Home Improvement on a No Spend

So, we are deep in the No Spend life. I don’t know how and if we will make the year, but I’m having a lot of fun with it already. When I can’t distract myself with spending, shopping, going out to eat and so on…I get busy at home. My productivity level goes up a few levels and my home gets whipped into shape.

What can I do at home that cost nothing? How can I improve and decorate my 120 year old house with no money?

Many of you have garages, attics, storage units filled with stuff. We have decluttered and downsized so much over the years that most of our ‘stuff’ fits in a tiny shed. But, glory be, we organized our little shed the other night and found all sorts of paint from the old house and paint stripper! I can now finish stripping my kitchen cupboards and I can add some color to all this white!!

So, we did spend about $30 on some tools, paper, and tape for my painting projects. I am so anal about the no spend that I wasn’t thrilled with that, but you know, the tools, tape and paper really saved me yesterday and I’ll be using all the paint we have so $30 dollars is all we are spending to paint rooms, accent walls, the porch railing, and front door. Not bad. I guess I can say the tools are a necessity when I record it in the no spend books.

I had some hard core yellow paint, canary yellow, but also plenty of white and after Sam and I did some mixing we came out with my dreamed of butter yellow for the kitchen.

Now, isn’t that better?! I’ll have better photos when I have it all put back to together.Bali has to finish the very top by the ceiling as my shortness couldn’t reach even with a chair.

Ah, to have color again! I feel like twirling and singing in a meadow like Julie Andrews in The Sound Of Music.

Also, spent the other day making childlike thank you cards. It’s the best I could do. I would love to have that artistic talent. I would paint everything. I have Arjan decorate my storage container lids and such because he is talented and I love his childlike work.

Arjan did a thank you for one of his Godparents…you can see the dinosaur sketch at top.

This morning we are enjoying our coffee (not the children, just pops and myself), I have my 70’s music playing as I’ve been really into my Van Morrison and Cat Stevens lately. It was a simpler time and I’m working on making things simple and calm in the home these days.

I’ve watched How To Cook Your Life free on Vudu a hundred times. Then I work to create that ritual and peace at home. I focus on the dishes. I focus when painting. I focus when throwing the ball for the dogs…and boys when they decide to join the dogs. I focus when I write. I’m not that good at it but keep restarting.

And that is anything we attempt to do to improve our lives or selves. We just wake up each morning and restart until it becomes a habit.

Just like retraining ourselves to go from “consumer” to a thrifty way of life making do with what we have and creating what we need from odds and ends and thin air. It is a new way of living and a new habit. If you blow it, wake up the next day and begin again anew.

I love this way of life because I become very, very productive and I get to know myself all over again. I start using the ol’ brain and being creative in ways I didn’t know I had in me.

I hope you all are having fun with it and don’t give up. If you fall, just wake up the next day, put on a pot of coffee and make a new plan.

34 thoughts on “Home Improvement on a No Spend

  1. You’ve been busy. LOVE a yellow kitchen with white trim! It looks fantastic. What will you do with the cabinets? I like the top ones white. Leave the bottom natural wood? I think it would go with your island. So glad you found the paint remover, as it will make the job so much easier. Can’t wait to see the changes!


  2. Love seeing you paint again. You did bring a lot.of charm with the decorating. Nice to see.happy colors on the walls. I love color also. I’m not to happy when the walls are all white.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the butter yellow kitchen-so pretty! Also you mentioned in one of your vlogs that people were recommending chalk paint for your kitchen cabinets. Chalk paint will go over about any surface with little prep so it might be just the ticket! A couple of little cans will barely make a dent in your no-spend budget!πŸ˜‰ Can’t wait to see your progress!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love the buttery yellow! It’s so much warmer and more welcoming. Good job, my friend 😁

    I am so excited to join you next month! We’re looking to save money for home renovations, so we need to bank as much as possible. The squirrels have taken over our attic! We need to get them out!


  5. Oh Kate, I just love the buttery kitchen! I can hardly wait to see what else you brighten up. I’m not a fan of all white walls, but that’s just me. Unfortunately I am stuck right now staying in an apartment with a friend, I’m on a waiting list for my own apartment, but it will probably be a while. All the walls here are white and this 1 bedroom apartment is just too small for 2 people. The quarantine has certainly not helped either. But your blog and yt channel help keep me inspired with plans for my own place one day.


  6. I LOVE the kitchen color. That is the same color I have been looking for for quite a while. So good to see color in your home again. White does not fit your personality. It is too sterile and austere. So “Color with Kate” is a winner in my book. On to the next room!!


  7. Oh Kate I love the yellow paint color in your kitchen! It makes it warm and inviting. I love color it makes me happy and I am pretty sure you are the same way. Us color loving girls usually have and outgoing attitude! 😁 Keep up the good work and by the way your curtains by your table look great up against the yellow wall.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The yellow walls are perfect for you. After I finally finish the other projects I am working on (getting closer every day!), I am going to start on the kitchen. I only want one wall painted, but it’s going to be a nice reddish color.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I do like your thoughts about using up all those things we have stashed in basements, attics and sheds. If only we all did that before running out and buying stuff we wouldn’t have the giant landfills choking up the planet. Also, I love the creativity that comes from having limits. You created the most beautiful yellow with your colour mixing. I bet you wouldn’t have been able to buy that exact colour!
    I admit to having an all white house, but it is very small and dark so white walls lighten it up to be pleasant to live in. When I moved in four years ago I bought 20 litres of white paint and every time something needs repainting I can just pop out to the shed. It’s a very easy solution. But I do love to see colourful walls in other houses, and yours just glows now. You must be so happy:)


  10. I have been painting my apartment room by room, The next is the kitchen I am doing daffodil yellow with Aqua smoke for my one wall that has farmhouse built in cabinets and drawers.


  11. Hi Kate,
    My kitchen is also a yellow color, I think a lighter version. I love it…makes one feel a little more cheerful !! Your new home is coming along nicely, how on earth do you find all this energy ? Can’t wait to do the no SPEND next month, we live on such a tiny income so it’s going to be a challenge !
    Even if we can only save a little every month it will an achievement!
    Another wonderful post…..you’re an awesome writer & as I’ve mentioned before an inspiration to us all…


  12. Like everyone else, I *love* the buttery yellow in your kitchen. I can’t wait to see what you do with the living room and BATHROOMS!! You’re an inspiration to us all.


  13. Color me crazy but I have actually been doing Christmas shopping during this quarantine time. I’ve come across sales that are too good to pass up (with free shipping included) so I decided to get an unheard of early start this year. I would say that I’m about half done at this point. And if that’s as far as I get until Sept-Oct, then I’ll still be happy about it.

    Your house looks wonderful and it’s amazing all that you and Bali have accomplished in such a short time. I bought an older house, too, about five years ago. Old and forgotten. I have been slowly bringing it back to life and am enjoying the results. There is still much to do but, a house like life, is a work in progress.


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