I saved £1.8k this year doing up my house on the cheap – I got my mirror from a skip and my table & chairs from the TIP


A MUM has revealed how she’s done up her entire house with bargains from Facebook Marketplace and even skips or the tip – saving her £1,800 this year alone.

Penny Bennett, 40, lives in a three-bed terrace in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, with her 15-year-old son Rory and hasn’t paid full price for anything, aside from their mattresses and washing machine.

Penny Bennett

This gold mirror cost £40 from Facebook Marketplace, while the genuine skin rug was £40[/caption]

Penny Bennett

Penny Bennett, 40, from Nuneaton, loves finding a bargain[/caption]

Speaking exclusively to Fabulous, she said: “I’ve got stuff out of skips before and tip shops, but Facebook Marketplace is my main one, then eBay and Shpock.

“My garden table and dining room chairs were from the tip shop.

“The chairs where £2 each which I sprayed with an £8 paint from Facebook Marketplace.

“My mirror was from a skip, which I also painted black, and I’ve found some photo frames and a lantern in the past too.

Penny Bennett

Penny’s dining room chair cost £2 from the tip[/caption]

Penny Bennett

Her garden table was also from the tip shop[/caption]

Penny Bennett

Meanwhile, she found this mirror in a skip and painted it black[/caption]

“Sometimes I just find things walking the dogs, which people are chucking out.

“I recently found a bird cage which I spray painted black and am going to put plants inside.”

During lockdown Penny, who’s out of work due to illness, spent £350 giving her rental home of 14 years a makeover – and she reckons she’s saved about £1,800.

Sometimes I just find things walking the dogs, which people are chucking out

Penny Bennett40

She said: “Over three months, I’ve spent about £350 to paint the rooms, get two new rugs, an armchair, pictures on the wall, a few artificial plants, cushions and a new lampshade.

“I think I saved about £1,800, because it all would’ve easily cost over £2,000 new.

“I’ve had loads of stuff from Facebook Marketplace for dirt cheap.

“My pineapple lampshade I spent £5 on and it was £60 new, bought from a woman who lives round the corner.

Penny Bennett

Penny recently bought this brand new armchair for £50 – but it’s £810 full price[/caption]

Penny Bennett

Her artificial plants are all off Facebook Marketplace[/caption]

Penny Bennett

Penny recently bought nine framed pictures for £14 from a pub which was being done up[/caption]

Penny Bennett

Penny gets a ‘buzz’ from finding a bargain[/caption]

“I got a chrome and leather chair for £50 brand new, from a lady who works dressing show homes.

“I knew it was worth a lot more and managed to find it on the internet for £810.

“There’s a Second Chance furniture place in town, I got some massive crocodile effect cushions for £2 and an artificial plant there for 50p, all brand new.

“A lady messaged me and ask if I’d like to swap rugs, so I got her cow skin rug effectively for £40 – which is what I paid for my old one.

“And a manor house up the road was refurbishing so I got a proper wild boar skin rug for £40. Those rugs would’ve cost £200 and £250 new.

You do a get buzz from buying something that is an absolute steal and looks fantastic as well

Penny Bennett40

“I bought a few things from pubs during lockdown, who were also refurbishing.

“I paid £14 for nine picture, all in frames, from one – which I could probably sell on for £10 a piece.

“I wasn’t 100 per cent on some of the pictures, so I just dismantled them and painted the mount and frame.

“The landlord said ‘I was going to put them in the skip’. Although I have got things out of skips before. It’s just about thinking outside the box.”

Penny Bennett

Penny got into bargain furniture hunting when she ran a business selling on sofas for profit[/caption]

Penny Bennett

Penny’s lantern was from a skip, while her shelves cost £7 and are normally used to keep fences up[/caption]

Penny honed her eye for a bargain four years ago, when she was selling second-hand furniture on for profit.

She said: “I used to buy Chesterfield sofas and things, old ones, and sell them on. That’s maybe where I’ve got the eye from.

“I bought a sofa before for £300 and sold it for £1,500 – that’s one of my best ever bargains.”

Penny's tips for finding a bargain

  1. Always keep your eye out – even for bargains in skips or on the side of the road.
  2. Visit tip shops and garage/church/car boot sales.
  3. Search Facebook Marketplace twice-a-day for your best local deals.
  4. Visit Second Chance charity shops for brand new bits which have been donated.
  5. If you’re changing things up, sell on your old furniture to put towards the new stuff.
  6. If something’s great value but a bit of a trip, you can rent a man with a van for £40.
  7. Repurpose functional materials for stuff like your shelving.
  8. Never buy anything brand new, apart from your mattresses and washing machine.

Explaining her thrifty attitude, Penny said: “I haven’t been employed for about 18 months so I do live on a really tight budget.

“Everything at home is second-hand, barring my washing machine and mattresses, although the beds themselves are not new. I bought my fridge and freezer online too.

“I know what’s quality and what’s not, so I tend to find things and friends say ‘oh where’s that from?’ because it looks high end, but I say ‘Marketplace’ or ‘the tip shop’.

“When people compliment you on things, you can say ‘it only cost me 50p’.

“It’s just about looking and knowing if it’s a good deal. You do a get buzz from buying something that is an absolute steal and looks fantastic as well.

“I get frustrated when you go round someone’s house and they say ‘do you like my new sofa? It was £2,000’.

“I’m thinking ‘even if I had that money, I couldn’t justify spending it on one sofa, because I know there’s bargains to be had’.

Penny Bennett

Penny’s mattress was new but he bedframe was a second-hand bargain – like everything else[/caption]

Penny Bennett

Penny loves the dark decor and says it’s ‘calming’[/caption]

“Sometimes if someone’s advertising something on eBay and they start bidding at £0, I’ll message and say ‘have you got a price in mind please?’ You can get an absolute bargain that way.

“I’m never cheeky though, I won’t offer a seller a fiver if I know I’m ripping them off.

“You’ve just got to be creative. People advertise online when they’re having a garage sale.

“I haven’t been to a car boot sale in years but you get absolute steals there. The church round the corner has bring and buy sales too.

“I think Marketplace is the way forward. It picks up your location which is good because I don’t like driving very far.

“But if you do see something on eBay or Marketplace which is really cheap, you can pay AnyVan £40 to collect and it’s still an absolute bargain. I’ve done that before.

“The big gold mirror in my living room was £20 off Marketplace.

“The concrete shelves next to my fireplace are actually gravel boards you’d put a fence up with, that I’ve had cut and used as shelves.

“They were about £7 each. You’ve got to use things for different purposes.”

Even if I had £2,000, I couldn’t justify spending it on one sofa, because I know there’s bargains to be had

Penny Bennett40

After spending three months searching for budget buys, Penny thinks she’s just about done.

She said: “This recent makeover was done during lockdown – I’ve been constantly sourcing things and picking them up.

“I tend to have a look on Facebook for an hour in the morning when I wake up, then I’ll spend half an hour in the evening.

“Sometimes I’ll buy something then paint or spray it, because it might not be the right colour.

“I really like how my home looks now, it’s dark but it’s calming and I think the black makes all your furniture stand out.

“So I’m pretty much done for now, although I’ve got my stairs and landing still to do.

“It can become quite addictive when you know there’s bargains to be had.”


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