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Chelsea talks about where to invest or skimp in your home. Looking for budget decor tips? Check out this video:

The Financial Diet blog:

Chelsea: Hi, I'm Chelsea from The Financial Diet and today I'm going to be talking about something that actually a lot of you have asked about, which is when it comes to starting a home, what do you invest in and what do you buy cheaply? Now obviously the question of where do I invest and where do I save a little money applies to everything from your wardrobe to how you travel to how you outfit your own, but today we're going to be starting a little narrow and just talk about home stuff, building the perfect home. Now we're going to assume that, like us, most of you are probably renting right now, but most of this will apply to home owners as much as to renters and it's really just about making the best of whatever space you have. 

So to get some expert advice on this subject I spoke to my own mother, who in addition to being a career house flipper and former interior designer, is also extremely good cook and savvy homemaker so she's sort of like the Martha Stewart if Martha Stewart cursed like a sailor. And she shared with my all of her tips about where to invest and where it's okay to be cheap. So let's start with the general, overall advice for your entire home. Now her first and biggest rule is to never pay full price for anything for your home. Pretty much everything you can think to buy for your home will either go on sale at some point or you can find it at a wholesaler or a discount store or even a thrift store. Things like cookware and furniture aren't like fashion where it goes quickly in and out of style and you have to worry about being "in season." A pot is a pot and you can wait to get it cheaper.

Her second overall rule is to purge your rooms, each of them, twice a year. Just go through quickly see what you're not using, what's broken and needs to be repaired, or what is just causing clutter. Her third overall rule, which really applies to furniture, is to buy things based on functionality, but be prepared to change them cosmetically. For example, if you find the desk that's the perfect size and shape and in great material, but it's the wrong color. get it, but then sand it, paint it, and maybe change the fixtures. As soon as you get used to the idea of not accepting things exactly as they come, your options explode.

Now her last overall rule for buying things for your home it to live there for a little while before you decide what you need. You get the absolute basics, but the rest you buy as you need it, especially with things like the kitchen. You get your basic flatware, your basic pots and pans that you'll know you'll need, but then wait and see what you actually run into a need for before you go out and purchase everything. Otherwise, if you start backwards and just buy a bunch of stuff for your kitchen, you're going to be left, like a lot of us, with stuff you absolutely never use. 

So the next category of things for your home is furniture and you might think that furniture is really the place where you need to spend a ton of money, but that's not always true. First of all when it comes to furniture, especially high quality furniture, you should never be paying full retail price. For things like big ticket items, you should be looking at things called demo sales, which is where they often sell all of the designer showroom stuff at a tiny fraction of the price. Discount stores and even things like state and thrift sales. The second rule for deciding what furniture to invest in is that it's way more about the material than anything else. What you should really be looking for to invest in is material that's gonna last you a long time. It may not end being the most costly thing, but what's important is that you buy good materials that can last possibly even a lifetime.

You should be focusing on things like wood, leather, and metal and really staying away from things like particle board and melamine and other "knocked down" furniture because even though they're cheap in the moment and like the name says, the second you move, you literally have to tear them apart and throw them away. Now when it comes to places like Ikea or other affordable furniture stores you really want to think about 2 things for what you're buying there. Are they either a) a really good material that's definitely going to last or are they b) what my mom calls "little ingenious things" such as, you know, a little shoe rack by the door or you know little storage things for your bathroom. Basically things that make your life better day to day, but that you don't have to worry about taking with you because keep in mind Ikea might not be the most fancy place, but they still have plenty of great solid wood furniture at great prices. So again it's not about where you got it it's about the materials and how long it's going to last you. 

Now lastly for furniture, when it comes to sofas, some people will tell you to spend all of your money on a good sofa and some people will tell you the opposite. My mom says listen to your lifestyle. Do you spill a lot on your couch? Do you frequently have people sleep on it? Do you have people over on it a lot? Is it something you plan on taking with you? Are you planning on moving soon? These are all factors that will decide what is the right price point for a couch. If you're really settled and have a guest room and are very delicate about your couch you can go ahead and invest, but if you're still a little messy with your couch and frequently have guests on it probably not. 

Next is your kitchen and when it comes to buying for your kitchen what's important is that you start at the holy trinity of stores, which is industrial kitchen supply stores, discount places like TJ Maxx or HomeGoods, and thrift stores. Now a place you definitely want to be investing is a good set of pots and pans. Paying more up front will get you pots and pans that could last you honestly decades. But if you can't afford a set all at once, and they can be very expensive, what you can do is just get, you know, your cheap-o sets that you use day to day and once per year invest in one pot or pan, one piece, that you can get individually at theses discount stores and add to your collection. 

Another place to definitely invest is in good knives and obviously if you're buying a set you probably don't want to go below $100 for that set, but you can also buy knives one at a time if you need to. And don't forget when you're investing in your good knives, they're pretty much useless after awhile unless you buy something to sharpen and maintain them. Now one basic kitchen appliance that you'll definitely want to invest a little bit in is a good food processor. It serves tons of different purposes and if you get a little more expensive one, it will last you for decades. Another place to invest is in a few good wooden cutting boards because wood is naturally anti-microbial and just will last you a very long time. Plastic unfortunately is like, as my mom would call it, a breeding ground for germs, so something you want to avoid in your kitchen if possible. And don't forget when you're getting a cutting board to get a separate one for raw meat because you don't want cross contamination.

And now onto the good news aka what you can buy for your kitchen on the cheap without feeling guilty. So first of all anything made out of fabric, which includes pot holders, oven mitts, dish towels, fabric napkins, anything like that, get it cheap because it's gonna get disgusting. Now all of your day to day flatware, silverware, stemware, all of that get cheap because you're gonna break it. Now as far as appliances you can feel good in buying cheap, crock pot. It shouldn't cost you more than like $40 and that's even kind of a nice crock pot and you can use it basically everyday and it'll never fail you. It's the simplest technology and you should never spend a lot of money on it. 

Now lastly for miscellaneous home supplies. Now my mom's probably biggest rule about, you know, anything home supplies is do not invest in your linens! Even if you think you're the kind of person who's fancy enough to be sleeping on, you know, the 1,000 thread count, Egyptian cotton, you know, sewn together with the tears of virgins, white sheets, you can probably buy those at a discount store. But 90% of us regular people can get regular cotton sheets and towels. Your towels are probably going to get ravaged by makeup stains, or hair dye, or bleach, or who knows what and your sheets, especially if you're a woman... we know. And even if you're a guy, sheets get gross after a year. There's nothing worse than those white sheets that were clearly white at some former point in their life, but have now been like a yellow-ish beige for like a cool 3 years. Don't become emotionally attached to your linens, get them for cheap. 

Now when it comes to mattresses you should definitely invest in a more quality one, but you don't have to go top of the line. And the best advice I've head, which my mom definitely backs up, is to go with a firm mattress and then get some kind of memory foam over the top of it so as you wear it out you can change out the memory foam and keep that mattress for longer. Of course you're also gonna want things like a basic toolbox with things like, you know, a basic cordless power drill, you'll want all of your cleaning supplies to keep your house in working order, and you'll also want things like, you know, an iron, an ironing board, whatever you'll need at a moment's notice to look professional and adult-like. 

Now perhaps the biggest things with home supplies that definitely covers your whole life and really change your day to day is storage. Everything from, you know, floating shelves, to a shower caddy, to furniture that comes with built in storage. Every bit of storage you can have helps make your life more streamline, more organized, and less cluttered. So that means that when you're out buying big ticket furniture items you should really look for things that already have built in storage to help you, like you know, beds with drawers, tv stands with built in shelves. Anything to help you keep organized and have everything in it's place. So in summary, when it comes to making your space the perfect one for you what you need to invest in and what you need to buy cheap depends a lot on your lifestyle, but the certain universal truths of good materials, storage, and buying things that are going to last for many years apply to everyone. It's just about deciding what those items should be. So thanks as always for watching and don't forget to hit the subscribe button and to go to for more. Bye!