I've never lived in Scotland. I've visited there four times (and have come to the conclusion it's the most beautiful place on Earth), and when it comes to finances, there's no doubt I'm a Scot. (Hey, my paternal grandmother was born in Levin, so I come by it honestly.)
It's difficult to actually come right out and say I'M CHEAP, so I try to couch it by saying "I'm thrifty" (or if I want to sound REALLY noble, frugal). That said, you can't skimp on certain things in life, like useful appliances (dishwashers and laser printers immediately come to mind), and fresh fruits and veggies will always taste and be better for you than canned.
But when it comes to decor, well, I'm a skinflint. A big part of that comes from me hounding garage (tag) and estate sales for the past 12 years. See, I used to be a vendor at a gift/craft/antiques co-op. My specialty was "smalls." Stuff that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, both for me and my customers.
So it really bugs me when fru-fru New York City based magazines deign to share with their readers the secret to finding "real" bargains. Come on, can you even buy a bagel in NYC for less than five bucks? Then don't tell me an old lamp I can get for under $5 at a garage sale is a steal at some fancy boutique for just under $200.
Yes, I know that prices are a LOT higher in a large metropolitan area. So why don't these so-called experts hit smaller cities/rural areas looking for real bargains for their readers?
I've decorated a good deal of my home in garage sale finds. I bought a pine corner cabinet for $100; solid cherry end tables for $70; I've got a beautiful (still in the box from Blenheim Palace, England) reproduction Victorian tile tray for $3. Most of my bone china tea cup collection was purchased for less than $5 per specimen.
I've decorated the stairway down to my basement pub (complete with brass rails) with square plates. I refuse to pay more than $1 each (and have paid as little as 5 cents for some of them). Just last summer I bought a brass floor lamp with a nice shade for only $6.
My point: don't believe these magazines. Especially ones that tell you you can find bargains at flea markets. Forget them! I haven't seen a bargain at a flea market in over ten years. (Probably because all those editors of decorating magazines are willing to spend so much more than an item is worth.)
I gave up on Country Living and their ilk simply because the average reader doesn't have a million dollars to sink into decorating her house. They ought to change the names of these magazines and aim for their true audience: Country Living for the Stinking Rich, or Cottage Living in only 50,000 square feet!
Meanwhile, garage sale season is only a week or so away. What treasures will I find this year?
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