I knew that I needed a home that both invited my creativity, and welcomed others into my home. A home that said “there is peace here, come in and lay your burdens down.” A two fold problem remained. I have made a commitment to live simply and I don't have a lot of money.
My solution has been something I term thrifting. It is the practice of limiting the amount of money I spend on a single object (under $20.00 if it is not furniture) and finding things I love to include in my home.
This has been a great time for me as and so much fun. Sometimes friends go with me, and then it becomes a great social event too.
I go to any of my local thrift stores. In my small city we have four Goodwill stores, St. Vincent DePaul, the Humane Society, the Union Gospel Mission, Teen Challenge, Value Village and several others. There also some great antiques stores I love to wander in. Garage sales usually have the cheapest prices and sometime you can even get the person down in price.
There is a secret to doing this and feeling good about it when you get home.
1) Decide on the themes for your home before you start your shopping. You might even take a picture of the area you want to decorate with your cell phone.
2) Decide on what you are able to spend with out feeling any quilt. As I said before I never spend more than $20.00 on an item.
3) Remember even thrift stores often have sales, percents off certain color tags and other great ways to save. Goodwill has shopper reward cards and an online site. I just got enough frequent shopping points, combined with a 50 % off color tag to get a very nice painting from Good will for nothing.
4) Know what the item would sell for new. Sometimes you will find that certain items are overpriced. I often find that with large paintings and vases.
4) Take measurements with you Just tuck them in the corner of your purse. I suggest window and furniture sizes and room sizes if you are looking for floor covering.
5) Research ways to reuse items. Some of the best women's magazines; Better Homes and Gardens, Good Housekeeping, House Beautiful and more, have free websites with wonderful ideas along with how-to's and recycle ideas.
6) Don't be afraid to change your decor. I often pull down my entire decor (except pictures and painting) when seasons change or whenever I get something new I want to make a new focal point..
7) Love collections but limit them. Unless you have the kind of space to have lots of shelves for display, be very picking when choosing that new item for your collection. I collect rooster and chickens for my kitchen. However, I only have a few, because each must be unique on some way.
I have a small apartment but everyone who comes says they love it, and are very comfortable here. It is even kid friendly as most of my breakable things are displayed out of reach. I am never done, and that is the best part. Good luck thrifting and please feel free to email me with your favorite finds.
Email me at glendalee2585@aol.com for pictures of my favorite things.

Author's Bio: 

I was the mother of six and money was always an issue. Once my kids were grown and gone, I had a little more money, a little more time and a lot more autonomy. Decorating my apartment has become one of the joys of my life and I love budgeting for it everyday.