Your grandma probably had the same coffee table her whole life.
If you’re thirtysomething, you’ve probably already been through two or three of them.
When cheap, Chinese goods became plentiful, our society began looking at consumer goods as disposable. But MoneySmart folks have held fast to the notion that repairing high-quality used items is a better bang for your buck than replacing cheap ones. Especially when it comes to:
Light fixtures. Repair a lamp you already own, or scoop one up at a thrift store for a song. Even if it needs to be completely rewired, it will likely only cost about $35 for the job. To keep it working well and avoid a burnout, make sure you don’t exceed the recommended light bulb wattage.
Shoes. Even the most well-worn loafers can be brought back to glory with a trip to the shoe repair shop. Got a bum buckle? Get it fixed for $5. Broken heel? $15 will have you back on your feet. A good shoe repairman can fix anything from a chewed-up heel to a scraped, scuffed toe.
Furniture. Whether your couch has been chewed by the dog or just hasn’t been updated since the “Golden Girls” were in prime time, reupholstering or repairing a good piece of furniture can save a fortune over buying new. Got a sagging couch cushion? You can have it reconstructed for about $85. Even the pricier total-makeover reupholstering projects will cost less than buying a whole new, quality set.
Wood. There’s just something about real wood. You can buy a particleboard creation off the shelf at the big-box store for $100 and pray you’ll get two years out of it, or you can spend the same amount to have a piece of real wooden furniture refinished and keep it forever.
Once your wooden masterpiece is done, pledge to keep the silicon spray polishes away from it. Use lemon oil instead, which won’t build up or hurt the finish.
Carpets. It doesn’t take much for an old rug to start looking pretty gross. But it’s surprising what a difference a good cleaning can make. Even a stained rug can usually be made to look like new with a little help from the experts. If you have tried all the home remedies to get out a stain, check with a professional rug cleaning company. They might charge $50 to scrub out a stain, but it’s cheaper than buying a whole new rug.
Clothing. Whether you’re having your own clothes taken in or repaired, or whether you’re buying high-quality clothes secondhand, paying for alterations (or doing them yourself) will cost less than buying new.
You’ll save a ton buying secondhand, high-quality clothing even if you have to pay to have them fitted properly. You can buy a new Calvin Klein suit for $300 or pay a tailor $40 to hem the sleeves and skirt of one that’s been preloved.

email: or call MoneySmart at 849-4612. Follow me at
Reupholstering or repairing a good piece of furniture can save a fortune over buying new.