These days, saving money seems to be just as popular as spending it. So why not save while you spend? Your Pinterest boards are about to become a reality because designing on a budget just got real! 

Budget, budget, budget…we’ve all heard the word and most of us know what it means to “live within your means,” but the number behind the dollar sign is different for everyone! My budget is the budget you have when you’re in between graduating college and finding a real job, which is next to nothing. Growing up means bills, budgets, and being creative with how I allocate my dolla, dolla bills. The fact of the matter is everyone goes through financial slumps. While some may have less than others, everyone should be able to be comfortable in their new (or old) digs without spending a fortune! For those who have a passion for interior design concepts and all things decor, I hope you find these tips useful, practical, and budget-friendly. If you only have a little to spend, then it only seems right for me to show you how to design on a penny budget. Here are 5 easy tips that anyone can use to design a room within their means!

Step 1: Create a Practical & Manageable Budget

It doesn’t matter what your budget is, you just need to have one. When you don’t have a lot to spend, not creating a budget could make your design (or interior redesign) your worst enemy. The last thing you want to do is spend hours picking out amazing decor you don’t have the funds for! Imagine having a cart filled with Egyptian cotton bed sheets, picture frames, high-quality towels, rugs, artwork, and everything you have pinned on your dream home board on Pinterest, only to have to put it all back because you just can’t afford it. So whether you have $20 or $500 to spend, you need to stick to your budget. Trust me, you’ll be a better person for it! Self-control is a huge asset. Buy what you can with the money that you have and you’ll walk out the door sans buyer's remorse and with some change to spare!

Step 2: You Don't Have to Buy Everything at Once

Who says you have to buy everything all at the same time? No one! In fact, not buying something right away is the ideal option. Say hasta la vista to any Veruca Salt mentality in your being and shove that “I want it now!!” voice in your head out the door. Feel better? I do! Purchasing items over time can be very budget-friendly and helps prevent you from overspending. It also gives you more time to develop your vision when decorating a home. Planning and preparing what you want your space to look like will leave you with the best outcome! It’s so rewarding to see how a place can transform with some extra thought. I suggest focusing on one area or room within your home, finalizing what you want it to look like, and browsing around. If you're trying to design your entire home at once, then it will be nearly impossible to do so while maintaining your budget, not to mention extremely overwhelming!

Need to stick to a budget? Refinish, repaint or repurpose items in your home.

Posted by FurnishMyWay, LLC on Thursday, March 31, 2016

When I was growing up, I would go to either Walmart or Target and buy new towels one week, the next week I went back to get my countertop accessories, the next week I went back to get a picture frame. It was a slow process, but I was able to design my room to my heart’s content without feeling like I threw all of my money away. Because it was a gradual room design, it made the experience that much more fun. You can place your new items after each purchase, or you can store them until you can do it all at once. It’s really up to you. It’s okay for your home to be a work in progress. 

In addition, buying items over time can relieve the stress of returning items you don't like. It's a lot easier to return 1 or 2 items that you didn’t like rather than attempting to return 25 to 30 items if you want to try an entirely new design concept.

Step 3: Save to Splurge

Those marble countertops look nice, those oak wood floors are beautiful, and those wooden window blinds seem to be calling your name! You want your decor, and you want it now! (How did Veruca get back in here?!) What to do, what to do? Well, when in doubt SAVE. I know that’s not the most fun option and you want that transformation you’ve been longing for to happen at this very moment, but if you're dedicated to saving then that glorious area rug can be yours in NO time. It doesn't take much! $20 here, $100 there, or even $5 every week - it all adds up! A penny saved is a penny earned. Before you know it that new bedding will be all yours. It takes time, patience, and persistence, but when has anything AMAZING ever come easy? Never, ever! 

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This is one of my top tips for people who do not have much money to spend on decorating and implementing design ideas. You have to have targeted goals where you set aside money for specific purposes and things that you want in your life. Take time to think about what you want and if the price is worth it. Growing up with an African-American mama, whenever I would ask for something she found unreasonable, she would ask me if I had money for it. Our conversations usually went a little something like “Mama can I have some pizza,” and she would ask “do you have pizza money?,” to which I would give a solemn “no ma’am.” We can all learn from my mother and find ways to earn or save up money to make our home and decor ideas happen.

Step 4: Implement "Save to Splurge" Strategies

With the internet as accessible as it is and technology growing at such a quick rate it has become easier and easier to get your finances on track. There is an excellent website called mint.com. This site helps you see where all of your money is going, which will help you develop ways to keep that money in your pocket. An even more handy option is literally right at your fingertips: your phone! This shouldn’t come as much of a shock to you, but budgets—ya, there’s an app for that. Put that data plan to good use! While we’re on the subject, I would like to point out the fact that since you pay for it, you should let it help you save! However, if you don’t want to go down the website or app route you can maintain your budget yourself—you know, the old fashioned way (lol). Some people prefer keeping track of their own expenses as it holds them accountable. The easiest way to make sure that you're able to save up money is to plan out how you're going to spend each paycheck. 

I suggest that each paycheck, you set aside money to pay yourself. Treat yourself like a bill and pay yourself a portion of your check, whether it be 20% or $10 or whatever you feel comfortable with. Once that’s done, the money you set aside can then be used for interior design and decorating! Once you have saved up enough you can buy luxury items that would otherwise be too expensive. If you’re type-A like me, percentages are extremely helpful. For example, set aside 10% of your monthly income for little splurges. Once you save up for what you want to treat yo’self with you’ll instantly feel so rewarded and good about your purchase!

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Step 5: Mix the Old & the New (DIY, Flea Markets, Etc.)

I don’t know about you, but I love a good upcycle! Don’t be so quick to throw things away that you may not want anymore. This applies to items all over the spectrum from decent quality furniture to accented decor. Though that table might be an eyesore, you can do some really cool DIY projects that will turn that old thing from drab to fab! You can find ideas for DIY projects all over the place. The internet is FULL of redecorating ideas, trust me. 

I like to hit up interior design sites and blogs; the writers often update their homes or showcase styled interiors. This is a free show and you have a front row seat for all of the action! You can ask them questions in the comments section about anything that you would like to replicate when decorating your home. Many blogs post decor tips and step-by-step DIY projects or how-to guides so that you won’t get lost if you are new to channeling your crafty, creative side. 

Similar to the app store, another great resource to utilize is YouTube. YouTube is the holy grail of basically everything, but particularly DIY projects. You can literally watch and learn how to update or make anything. Don’t forget about Google and Pinterest! They will become your best friends, if they’re not already. Once you're done with your DIY project and you have that glow of accomplishment about you, mix it in with your already existing decor for an instant refresh.

To get you started, I went ahead and found a few fairly simple DIY projects that use items commonly found around the home. I really like that penny vase. Talk about designing on a penny budget!!

Another option, for those of you who might not be into crafting, is to refinish, repaint, or repurpose furniture that you already have in your home. A coat of wood stain here and a splash of paint there can go a long way!

Now, I’m not an expert DIYer or anything and I know better than most what a Pinterest fail looks like so if you don’t feel like getting down and dirty with an upcycle project, there’s another option. Visit your local thrift stores, flea markets, and/or garage sales! You’ll be amazed what people get rid of. It may take a trip or two, but after a some browsing I almost always find a diamond in the rough. Getting a good bargain is the ultimate!! I’m talking about getting something so awesome that you feel like you practically stole it—it’ll transport you directly to cloud 9. That’s a promise! 

Thrifty places always have really cool items that you can bring into your home, and they're usually a lot cheaper than most retail stores. In order to get the best deals you usually need to be a good haggler, but in some cases all you may need to do is ask for a lower price. Thrift shops are usually pretty set in terms of prices, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. I like using the line, “is that the best price you can give me?” with lots of inflection in my voice! Gets ‘em every time. Flea markets are like a massive garage sale; haggle and negotiate all you want. Though prices are usually already fairly reasonable.

Designing on a Budget Rose Bowl Flea Market

Via CNN Living

At the end of the day, holding yourself accountable and keeping those purse strings closed will pay off! Recall my 5 easy steps and implement them in your life and you’ll have your dream design in no time. Take a look at my blog post, Make it Personal: 6 Ways to Find Your Home Design Style, for my advice on how to make sure you get what you want for your home! 

I hope this post has provided you with some awesome advice and the tools you need to love your home on a penny budget. If you have any other suggestions, questions, or comments, simply list them below. I can't wait to hear what money-saving home decor tips you all have! And, as always, let your friends know!!

**Featured image via