Just like the last time we built, Shaun’s and my roles are pretty clearly split between a) designer (me), and b) builder (him). Well, I should clarify that he plays a HUGE role in the designing of the actual house, since we design our own blueprints from scratch, but when it comes to finishes, lights, flooring, etc., it’s mostly me. He actually has a great design eye, and I definitely consult his opinion on most decisions, but he also gives me mostly free rein because he knows that I’ll a) research the tar out of every decision and b) find the absolute best deal available. It’s like a treasure hunt for me, and, while it can get tedious, the satisfaction I get from knowing that I made a decision that we’ll all enjoy (hopefully) and saved our family oodles of money is pretty rewarding.

9 years ago, before Pinterest and the true rise of the online response to the DIY movement, almost all of my research and deal-finding involved a whole lot of hoofing it–to Lowe’s, Bruce’s Bargain Barn (yes, an actual place…basically a glorified junkyard full of home improvement store cast-offs at usually great prices), Hobby Lobby, Home Depot, and the like. I found some ah-mazing deals (like the time we bought out the entire end-of-year clearance aisle at Lowe’s–$7,000 worth of merchandise–for $500, then turned around and sold a few of the items we scored to recoup our money, thus giving us free: lighting, flooring, tile, and more). But it was a lot of hours of hauling two little boys from place to place and doing fun things like schlepping carpet home in the back of my dad’s lurching pick-up truck in torrential rain.

This time, although I’ve done my fair share of store visiting, the vast majority of purchases have been online. And, while I never pay very much for anything–in store or on the internet–a couple of deals have been too killer not to share.

So, I mentioned briefly here that we did eventually make it to Charleston, SC, after our initial attempt was foiled by the hurricane, but I never did blog about it. I meant to. I edited the pictures and everything. But it just didn’t happen (let me know if you’d still like me to or if that ship has sailed).

It’s worth mentioning, though, that I scored this first find while in Charleston, and it made the trip that much sweeter.

1. I’ve loved this Oh Joy Petal Pushers wallpaper in gold for forever, but I’ve never been willing to pay $148 for one roll of wallpaper. Imagine my delight, then, when I stumbled upon one–and only one–roll of it in the clearance section at Anthropologie in Charleston. Even with an extra 40% off promotion, it was going to cost $60, so imagine my even greater delight when I got it to the checkout, and it rang up for…$20 {!!!} I refrained from squealing in the cashier’s face…but only just.

best deals5

I think my face says it all.

So, what am I going to do with it? Glad you asked. The plan is to put it behind the vanity wall in the girls’ bathroom, which is peerrrrrfect because I’m shooting for a girly, flowery but still sophisticated vibe in there. Plus! I was waffling back and forth on splurging on a pretty floral tile in that space, since it’s a small amount of square footage, and this little roll of golden goodness totally closed that book for me…and saved me a fair bit of moolah.

2. I’ve also always loved the look of “x-stools” (my name for them). But, at an average of $200 a pop, I’ve never even considered them seriously. Until I stumbled upon this Tally Ottoman in Wayfair’s clearance section (online).

best deals

Cost? $40. (They still have some in stock for $60ish, which is also a good deal). I bought two for the end of the guest bed–the perfect solution, since there won’t be a footboard, and I wanted somewhere for my guests to be able to sling their jackets or sit to put on shoes.

3. I love these long-armed sconces, but they can be surprisingly pricey. Even the meh-reviewed ones from random Chinese stores on Amazon are at least $60.

best deals1


It goes without saying, then, that I was pretty thrilled when I scored 3 of the ones above for $24 each–in the online clearance section of All Modern’s website (which is a sister company to Wayfair and Joss and Main and carries many of the same items). They were originally $120! I plan to Rub ‘n Buff them with brass and use them over the kitchen sink, but if that doesn’t work out (the arms might be too long), I have several other places I can use them throughout the house.

4. I stalked these Rowan bar stools from Grandin Road for months, y’all. They were originally $200 but had been marked down to $80 each. Which is already a great price for a sturdy, large, all wood bar stool. But! Each stool came with a $20 shipping surcharge, bumping the price up to $100 per, and we needed several. I just couldn’t quite bring myself to pull that trigger. At least not until Grandin Road (which is also where I bought the lights over my kitchen island) ran a Free Shipping + 25% off special around Black Friday, which waived the surcharge and dropped the price to $60 each SHIPPED (no tax).

best deals2

I absolutely love these stools. They are even prettier in person, which we know because we unpacked one to test it out in our current kitchen. They are wide and stable and great for kids (with the high backs and the NON-swiveling aspect…I will never buy another swiveling stool). Sadly, they sold out before I could share them with you, but I managed to snag as many as I needed before they did (or maybe I bought the last ones they had…who knows?), so I was a pretty happy camper.

5. This sink was another one that I had my eye on for a while. It had high reviews for design/appearance but mixed reviews for durability (it tended to chip), so I was a little hesitant. But I wanted it for a laundry room sink (so no pans clunking around in there), and the price–which fluctuates between just under to just over $100–couldn’t be beaten for a white sink with this look, quality, and size (it’s 33″ wide). I finally pulled the trigger, praying that mine would show up without any flaws, and it did! And it’s beautiful!

best deals7

My mom was there when it arrived, and she couldn’t believe it wasn’t a $200-$300 sink at least.

6. I included this Anthro rug when I did my master bathroom mock-up a few months back…

anthro rug

…but I never intended to actually buy it, since it was pretty ridiculously priced. But then, it went on sale with an extra 40% off. And I decided to go for it. It still wasn’t cheap, but I had been finding so many good deals that I decided that I would splurge on this one thing. But you know what? It sold out AS I was checking out. At first, I was bummed. But then, I did a little research and found this beauty from RugsUSA.

best deals4

It’s different, obviously, but it has the same vibe, and costs–get this–1/5 of of the price of the other rug. In fact, I scored ALL off the rugs below from RugsUSA on their Black Friday sale and knocked out pretty much all of our remaining rug needs (we’re not doing any carpet) in the new house for LESS than I would have paid for that one Anthro rug!!! Note to self: splurging is almost never worth it.

P.S. While this rug is still a reasonable price, I paid literally half of what they’re currently asking for the 4X6, so I really did score a pretty amazing deal.

best deals6

(You can just see the floral one I bought peeking through on the top right there. It’s much prettier in person; and you can see a baby bump peeking in at the bottom of the frame. Not sure it’s any prettier in person, but I’m excited to meet the tiny human that’s causing it).

7. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention another “on the ground” purchase that pretty much made my Tuesday last week.


I spotted this 11 and A HALF foot solid wood church pew on a Facebook swap n’ shop and couldn’t believe it hadn’t been snagged already. Because? It was only $100!!! That’s a whole lot of pretty wood for 100 greenbacks. So, I woke Shaun up, told him the happy news, and he basically looked at me like this.bench1

Notice that his expression did not change AFTER we (and by we, I mean he) rearranged all of the seats in the van, and then we loaded all of the kids up and drove 20 minutes in the rain to haul it home.

No, but seriously, he thought it was a pretty cool score too (I think), and, being the stellar husband he is, humored his crazy, pregnant wife with grace and patience.

So, what am I going to do with a giant church pew? Well, optimistically, it will be a bench for a dining room table that Shaun builds, but if that doesn’t work out, I’ll definitely find a place for it on our front porch.

Aaaaand…there you have it! 7 of my giddiest deal-scoring moments during this house-building process.

Just in case you’re looking for tips on how to do the same, I think I’ve probably already spilled all of the beans, but:

1) Check local Facebook swap ‘n shops regularly. Way better than Craigslist (or actually leaving your house to go garage-saling) and rife with amazing deals.

2) Shop the online sales weekends. Black Friday was definitely a good one, but most of the stores I mentioned run very similar sales during most other “holiday” weekends.

3) I didn’t mention any specific deals from Overstock.com, but I’ve bought all of our faucets + a lot of our lighting there because–once you start ordering from them, they regularly send you percentage off coupons (at once point, I got a 20% off coupon, which applied to my entire order, so that was pretty sweet). PLUS! If you sign up for Club O Gold ($19.95/year), they give you 5% back (which you can then use on a future purchase). If you’re a casual buyer, it might not be worth it, but if you’re making multiple purchases for a house build or renovation, then the 5% back adds up very quickly…especially considering that their prices on the faucets I bought (brand: Kingston Brass) were almost always the cheapest on the internet (not true of all of their items, but definitely true in this case).

4) Type the word “clearance” into Wayfair or All Modern’s search bar to get a list of awesome (and not-so-awesome) deals. There’s quite a bit of junk, but I’ve scored fans, lighting, and home decor for pennies on the dollar because, when the deals are good, they’re really good!

Or! If you’re looking at a specific item, be sure to check for the small print below the main description that says something like, “Buy clearance items from: $_______.” That link will take you to cheaper versions of the exact same item. It SAYS that they are returned/open box items, but all of mine have been shipped to me undamaged in the original packaging.

If you’re interested in $10 off your order to any of these stores, you can send me your email address (blogabbie{at}gmail{dot}com) and I’ll send you a share code (I get $10 too), but, really, I just wanted to share this find because it’s been a surprisingly helpful one to me and one that I had no clue about before I started all of this research.

So, what about you guys? Any bargains you’ve scored lately that you’d like to brag about? Any brilliant, money-saving tips you have for me? I’d love to hear both!


  1. You do know about Ebates, right? https://www.ebates.com/r/EMILYR851
    Over the last two years I have earned cash back of about 1,200.00 (they send checks 3 times a year) from my online shopping by just going to their website first. The also have any active coupon codes on their site for tons of stores. So you go to their site, find your store, use the coupon codes and click through to your store and purchase as usual. I LOVE THIS SITE! Some times it is as much as 10% back on your purchases.

  2. Good information! On Black Friday I ordered 8 metal bistro style chairs for my farmhouse table from Joss and Main for $22 each!!! I’ve also gotten some great lighting deals there as well. I’m still searching around for a great price on a freestanding, metal, commercial style laundry sink but haven’t had any luck. I did splurge on a Kohler Whithaven cast iron kitchen sink with a 10% off coupon! I’ll be trying the clearance search today!

  3. You are a bargain ninja my dear!!! I’m in awe of your tenacity for finding a good deal!! You got some awesome stuff indeed :).

I love hearing from you guys!