The Best Tips for Fall Decorating On a Budget – An Exhaustive Compilation

best-tips-fall-decorating-on-budget-exhaustiveI’m coming at you today with the BEST fall budget friendly decorating tips. Are you excited!? Are you pumped!? Me too!! No one has a limitless budget–and everyone is looking for great deals and bargains galore. I was standing in the middle of dollar general the other day when I realized that I share shopping guides with y’all all the time but I never ever share some of my best shopping tips! That’s a real bummer. So below is the culmination of years of personal budget shopping research compiled into one place just for you. This is a hardcore budget shopping guide so grab a snack and get ready to save big bucks!

WHERE TO SHOP

Thrift Stores – It’s the last place you might think to look but I’ve found some amazing finds for literally pennies on fall dinnerware, glassware, flatware, cookie jars, figurines, faux floral, baskets, candle holders, candles, art, and picture frames. And bonus: it’s a sustainable way to shop. If you don’t already have a thrift store you visit frequently(you should because your missing out on great deals) visit the nearest Salvation Army which is located in almost every town. The next place I would look is a non-profit resale store.

Facebook Market Place –  You’re probably already on Facebook at this moment–hopefully that’s one of the ways you found this blog post–and Facebook Market Place is an excellent way to find great deals on someone else’s cast-offs. You would be amazed at all the stuff people are selling on there for next to nothing. The sky is the limit and you can be really specific about what you’re looking for by setting alerts for certain categories so you’ll get first dibs on an item you’ve been looking for.

Garage Sales – this is kind of a crap-shoot but the best way to go about this without wasting tons of time is to check the paper and craigslist a week before you’re planning on hunting. Sort through the posts and hone in on the houses that are selling the fall decor you’re looking for and get there early. Bonus: Garage sale shopping is an excellent excuse for early morning donuts.

Estate Sales – This is a real goldmine for seasonal decor and household items. Again, do your research a week in advanced online and in the paper to hone in on the houses that have what you’re looking for. Don’t expect to find treasures here at penny prices but do be respectful when asking about bulk pricing. Respect that these items belonged to a person who was once alive and that their family may attach sentimental value to them. Usually though, I’ve had great luck finding dinnerware and faux floral.

Dollar Tree – I love Dollar Tree. They have some really amazing deals and the stores are usually very very clean and the staff is always super friendly. My fall finds here are: dish towels, pot holders, dish drying mats, pillar candles, taper candles, glass taper holders($1 each), candleholders, matching dish sets/glass ware, charger plates, faux floral, seasonal disposable party supplies, small hanging signs, and wall hangings. Don’t forget BALLOONS! Dollar tree has the best balloon section for cheap! They are $1 each!

Dollar General – In Texas Dollar Generals can kind of be a hot mess, but if you live in Nashville were they are headquartered Dollar Generals are AWESOME! They have what they call super stores and they are like small Walmarts with grocery and three times the amount of stuff. If you are lucky enough to live in the Nashville area I’m probably already preaching to the choir. Nashvillians know! Dollar Generals in Dallas are still great and I buy the same sort of things from them as I do Dollar Tree with a few exceptions. My fall picks here are: floor rugs, dish towels, pot holders, dish drying mats, faux floral(I think dollar general has great faux floral), jar candles, metal yards signs & figurines, front door signs, wreaths, table runners, placemats, tabletop decor, serving platters, coffee cups, and string lights.

Hobby Lobby – God’s craft store is the best craft store! Right now all their fall decor–including floral–is 40% off. It’s a great place to shop and use the always available 40% off coupon. If something your looking for is not on sale then wait for it to go on sale–because it will. They have the best floral, ribbons, and votive/pillar candles, candle holders, and a wide range decor items, and their craft section can’t be beat. I can’t live without Hobby Lobby. They are the best.

Michael’s Craft Store – Like Hobby Lobby but less of a selection and the prices are a little higher. Definitely use coupons and shop sales here. Also sign up for their emails because they have crazy flash sales all the time and that’s where you can get some really good deals.

 

FREE STUFF

Nature has a bounty of things for free that you can use to decorate your home. I gather branches, acorns, and fallen leaves from the park near my house. I gather pine cones from the tree across the street. I’ve gathered wild flowers and sunflowers from the field up the road. Sometimes, when I see a tree service trimming trees in a neighborhood I stop and ask if I can have a few small branches. If you had a fruit tree in your yard you could use the fallen fruit like apples and pears. See wild grapevine on the side of the highway or climbing a tree in your neighbors pasture? Stop and take some home with you or call your neighbor and ask if you can cut a few vines to take home. If you own your house you could buy a packet of wildflower seeds and plant them to use as cut flowers in vases around your house. Be creative! Decor from nature can be anything you want it to be.

 

DIY

DIY is your budget keeper friend. You don’t even have to stretch your brain too far for ideas–search Pinterest. Use search terms such as: DIY Fall Pillar Candles, DIY Fall Wreath, DIY Fall Pine Cones, DIY Fall, etc. I’ve compiled a short list below to jump start you with easy and budget friendly DIY projects.

  • Candles are your friend. Tie a string, yarn, or twine around each one with a few twigs or a cute tag for a festive fall look.
  • The Dollar Tree has great plate chargers for $1 a piece. You can leave them the color they come in or spray paint them any color you like to match your fall table-scape.
  • Use leaves and pinecones as filler. Place a few small leaves in the bottom of a mason jar and place a pillar candle inside. Tie some twine around the lid. Festive and easy.
  • Buy faux pumpkins from the dollar tree and spray paint them white so they transition through every month until Christmas. Use as vase filler, in bowls, or strewn across a mantel or TV stand for a festive touch.
  • Buy the $1 glass taper candle holders from the Dollar Tree and spray paint any color that suites your decor color scheme. You can do this for any candle holders you find at the thrift stores as well. It’s a great way to turn transform something from ugly to elegant–stick with white or gold for a universal look you can use year round.
  • Ribbon and burlap are your friends. You can transform any jar, vase, candleholder, basket, front door, or table-scape with ribbon or burlap fabric. Hobby Lobby has the best prices and selection for fall ribbon and fabric. Bonus: use their 40% off coupon which you can download and print from their website or get from their app.
  • Spray paint pinecones you’ve gathered and make a fall wreath. Use your 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby to buy a cheap grapevine wreath to glue them too. Bonus: find a ugly wreath at a thrift store and remove all the floral using its wreath for your new pinecone wreath.
  • Find baskets and spray paint them to match your fall decor. Add ribbon and faux floral to make them more festive.

 

MORE TIPS & TRICKS

  • Tuesday Morning, Home Goods, At Home, Walmart, and the Target dollar bin, are always great places to check for really good deals. You just have to make sure you don’t get sucked in. All stores mix in their higher end stuff with the dollar bin stuff so be savvy and if it looks like its worth $1 but they want $5, skip it.
  • Repurpose items you already own in your home like chalkboards, plates, candles, glassware, etc.
  • Shop post season sales. 
  • Free printables! The internet is full of free fall printables so take advantage!
  • Spray paint is your friend. If you find something you love the shape/size/contours of but hate the color, spray paint it.
  • Michael’s Craft Store has really great fall scented 32oz jar candles for $6. You can use their coupons too and save an extra 40% sometimes 50% off. That’s $3 per candle. they make great teachers gifts too with a little ribbon and cute name tag added.
  • Walmart has a great selection of inexpensive fall wax melts, wax warmers, and candles. They also carry a line of candles and fragrances from Better Homes & Gardens and Yankee Candle that are inexpensive and a really great deal!
  • The cinnamon broom. I think a lot of people remember their moms hanging up a cinnamon broom during the fall and winter months as kids–I know I do. It’s a two-for-one that smells great but also is a decor piece that adds to your home.
  • Buy faux florals, candles, vases, faux pumpkins, ribbon, etc in neural colors so it translates from September all the way to Christmas. You’ll get more bang for your buck and some of your items such a cream or white colored candles, metal(or metal colored) candle holders, plate chargers, can work with your Christmas and New Years decor too.
  • Sign up for email and text alerts so you always have coupons to shop your favorite stores and jump on sales as soon as they happen.
  • Mix faux and real(or live) pumpkins/gourds and floral. It adds more life to the space and also saves money year to year.
  • Price matching! Stores like Target will price match an item if the price lowers within fourteen days of purchase. Seasonal stuff tends to go on sale frequently during the fall season so watch your emails and alerts and take advantage!
  • Be a part of store’s reward program. Even my local thrift store has a rewards punch card that gives $5 off a purchase. Every penny counts!
  • Check for coupons. Always check for coupons. Search Google or the stores website/app.
  • Reuse what you have year after year. This one seems so simple but I know there can be a lot of internal pressure to ‘keep up with the jones’. Don’t believe that lie you’re telling yourself! Stick to what you love and make it work for you year after year.
  • Hone in on a color scheme & decor style. This is kind of similar to the point above but deciding on a color scheme and decor style keeps you from buying lots of decor that feels bitty and non-cohesive. Buying only a few pieces that coordinate can pull a room together easily and keep you from wasting your money and time.

And finally, I believe you should make room in your budget to splurge on one thing you really want. Items I’d recommend splurging on are ones that can be used throughout the entire holiday season and year after year such as; neutral colored(or colors matching your non-seasonal home decor) cozy throws and blankets, a quality front door wreath, a quality faux floral garland, a glass or ceramic vase to hold fall floral, serving dishes such as a giant platter, that fall throw pillow you’ve been eyeing for weeks and weeks.

Whew! I hope that helps y’all and gives you tons of ideas and inspirations on how you can decorate your home to the nines while still maintaining your budget! I’m sure there are so many tricks and tips I don’t know but that you do! Please share them with me in the comments below and I’ll add them to this post. The more tips and tricks the merrier, right? I hope you’re having a great day and thanks for spending time with me today. I really appreciate y’all caring about my little ol’ life and hanging out with me. Have a great day!

oxox

Maegan

 

Maegan Johnson Foster Care and Decor Blog New Orleans Vacation

Our First New Orleans Vacation

New Orleans is one of the places I have had on my bucket list since I was a little girl. When Sam came to me earlier in the year and asked me if I wanted to go I was beside myself. New Orleans was like nowhere else I’ve ever been before. It is one of the friendliest, welcoming, down to earth cities I’ve ever visited. I kind of felt like I was on another planet. The weather was just beautiful at this time of year too. I expected it to be a lot hotter and muggier but it was really dreamy–the perfect amount of humidity mixed with cool breezes from the surrounding water. As soon as we landed, we dropped off our bags at the hotel and hopped on a streetcar to the French Quarter.

The first thing I noticed was all the color! It was everywhere! I really loved how informal using the streetcar(not trolley) was too. The platform sat flush with tracks making hopping on and off fun and casual–though it did take us a few rides to get the hang of proper streetcar etiquette(board from the front, exit from the back). It was really cheap to ride and I highly recommend buying the streetcar day pass–the Jazzy Pass–which is $3 per day for unlimited rides. The easiest way is to download the app and add your pass to it.

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Our first stop was the St. Louis Cathedral. I was really stunning to see that kind of architecture in America.–it’s so European! This is the oldest cathedral in America–if you were wondering.

A kid riding along on a bike stopped abruptly in front of Sam and I and thrust this daisy in my hand then rode off before I could even thank him. I stopped where we were and took a picture of it before I handed it off to a man running a vending stand. I kind of feel this photo is a really great visual descriptor of the spirit of New Orleans–beautiful, tender, people surrounded by hundreds of years of history, technology, and tourists. A flower in an urban jungle. It’s honestly on of my favorite photos of our trip. 

After an afternoon and evening of sightseeing we ended up at Cafe Du Monde and the beignets  were even better than I imagined! What I didn’t expect was to see such a large informal outdoor space! I was thinking it’s French so it will be a more formal atmosphere so I was pleasantly surprised to find a boisterous crowd of all different types of people in the late hours of the night enjoying the evening while drinking coffee and eating beignets.

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Cafe Du Monde is open twenty-four hours a day seven days a week and couldn’t help but take a picture of the harried wait staff taking a break. It wasn’t just that they were all dressed in uniform that brought a sense of cohesiveness to the little scene but also that they were covered in equal amounts of powdered sugar. It even caked the floor in a thick layer. It was just so Cafe Du Monde.

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The next morning we woke bright and early and walked up Poydras to catch the St. Charles Ave Streetcar to eat at The Trolley Stop Cafe. For the first time in my life I had catfish, eggs, and grits for breakfast and it was one of the top three best breakfasts’ of my life. If we did one thing right on our trip it was food. We listened to the locals and ate where they ate and we were NOT disappointed.

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The catfish wasn’t even fishy. It was that dang good. My only regret was not taking a picture with our waitress who was the most friendly woman and taught me how to eat grits–of which, I am now a HUGE fan!

We left the cafe and decided to walk off our breakfast by taking in all the beautiful antebellum houses along St. Charles Ave. There were churches everywhere in New Orleans and I really appreciated their beautiful architecture and uniqueness–none looked alike. 

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The houses and the views were equally breathtaking. And the trees were enormous!

We walked up St Charles quite a ways then caught the streetcar to the end of the line. From there we took a Lyft and went to City Park. Honestly, this was part of the reason I put New Orleans on my bucket list. I’ve always wanted to see trees so big they lie down with moss wafting from every branch. I felt transported back in time.

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We walked around City Park(which is absolutely huge) for about an hour and we started to get hungry. By this time we really were sweltering. We were hot and tired and hungry–it was close to 2:30pm. So we took a Lyft over to Willie Mae’s Chicken House for the best chicken I’ve had in my life!

But first, we had to get on the wait-list. It was hot and we had to stand outside. Thankfully I found a little “convenience store” literally around the corner. And by convenience store I mean it had a window where you walked up and they sold beer in a brown paper bag to you–and any other convenience store type items like chips, candy, and cigarettes. So we bought two beers and stood in the shade while we waited an hour to get a table. But it was worth it. It was so worth it that I forgot to take a picture. This is actually a very famous restaurant and for good reason. If you come to New Orleans you HAVE to eat here. And be prepared to wait an hour because there is never a ‘slow’ time–just get a beer and people watch to help the time pass. You wont regret eating here, I promise.

We went back to our hotel and slept off the chicken and then headed back into the city for more sight-seeing and dinner. I had my first ‘poor boy’ sandwich at Parkway Bakery & Tavern. This was a local recommendation and I highly recommend it too. The atmosphere here and everywhere we ate was so New Orleans.

The next day I was on my own as Sam had a seminar to attend so I took an all day tour of the Oak Alley Plantation. So this is one of those things I’ve had on my bucket list since I read ‘Gone With the Wind’ in the 6th Grade. And it did not disappoint. This was the view from the back of the house.

This was the view from the front of the house off the second story balcony. At the end of the walkway is a road and across from it is the levee they built up for the Mississippi and that red thing is a barge floating down it. I think it’s a half a mile to the end of the drive from the house. I have never in my life seen such grandeur on that scale. I was in awe.

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This is the front of the house. Of course we were not allowed to take pictures of the inside during the tour which was a huge bummer. I also learned that the trees down the front entrance and all the trees in New Orleans proper are actually Virginia Live Oak and not native to Louisiana. Virginia Live Oaks naturally let their branches lay and grow on the ground. I always wondered why the trees in Louisiana looked so weepy and just magical–I thought it was the climate or something. Trees don’t grow like that in Texas y’all. The trees growing along this walkway are anywhere from one hundred and fifty to over two-hundred years old.

The picture above is from the very end of the walkway.

This was the highlight of my trip. I really cannot wait to go back again and tour some of the other plantations in the area. I am so so so glad I went–even if I was by myself. It was worth it. I did not want to leave and I made Sam promise me that we would go back together soon.

I returned to New Orleans and met Sam after his seminar and we grabbed a quick snack and then did more sight-seeing in the French Quarter.

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One of the things I really wanted to do was dine alfresco in the French Quarter and we happened upon this amazing restaurant called Tableau on the corner of Chartres St. and St. Peter St. There was this perfect breeze as we ordered cocktails and dessert from the second story balcony just enjoying the afternoon until Sam had to go back for more seminar classes. It was the perfect last afternoon of my trip.

I thought I was going to be spending the evening by myself and I enjoyed the view and the food so much I went back to Tableau for dinner. I still can’t get over the European architecture that was the French Quarter. I didn’t feel like I was in America at all. I took this photo from my table and was enjoying my dinner when Sam came back and joined me as a surprise! It was a perfect ending to my trip!

I enjoyed New Orleans so much and I only saw an eighth of the places I wanted to see. But hands down my favorite thing about New Orleans is the people. They are some of the most friendly, down to earth people I’ve ever met. And I can understand why so many people visit here and then don’t leave. The atmosphere was so easy and relaxed but also full of life. People here work hard but they also know when it’s time to lay down their work for the day and enjoy life–really enjoy it. I didn’t want to come home I loved it so much. And now I understand why I hear people rave about it all the time. It’s a city to love.

Maegan — xx