Retirement – Week 1: How I saved about $2,000 on 2 projects

It drives Mark crazy when I say that I “saved money” when actually I spent it.  However, in this case, we really did save money.  Our family needed a full-time manager, so I volunteered.  And, like most of the unpaid workers of the world, I’ve never been busier.  There are some projects that I would like to attempt while staying home, and I have convinced myself that one of the major components of my success is the perfect “project desk.”  Several friends and relatives own the creme de la creme of such desks, the Pottery Barn Bedford Desk:

Pottery Barn Bedford Desk

At 36 inches tall it is several inches taller than a regular desk.  This piece of furniture also has storage cubbies for project supplies.  In short, it is perfect for my needs.  It is currently on sale for $1,099.00 plus shipping.  That is a bit pricey for our downsized budget, so I searched for a more financially feasible solution.   Here is what I came up with:

The desk is essentially two book cases with a table top.  So, I found similarly sized cubby-cases by Martha Stewart (exlusively for Home Depot) for $44.97 each.  Not all the cubbies have a back, so if you want to purchase the cloth baskets for the open cubbies, those are $6.87 each.  To  make the table top, I purchased 3 Rubbermaid brand closet shelves in Espresso for $9.36 each.  Total cost of this desk including the baskets is $172.98 plus sales tax.  I “saved” the entire price of the catalog model because shipping was $250.00. 

Less expensive craft desk

The top of my home-made desk isn’t as finished as the catalog model, because I had to screw the top pieces in, but the difference in price more than compensates for the slight imperfection.  My boards didn’t quite cover the entire top, so I will look for a piece of quarter-round or other inexpensive molding that I can use to fill in the remaining edge and stain it to match.

Top View of project desk

The second project is the one with the “real” savings.  When we did a complete kitchen remodel 3 years ago, we installed a Bosch stainless steel microwave and trim kit.  It was beautiful and made me happy every day that I used it, until it quit working.  We had it repaired once and then it croaked again.  In order to replace it we would need not only a new microwave, but also a new trim kit, because that model had been discontinued.  So, we ordered them both for a total cost of about $900 (600 for the oven and 300 for the kit).   It wouldn’t fit in the hole.  So, we returned them.  I bought some trim and decorative molding and my sister’s old microwave.  For less than $300 this is what it looks like now:

Kitchen Trim around microwave

It took all afternoon to figure out how to start a blog and post this article.  Now it’s time for the kids to come home from school.  Hope everyone has a great week.

About Laura Alford, PhD

I'm a recent graduate of LSU (PhD in Accounting). In addition to academic research, I also write fiction on Tuesday nights with the Asilomar Writers.
This entry was posted in DIY Project, Home Improvement, Saving Money, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Retirement – Week 1: How I saved about $2,000 on 2 projects

  1. Stacey says:


    Love the blog! I have one, too, mostly about Eden. I think about you often around Baton Rouge, remembering all the fun times we had.


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