ON BEING CHEAP(S)…
Many years ago, my hubby and I formed a legal partnership named CHEAPS which exists to this day. At the time I owned a little craft & quilt business and hubby built a few crafts in his spare time too. The name was an acronym for: COLORADO HANDMADE ECONOMICAL AND PRACTICAL STUFF. Our crafts all had a function in addition to form. We were a frugal family with 4 little kids and not much money. The sale of the crafts supplemented our income and the name fit us.
I come from a very white collar, middle class upbringing; but have always been thrifty by nature. I use the wax wrappers that come around sticks of butter to grease my baking pans. I don’t buy many clothes. My favorite store is Habitat for Humanity. But I’ll confess to being arbitrary.
I cook from scratch and we rarely eat out. But I pay a housekeeper to visit every two weeks.
I drive economical vehicles and route my trips carefully to conserve on gas. But I will buy a plane ticket overseas without batting an eyelash.
I claim we “can’t afford” lots of things. But I’ll commit $200K of our hard-earned money to a fixer project.
When it comes to those projects I spend carefully. I’ve learned what buyers want and how to accomplish a good product on a budget. But my art & design background usually overrides at least some cost cutting measures. A recent example:
These are before & after photos of our Colorado Ave kitchen. The house was a 1940s bungalow and I wanted to keep that bungalow feel. So, I saved the upper wall cabinets. Sounds thrifty right? Wrong…
The cabinets were built in place. They couldn’t be removed so we cut in drywall around them. Because the back wall was plaster – which is thicker than drywall – we had to space out the rest of the wall. Because the old wall was crooked, the new cabinets below didn’t align well and the countertops had gaps that needed to be addressed. All of this contributed to my labor costs. My GC grumbled mightily (I think he was hoping I’d cave and let him tear it all down). Then the original cupboard door hinges were rusty and several broke. It is an old-fashioned mounting style and new hinges couldn’t be found locally. I ended up ordering from a specialty hardware company online: six hinges cost $45.
But my design side didn’t care. I wanted it to look like a country kitchen. I got the look I wanted and I paid the price. The house went under contract in one day – so I’m going to say that it was money well spent.