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As a frugal couple, Mr. FAF and I have inherited a lot of stuff from our friends and neighbors.
We of course have also bought things that we need.
But I’ve realized that there are five particular free or hand-me-down items at our home that we really like and have made full use of.
Today, I will share with them what those five items are and how they have improved our life quality.
Words can’t express how much I like all the free cotton T-shirts that Mr. FAF and I have gotten through various campus activities, our jobs, and random events.
Mr. FAF does have some Nike T-shirts (about $10-15/each) he wears to work and special events.
Other than that, he’s more than comfortable wearing free T-shirts at home, to work, and even to parties and get-together with friends.
The T-shirts are super comfortable.
And since they are free, I usually just toss them in the washer without worrying about ruining the color or fabric. It’s one fewer thing to worry about in life.
Some of those free T-shirts look fine.
Some home logos about anti-smoking, theater clubs, anti-bureaucracy, and some nerdy slogans such as “We turn coffee into code” (eh).
Mr. FAF has a T-shirt we got from China five years ago that has some wording that’s grammatically incorrect “Time fly and we with time.” One time he wore that T-shirt and took the school bus with me.
A couple of girls sitting across from us saw the T-shirt and started giggling. Since the
n, “Time fly and we with time” has become an insider joke between the two of us.
Related: 4 Reasons Why I Buy Cheap Clothes
We have inherited a lot of free bed sheets, pillow cases, comforters, and blankets from my roommates and our friends. One of the roommates I used to live with three years ago got a job offer in a new city.
She was busy at work and didn’t want to pack everything to bring with her. In decluttering her belongings, she offered me a lot of items, among which was a huge box of bedding.
At that time, I was pregnant with Baby FAF and knew that my in-laws would come to the US from China in a couple of months. They would definitely need bedding. Instead of spending more than $50 on a bedding set ($100 for both), I eagerly accepted my ex-roommate’s gesture.
I was so excited to see many bed sheets and blankets in the pile. I knew that she was clean and tidy, so I had no concern about bed bugs and such. Over the years, some of our friends moved away and also left us a lot of nice bedding.
When we moved to our new house and realized that we would need new bedding for our guests, my ex-roommate’s gift came in handy.
Other than that, we haven’t bought anything new. Our bedding varies widely in color and style. But Mr. FAF and I really don’t care. We have no throw pillows and do not plan to buy any.
None of our guests have checked out our bedrooms before. We have no problem showing them where we sleep, but no one ever asked. I think it might be because the bedrooms are a personal space.
We are the only people who see our beds and thus have absolutely no interest in spending hundreds of dollars to adorn our bedrooms.
I sometimes fancy the nice bedrooms shown on housing shows on HGTV. But when I think about how much money I’ll need to spend to get that look for our house, I decide to stay simple and minimalist.
Related: 5 Things We Refuse To Do To Save Money
3. Cookware & silverware
Like our bedding, most of our cookware and silverware were inherited from our friends and simply don’t match. Some of our friends had even gotten those items from their friends, so a lot of our stuff have changed hands multiple times. And we’re totally fine with that.
What we see is a nice bowl or plate that can offer us lots of utility rather than some unwanted items people tried to get rid of (which is also true). Over the past two years, we have some new bowls, pots, and knives; but the overall expenses are still below $100.
We have gotten big plates, small plates, sauce plates, spoons, spatulas, kitchen cloths, pots, frying pans, and bowls from our friends and neighbors. Some of them got chipped, but we don’t mind. We will keep using them until they break.
Related: 3 Weird Things We Do To Save Money
4. Dining table
We got our dining table from two friends (a couple) who moved away.
We were living at an apartment complex at the time. Residents were not allowed to dispose of their furniture at the dumpster in the community. They could get fined for that.
Our friends tried to donate a lot of furniture and sell them on Craigslist.
However, as their move-out day got scloser, they lost patience and had to dissemble a lot of the nice pieces of furniture that they had, most of which we couldn’t take due to the lack of space at our apartment.
One thing we got from them, however, was a beautiful dining table and six cushioned chairs which they had bought from Craigslist two years before for $75.
Right before moving into our new home, Mr. FAF and I went furniture shopping and saw that a similar dining set would cost around $500.
Initially, Mr. FAF insisted on buying a new dining set. But after seeing the price tag, he agreed with me that our hand-me-down table and chairs would suffice.
Sometimes we just need to take a look at the world outside to cherish what we have at home.
Related: How To Save On Furniture
5. Fabric task chair
The place I used to stay at four years ago went on sale.
The landlord decided to move to another country and put the house on the market. She also wanted to get rid of all the furniture in the house.
Being the frugal girl that I was, I asked if I could take the fabric task chair that was on sale for at least $60 at the store.
With the landlord’s approval, I got the chair and a couple of other pieces of furniture (i.e. a plastic dresser and a trash can which I was already using in my room).
It’s been four years since the chair officially belonged to me, and I have loved every minute of owning it.
It’s a simple but comfortable armless fabric task chair that has accompanied Mr. FAF and me at three other dwellings, including our current home.
Sometimes when it’s hot in the summer, I use another chair without a cushion. After an hour or so, my bottom would remind me that the cushionless chair is not comfortable enough. I think I might have a first-world problem.
Related: Why We Are Shopping For A Second House
Sometimes when I look at the glossy pictures in magazines or see the fancy renovation TV shows on HGTV, I do feel an urge to make our house prettier. All the used items we have seem to pale in comparison to the modern-looking and shiny things they have at the store.
However, when I think about whether those nice things will make me feel happier and how much value they will add to our lives, I realized that keeping up with the Jones will always make me want to buy new things.
After a couple of days, the urge does disappear. I once again feel comfortable with what we have at home. The five items I mentioned above might be free, but the value they’ve added to our lives is beyond what money can buy.
They give us a sense of comfort in knowing that we have the items that we need and put our money towards high-yield-return investments, such as our retirement, instead.
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18 thoughts on “5 Free Things We Love At Home”
Lol first world problem! That chair looks ok for free. My dad found a similar one on the street but his has more padding.
For Airbnb, I give guests as perfect and clean sheets as possible. There was one time I wouldn’t get out sharpie drops in the sheets but since there’s nothing wrong with the sheets we just end up using it ourselves. It’s a nice fringe benefit, I don’t mind a little cosmetic stuff.
Some of our bed sheets do have stains, but I generally don’t mind as long as they’re washed 😀
My girlfriend usually likes to collect things and has more clothes than she can wear… she also received free clothes from my sister just last week… and she appreciates the gesture… and she also gives away clothes to others…
I try not to get clothes we don’t need. We have lots of T-shirts at home already, so now we stopped accumulating more free T-shirts. It’s the same thing as furniture. Our house can get cluttered fast!
I love getting hand me down clothes from friends when they can no longer fit into them or it’s out of style.
Me too! I mean, I’m not fashionable to begin with, so I don’t mind clothes that are out of style 😀
That free dining table looks pretty awesome! 😁
Everyone is like this, but if you really want to, you shouldn’t be guilty about it. As “petty” as it is, sometimes nice things like a well crafted table or nice a sofa can be enjoyed. Even if it’s nice to look at.
Too many times our little bubble pressures us to save, save, save. As long as you have your house in order, upgrading for a better quality of life time to time isn’t blasphemy.
Ps: Was the “$700” an accident? Or am I going crazy. 😁😅😰
I like the dinging table. It’s pretty durable, especially for a hand-me-down piece of furniture. Our guilty pleasure is eating out, so I guess we’re saving in other areas to make eating out possible 😀
So sorry about the “$700” post. I published the post by accident. It wasn’t finished yet 🙁
That also explains why it was shorter than usual! 😁
In my head I thought, that was a nice piece. But it was lot shorter than usual. 😅
I enjoyed this article. Sometimes I look around my home and think where every item came from. If it just came from a furniture store, I consider it boring. It’s so much more creative to accumulate things from here and there and make a beautiful end result. I like free or cheap anything. Sometimes, I think it’s no wonder people go bankrupt, if they pay full price for everything. It’s a challenge to create a beautiful or comfortable home or wardrobe from odds and ends.
I do that too! Every piece of furniture in our house has a story. They also remind of me the friends and neighbors who gave their stuff to us. We refuse to buy furniture at full prices!
That’s a nice dining table you got from your friends. That should last a while for you guys.
We got many hand me downs for Baby with Cents through craigslist and nextdoor. We got clothes, toys, cloth diapers, a stroller and even a diaper changing table. Sources like these are reasons why you don’t have to spend a lot on your baby like many parents do with theirs.
We got a lot of used clothes, toys, and baby gear for Baby FAF too! Our neighbor just told us they would give us their baby girl’s used clothes, so that’s another frugal win this week!
So many of our things were gotten for free as hand-me-downs or from Free Cycle or our Buy Nothing Group. One thing I want to mention about free t-shirts is that even if someone doesn’t want to wear those type of t-shirts, you can use them for hair towels (they are EXCELLENT for curly hair because they don’t have loops like a regular towel and thus don’t create as much frizz) or cleaning cloths.
My mom uses old T-shirts as cleaning cloths too! The material is cotton, so it absorbs water pretty well. I’ve never thought of using T-shirts as hair towels. Great idea! 😀
I like how this is related to your last post. A lot of our furniture was passed down to us, but is nice, antique quality furniture. Anything new we bought was bought with much consideration and still in use 10 +years later. The rest was found on Craigslist. I love that I’ve found other bloggers who share the same mentality when it comes to frugality and financial values!
Thank you, Gaby! I’m glad you also share the same financial values with me too! Hardly any piece of furniture in our house was bought for more than $100. We’re totally fine with usable stuff from the curbside and other people 😀
As someone pointed out, it is so much more of a creative process and with a beautiful end result to accumulate things you love for free. As a side note we are staging our home for sale and the most gorgeous display items Ive found outdoors such as driftwood, foliage for vases, and pine cones for the fireplace..they really add a certain something and cost nothing