You know the old saying about champagne tastes and beer money? Well, I’ve always like beer over champagne and have always had a beer money bank account. I’m frugal and willing to sell needless items to make a buck to put towards something else I value. This same philosophy applies to my side hustle at the Vintage Market. I’m proud to say **knocks on every wooden surface available** that I have not had to pay rent for my vendor space because I make enough each month to cover the expense. With that said, I’ve also put myself on a serious no to little spend challenge. One month I received a $4 check because I had spent too much on items at the barn! Realizing that debt sucks, I have put my full effort into finding quality furniture at a reasonable price to flip while using what I already have around the workshop. Here are my 4 frugal furniture flipping tips and tricks.
Tip #1: Do the math before the buy
The Facebook Marketplace has been flooded lately with tons of pieces that could be turned into gorgeous furniture for a loving home. But those same pieces are marked at a price that makes the work, advertising, and hauling involved a bad, bad financial deal. First, figure materials needed (see tip #2 if you want to cut this cost), advertising (FB adverts are not free y’all), and gas to pick up the piece and/or haul it to your space or delivery. If you aren’t able to make at least double what you have paid if not more, then say no. Before you commit to buying a piece that could bring a profit, ask a ton of questions. Yeah, some people may be annoyed but you aren’t about to take home a “in great shape” piece that has an entire leg missing or the veneer top is warped and peeling. This math concept also applies to how far you are going to drive to pick up a piece. Give yourself a limit to mileage and stick to it; for me – no more than 45 miles round trip.
Tip #2: Use what you have on hand
Do you know how easy it would be for me to invest a small fortune in Hobby Lobby knobs and hardware? Instead, I have a supply of materials that I’ve keep in stock and use instead of buying new. For instance, this corner cabinet redo needed a pretty knob – I happened to have a few white ceramic knobs on hand from a set of doors that no longer needed them. I saved myself gas and money! It’s also worthwhile to buy paint that goes a long way and can paint multiple pieces – for instance, I’m in love with Fusion paint and happen to also be partial to General Finishes. Both of those brands are a two coat at most type of paint and don’t let the small size of the can fool you.
Tip #3: Quality vs. Cheap
Be aware of wasting your money on cheap furniture or furniture that is beyond repair. Know your limits and like any bad boyfriend, you aren’t going to change them so save your energy. If the veneer is falling off and the drawer stops are gone, make sure you are able to tackle these tasks or don’t commit. Also, just because a dresser is free or $5 at a yard sale doesn’t mean that it is quality. Avoid pressed board pieces or those that were put together from a box. These are the types of pieces that customers also avoid even if you put some pretty new paint on it! No point in wasting time and resources on a piece that won’t sell.
Tip #4: Keep a worthwhile working supply
AKA – take care of your tools. I will admit that I used to be hell on paintbrushes and thought that a $10 Wooster brush was easily replaced with another $10 Wooster brush. No more. I’m about that buck and don’t want to replace tools that should be useful over and over. Wash out your brushes and store them when dry, take care of the blades on your saws, and store paint in your basement or temperature controlled environment. Also, stock up on items that you may need on hand – for me, it’s nuts and bolts for my vintage inspired posters. If you keep your tools and materials on point, then you can avoid shopping when it isn’t necessary.
I also asked a few people from the Vintage Market to share some frugal furniture flipping wisdom. Here are a few gems:
- Kendra of REmix Designs – “If I’m on a tight budget, I check out Sherwin Williams for their oops paint shelf. Quarts are $1.50, and gallons are $5. Prices may vary depending on your local store.“
- April from Harvest Home suggests “driving around the night before trash pick up or after a neighborhood yardsale” to score pieces.
Bonus Tip: Use multiple resources to hunt down furniture
Lately I’ve been using the FB Marketplace to find furniture and there is a handy little feature that you can use to set a search alert if a specific phrase or term comes up. So if you are desperately trying to find a dining table set, set the search alert for phrases that someone would use (dining set, table & chairs, dining table set, table set and chairs). It’s helpful to do multiple search alert phrases and even misspellings of common words. These are other great places to search: Craigslist, LetGo, and OfferUp.
Any ideas that you want to share? Let me know in the comments below!