Dress to Impress (for Less), Thriftster weddings

Secondhand dressed

The other day, I eavesdropped on a conversation between two mothers. One was telling the other how hard it was to find a decent wedding dresses for under a thousand bucks. Yep, it’s common knowledge that wedding dresses are expensive, a fact that the wedding industry tries to perpetuate with its talk of ‘couture’, ‘bespoke’, and ‘chantilly lace’.

For a mustbethrifty bride, however, the wedding dress is an opportunity for some genuine savings. Unless you DIY, it’s hard to skimp on food, drinks, and entertainment, whereas it’s relatively easy to be parsimonious with wedding dresses, especially if you’re not afraid to wear something secondhand.It also makes sense. I MEAN, IT MIGHT BE A ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME DRESS, BUT YOU’RE ONLY GOING TO WEAR IT ONCE, SO WHY SPEND HUNDREDS/THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS ON IT IF YOU’RE ONLY GOING TO WEAR IT ONCE…YOU’RE PLANNING ON WEARING IT ONLY ONCE, RIGHT? Continue reading

Buy Nothing New October, Footnote Frivolity***, Going Green, Second-hand Scavengers

Cheaper than Ikea? Yes, we can!

We’re not going to try to explain life, but we know there’s more to life than furniture. And everyone deserves to have a beautiful home and still have money left over for other things. At IKEA, we’re inspired by all the magical moments that happen every day. These moments keep us going, evolving and constantly thinking of how to make life at home better, more beautiful, simpler and more affordable. (2012 Ikea catalogue)

Unfortunately, affordable for IKEA is a $1899 Kivik three-seat leather sofa. A flick through their 2012 catalogue inspired me to throw together some IKEA looks that were truly affordable. Many of the items featured in my mockups are second-hand, found, or repurposed objects that I’ve brought home over the years. Most cost me less than $30; some were even free*.


Hektar pendant lamp ($99), Bravur wall clock ($79), Bracke tealight holder ($9.99/each), Ursula throw ($39.99), Ivar cabinet ($129), Kaustby chair ($39), Raskog kitchen trolley ($79), Ursula cushion cover ($20), Ludde sheepskin ($59/each).


Metal megaphone from op shop ($35), grandpa blanket from op shop ($25), ladder from garage sale ($30), Airflow fan from op shop ($20), Harvest literary journals (some free, some not), secretaire from hard rubbish week (free!), repurposed incandescent light globe & tap fittings (free!), wire milk crate from hard rubbish week (free!), cushions were probably bought in a store (but they belong to Cheap Geek so they don’t count). Continue reading

Dress to Impress (for Less), Gen DIY-er

Turning drab into fab

Like many Gen Y-ers, I am craft-challenged. My sewing skills consist of threading needles and accidentally stitching <insert crafty project here> to the clothes currently being worn.

I am also vertically challenged. My trousers and dresses are always in need of shortening, and instead of doing it myself, I usually pay someone else to alter them. NOT THRIFTY.

I’ve got several items currently in the mending pile, including one 80’s polyester dress purchased from an op shop. I loved the fluoro pink and blue stripes, but the ankle-skimming length of the hemline made the dress uber daggy and I had worn it only once with the offensive hem tucked underneath my skirt and stockings. Again, NOT THRIFTY.

Armed with a library book on mending* and Cheap Geek’s mending kit, I decided to must-be-thrifty the situation Continue reading

Beg or Borrow but Don't Steal, Money Matters, Second-hand Scavengers

Whimsical furnishings

So you’ve got the keys to the new house. The walls are patched from an exodus of photo frames. There’s electricity and water, but very little else. It’s a shell, not a home.

If you were pre-mortgage, you would have used and abused the plastic at a homemaker centre, but you’ve just received your first statement and realised that the interest accrued is greater than the cost of a new couch.

You decide to do without. Who needs a bed when there’s perfectly good carpet? But while you might enjoy camping out in your living room for a week or two, your back does not, and your partner isn’t impressed with eating off the floor. Time to invest in some stuff. Continue reading

Footnote Frivolity***, Second-hand Scavengers

Bargains at the op shop

Despite their recent gentrification, op shops can still be an excellent resource for the money-challenged. After last week’s discussion with I Love to Op Shop and Lisa@SimplyMe, I thought I’d expand on the topic of bargains at the op shop.

  • It’s only a bargain if it gets some lovin’

While I might view $1 for pink Pyrex as a little bit iffy, Laura of A Little Boutique Near Home considers a $60 vintage Burberry bag a good buy. So how do you spot a bargain when you see one?

Shopping around and doing the research helps, but the best bargain of all is the one that’s actually needed. My attic is stuffed with cheap but unnecessary purchases Continue reading

Going Green, Second-hand Scavengers

I op[t to] shop

Opportunity shop n. Aust., NZ a shop run by a church, charity, etc., for the sale of second-hand goods, especially clothes. Also, op shop. (via Macquarie Concise Dictionary 4th Edition)

Once the territory of Centrelink/pension cardholders, op shops are now frequented by shoppers on all sorts of budgets. According to The Age, they’ve ‘defied the doom and gloom in the retail sector and experienced a surge in sale. The increase…has been spurred by two things – the mainstream adoption of op-shopping and a reduction in discretionary spending’.

With op-shopping on the rise, op-shop blogs and bloggers have started popping up online. I Op Therefore I Am is one such blog and acts as a communal trophy shelf for treasure-hunting locals. While posting up some finds on the site, I managed to convince bloggers I Love to Op Shop and Lisa@SimplyMe to talk about their love of the humble op shop. Continue reading