this extra tea light was really really worth it. It may not have put any more money into an IRA but it did give me the shallow satisfaction of having an extra tea light that no one noticed accept me. Ahhh... because I'm worth it.
Even though I probably could have done with slightly less than eleventeen cushions and pillows, I like them all and don't regret any accessory decision.
But it wasn't all diamond-covered candle holders and silken ass cushions, my obsessive shopping proved quite frugal in some areas. I found 50 cent accessories at the thrift store; the West Elm white tables were used and abused and very cheap; my rug and some planters were even scavenged. I figured it all balanced out with that exhorbitantly expensive $25 lantern.
So if you're a tight-ass, terrible decision-maker like me (that's code for Virgo), don't be scurred of setting aside a chunk of money. Maybe you too could appreciate the lovely masochism of a restrictive budget and the joyous freedom to go apeshit within those parameters. For Dr. Who fans, I can say a budget is like the TARDIS - it felt bigger on the inside.
Or to put it another way, Mr. Grey is your budget and he will do great things to your wallet vagina.
Feel free to share your thoughts about working with a budget, decorating with money-shitting monkeys or your wallet vagina in the comments. I'm open and curious about what other pedestrians do with their money.
But please don't say anything about my vagina wallet being bigger on the inside - mixing metaphors is rude.