The Best Three Dollars I Have Ever Spent

And the worst Four Hundred.

A few years ago I remember going to a neighborhood yard sale with my mom and my sister. It was one of those where you pull into the neighborhood and you just know that you will find treasures. It was the perfect mix of young and old. You know one of those established neighborhoods where when the old people die the young families move in and fix up the houses? Those are the best for yard sales. You can find the cute pair of Target jeans and clothes for your boys right next door to some old transferware in perfect condition. All for $4.

So we pulled in all giddy like trying to quickly pick the best route while avoiding running over moms with strollers. Saturday mornings are like a drug for me. I lose my mind. I cannot think strait. We pulled up and found a parking space and from afar I spotted some kind of white cabinet. Oh, I had to have it. Of course, I didn’t know if these yard salers were ignorant and thought that their junk was priceless or ignorant and thought that their junk was junk. I prefer the ladder. I mean latter.

Well, when I walked up, the wife had just stepped in the house and I knew it was my chance to pounce. I asked the husband how much he wanted for that old medicine cabinet {always call stuff old or dirty if it is} . He was completely helpless and tried to find his wife as I flashed a smile to my mom who was not paying me any attention. He came back outside without her and told me that he couldn’t find her so how about $3. I controlled my facial expressions like an award winning actress, hesitated, sighed and said “um, okay.” I knew that I had to work quickly so as to avoid the wife who I knew would have charged more for the cabinet. I handed him the cash and grabbed my prize which turned out to be really heavy. Good, that meant it was well built. While running through their front yard and darting to the car, I felt like a real woman. I went for the kill and provided for my family! What a HIGH! This was clearly a win for me. If they would have put $30 on this sweet item I would have considered it! Here it is in my old house. Love it!

Now, I have it hanging in my bathroom which is embarrassingly huge. It echoes. For real. I hung it over the worst deal I ever got.I really liked the green… what’s that thing called? It’s got a fancy name. I could call it a dresser but, then you would know that I am not a real designer. Well, the dresser {the secret is out anyway} was priced fair enough for a new piece. The problem is, I put it on a credit card. This is the first and only piece of furniture that I have ever charged. Well at least that I have ever charged and not paid off before any interest accrued. It was a big mistake and I hated it for the first couple of years. Now, I like it but, I still regret charging it. I just don’t get the same enjoyment out of paying full price plus interest. Do you have a fantastic purchase in your home? Do you have a piece that you regret? Did you buy something from Rooms to Go that has already fallen apart and you haven’t even started paying for it yet? I think most of us have been there. I think the best way to learn not to do something is to do it once and reap the consequences. I also feel like the cabinet kind of makes up for the commode, bureau, chest thing even though I am probably still paying for it and it’s probably cost me $1578 so far.


  1. I couldn’t agree with you more! I can safely say that 75% of the furniture in our house was $10.00 or less (and we have lots of furniture). I fix it up, love it for a season and then sell it for way more than what I paid. It’s wonderful and I feel so empowered.
    However, I too made 1 extremely stupid purchase, and although I did pay cash for it, I was still sick to my stomach. When we got married in 2006, we felt pressured into purchasing a new bedroom set. I have no idea why, but I got a mission style set…barf! I hated it but felt like I had to keep it. 2 years later, I found an old iron bed, made a bunch of shabby bedding, found mismatched garage sale dressers, night stand, rocking chair and white-washed everything (all for less than $100) and I LOVE it. Fortunately, I was able to sell my old bedroom set at my cost; so I didn’t lose anything, but still…mission style?
    I love your blog and your writing style. You are amazing! Any tips on where to find a “small scaled” corner couch? Also, did you make your own couch slip cover or did you buy it?

  2. Your “dresser” is actually a bombe chest. And, yes I am a professional designer and your website is a testament that you don’t need a lot of money to have great taste. Get yourself a library of professional interior design books and you could move from decorator to designer!

  3. Funny you mention RTG. . . We bought a living room set there, and I’m fairly certain I HATED it the day it was delivered. The whole set. Red couch (?!) weird chair, coffee and side tables, lamps and all. I couldn’t wait to get rid of it. It has been the most expensive furniture we’ve ever gotten, and I couldn’t wait to see it go!

  4. On some levels I’m like, “Way to go Nester!” and on another level I’m wondering, “Don’t you kind of feel bad for manipulating the husband?” Ha! And I mean that in a nice way, not a mean way. :)

  5. I always find steals at yard sales too!!!! I remember the time I turned down a $40 antique buffet “dresser” cherry wood, craftsman style. BEAUTIFUL wave to the front design, on pedestal feet. Ya. I was nutzo. My lame reason at the time as that I couldn’t think of a place to put it in my house!!!!!!! needless to say, I could have used it anywhere. that was about 8 months ago and I remember it like it was this morning. I still feel like an idiot! LESSON LEARNED!!! haha…except, it’s not funny. :)


  1. […] Some people like to just tell the prices as people ask. As a buyer that doesn’t bother me at all and I could see how that would be easier. As a control freak that totally bothers me because I wouldn’t want my husband to sell something for $3 when I was gonna ask $30. But I’m always happy when someone else’s husband sells me the $30 item for three dollars. […]

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