This is an excerpts from ‘ The modern Priscilla’, September 1901 regarding the art of shopping for the home, the article is over 110 years old, but the counsel is just as sound today as it was at the beginning of last century.
The art of shopping for the home
by Marjorie March
It has been said, that only the rich can afford to be economical, and alas, it is only too true in many ways. The woman of means – will make her furnishings last twice as long as those of her poorer sister, partly because the materials may be better in the beginning, but the probabilities are that , article for article, the rich woman’s choice cost less, because she could buy it when she saw a good opportunity, and did not have to wait until she was forced to get it in season or out of season.
Bargains the watchful shopper can and will get if she is on the lookout for them. There is an art in shopping. Some women are born with this gift, other acquire it , and still others go blindly through the world paying always the highest prices, and getting the ugliest and worst for their money.
I have a friend whose home is a dream of beauty, It is well arranged, well provided for ,and all its furnishings are the best of their kind, yet her purse is limited, and her allowance for house furnishing would surprise many a woman who spends double the amount. She is not at all jealous of her secrets. ‘I did not find it out all at once’, she says laughing.
Every housekeeper should have her allowance for the home expenditures; then, knowing the sum she has to spend, she can be cautious in its outlay. Spending twenty-five cents car fare to get an advertised article ‘ten cents cheaper’, is not such folly I advocate!
For instance, buy ‘out of season’; if one has the necessary ready money and the storage room, the saving in expenditure is not to be lightly estimated.
Auctions are a real way of saving money, and one often finds real bargains. The up-to-date second hand store offers everything in the line of furnishing, and while I do not advocate filling one’s house with old rubbish, anyone can find, from time to time, the article that one wishes in perfect condition with a second-hand price.
If one can combine judgment with originality of purpose, good taste with careful foresight, and judicious handling of the purse strings, this method of house furnishing is more interesting, more satisfactory in result, and cheaper, But if one buys a thing merely because it seems cheap, with no method in the buying, the pick-up style of shopping will result in foolishness and extravagance.
A few rules in the art of buying for the home might be laid down thus: Never buy a cheap poor article. No matter if the price be larger or small, let the article be the best of its kind. Strive for originality in the house furnishing; do not aim at someone else’s style. Have plans of your own, and if your income admits the possibility, carry it into effect.
Be observing, and chance bits of real beauty will come to your eyes and home, and surely the home – should be near and dear to everyone’s heart. Not a place for show or merely to dwell in, but a place to surround ourselves with all that is beautiful, artistic, comfortable, and restful to body and mind.
|Modern Priscilla, September 1901|