photo credit: ILoveButter
I would like to thank everyone who has left a comment on this post, as your ideas are fantastic! It would be wonderful to see the list grow to 25. If you have a unique idea to make your stuff feel new again, just leave a comment.
My 2002 Toyota Prius is starting to look worn and tired inside and out and it’s only 6 years old. The carpets are dirty with several coffee stains from sudden turns, the paint is a little faded and several french fries are still lodged between the seats. I’ll be honest, the temptation to take it to the Toyota dealership and trade it in for a new 2009 Prius does exist. Does it make financial sense to trade-in a perfectly good 2002 Toyota Prius with low miles and HOV stickers for carpool lane for a brand spanking new $25,000 2009 Prius? Nope.
My front lawn never looked lush and green this summer as it never recovered from my daughters 4th birthday party bouncy house. Back in February we rented a princess jumpy house with our neighbors and celebrated two birthday parties on our front lawn. It was rainy and wet and the weight of the bouncy house was too much for my front lawn to handle. It’s a small lawn and I wondered if now is the time to rip it out and put in new sod? It would only cost $400 to have new sod put down. Did I do it? No way!
It’s tempting to buy new cars or replace items around the house, but how can you make your older car or house shine like new again. For some items on this list it will take a few dollars to make your stuff shine like new. In the end I think it might be worth it and save you from new sticker shock or buyers remorse.
1. Professional car detail. This is not a frugal option, but still thousands cheaper from buying a new car. Check craigslist or your local yellow pages for a professional car detail center or private individual that has a mobile car detail business. Prices can range from $100-$300+ Sounds like a lot of money, but your car will look and smell new. All those french fries will be removed from between the seats and your carpets will look new again.
2. New diamond ring for your wife. I’m not talking about a new diamond from Harry Winston or Tiffany, but a newer shinny diamond ring. If you’ve been married a few years, your wife’s diamond ring may have some soap scum or scratches in the setting. Make an appointment and take your wife’s ring to your local jewelry store. They will clean and even replace smaller diamonds for very little money. My wife has a very small diamond ring with two small baggetts on the side. For under $100, I had the ring cleaned and one missing baggett replaced. My wife was thrilled to have her ring look new again.
3. 1 hour massage. Want to feel relaxed and energized? My wife and I bough each other a 1 hour massage several years ago, and it was amazing. I’d never had a massage and it was more relaxing than 1 week in Hawaii and a lot cheaper. $50-$100 and you’ll feel like a new person. Extra bonus points if you buy one for your spouse and surprise her/him.
Money Grubbing Lawyer tip: Check your health plan to see if your massage is covered under insurance policy. He also suggests signing up for a couples massage class and learn how to give a massage. Great idea!
4. Paint your front door and trim. Tired of looking at your same house and want a cheap way to make it look new again. Our friends bought one can of Benjamin Moore mocha paint ($45) and painted door and front trim around windows. They left the existing house color the same, but now the house looks like it belongs in another zip code.
5. Curb appeal. Another way to make your house look newer, pressure wash your driveway and front entry. My neighbors replaced the driveway and walkway and spent $10,000. Sure, it looks nice but for $50-100 I bought a pressure washer and made my cement look new again.
6. New dining room table. Replace table chair seats and change the look of your dining room with new fabric. Visit your local fabric store and buy a few yards of cloth, remove the old and use a staple gun to fasten the new fabric. Total cost $40-$100.
You can do the same for an older couch. Buy a slip cover and change the look of your outdated or old stained couch. If you have kids, you know the look I’m talking about. A new slip cover can range from $50-$150 depending on brands.
7. Paint a wall. Want to make some brownie points with your wife and update the look inside? Have your wife pick out a color and paint one wall with this new color. She may just love the new accent wall color and you don’t have to paint the entire room. Maybe she likes red or mocha, whatever it is will change the look of the room and make it look new. Cost $25-50
8. New toys for your kids. This one is easy, fun, and it works. If your child has several favorite toys and they are younger, put one of them away in storage for a few weeks or months. You can introduce the toy back to them and they will get just as excited as the day they opened it. We have done this with a train set for my son. He received another smaller set and we put a bigger one up in storage. One day we brought the train set down and he jumped up and down and ran around the house in excitement.
9. Fertilize your lawn. Don’t buy new sod or seed, try a good fertilizer first. You can buy name brand like Scott’s turf builder or you can buy generic ammonium nitrate for $10. Follow instructions and you will have a front lawn that rivals those on Sunset magazine.
10. Hire a gourmet chef. My wife received a gift certificate for 10 meals to a company called Sous kitchen where you prepare fresh family meals. They were recipes that we would never cook ourselves including some meats we have never even tried. I recall having a shepherds pie that was amazing. These can range in price considerably $50-$200, but are cheaper than eating out and will also help inspire your next grocery store list. You can freeze the meals and break one out when you have nothing else to eat, or you crave going out to eat.
11. Free From Broke tip: This one is free and only requires some elbow grease. Spend the weekend removing clutter from garage, office, and house. This would be a great spring cleaning project that would make your house feel larger.
12. Anthony’s tip: Have your old leather shoes polished and make them shine like new again. Great idea! I used to go to Nordstrom and have them shined for a couple dollars.
13. Miranda’s tip: Another way to relax. Get a pedicure. This is probably a cheaper alternative to a massage. I’ve never had a pedicure or a manicure. Has your husband?
14. Tyler @ Building Camelot suggested: Hiring a maid service to help clean your house. A cheaper alternative would be to have a maid service come every few months to do a spring cleaning special. It would be a nice treat to have someone give some extra shine to the floors and cabinets.
15. Asithi’s tip: This is another free idea. Wash curtains, tennis shoes, bath mats and make them shine like new. I used to wash my tennis shoes, but since I play a lot of tennis I usually wear out the soles first. This would be a great idea for shoes that still have lots of life left in them.
16. Mrs. Micah suggests polishing items in your house. If you have collectibles or even a coffee table lamp. A good dusting and polishing can make them look new again.
17. Laurel Plum’s tip: Take a workshop or seminar to acquire new trade skills. Base and crown molding come to mind and this can really make a room look fresh and new. Once you learn the basic miter angles, you’re all set and can replicate most cuts in a standard size room.
18. Virilitas has a great tip that will be a sure way to give you the extra jolt you need to clean your house or finish a project. Exercise.
19. LoriAngel suggested working with your existing clothes to create a new look. Lori recommends tailoring your favorite skirt, layer shirts for a different look, and work with existing accessories like belts and scarves. This sounds like a very creative way to stretch your wardrobe budget and give your clothes a fresh new look.
20. Prime Time Money suggests cleaning out your wallet or purse and organize your receipts. I’m guilty of keeping receipts and even expired insurance cards in my wallet. I also found a home depot card worth $50 that I forgot I had.
21. Laurel Plum had another great idea to move furniture around and trade small accessory items to change your color scheme. You might be able to trade smaller items at a consignment store and it would introduce a new item to your room.
22. RetiredAt47 suggests buying a slip cover for your older couch. Refresh the look of your living room or family room couch. Also, another idea to repaint to freshen a room.
23. Sasha at Debt Free Saver has a very frugal and cheap idea to buy new dish towels for your kitchen or bathroom. The new color will make your room look fresh and clean.
Do you have a tip you’d like to share that has given new life to your old stuff?