How to Steal a Lampshade
Well, I don't literally mean steal. I also don't literally mean lampshades, but that particular piece of lighting accoutrement serves as an excellent example of how one on a tight budget can approach shopping: "Shop to Steal". In other words, view browsing as an opportunity to be inspired and with that inspiration create!
Time and time again, I see overpriced items that I can't afford in stores and I think, "Hmph. Now really, I could make that!" And sometimes I do. Building upon this idea as an approach to shopping, however, didn't click until the other evening when I was plodding through my local Pier 1 store & saw that one of their latest things are feather & flower festooned lampshades:
Hmm...interesting, pretty perhaps. But expensive! Depending on the size & style these bedazzled bulb-holders go for around $20 (mini models) to over a $100! So, I'm looking at these and it hit me that the goo-gaws are merely held on by some sort of strong adhesive. Hardly Faberge Egg level of craftsmanship. An arty individual could most definitely make something similar (if not better) by buying a plain fabric shade and the desired materials: fabric dyes, beading, feather trim, whatever, and most definitely create something unique and striking for less than $100. Word of caution however: my first thought was that you could use a hot glue gun to affix items to the shade but bear in mind that this is something that will be placed near a hot electrical surface, so I would consult someone at your local craft or hardware store as to what materials would be the most effective and safe. A trip to a specialty lighting or home decor store could also prove helpful.
To recap: don't be afraid to branch out creatively and become a do-it-yourselfer. When you view shopping as an opportunity to "buy ideas", stumbling upon something you like but can't afford can be empowering instead of depressing.