Tracey O’Malley and partner Thomas Zwanink renovated their entire Sydney home buying second-hand items on Gumtree.
Tracey O’Malley and partner Thomas Zwanink renovated their entire Sydney home buying second-hand items on Gumtree.

Genius way couple saved $40k

EVERYONE knows home renovations don't come cheap - unless you happen to be Tracey O'Malley.

The western Sydney mother of two has managed to shave a staggering $40,000 off her home makeover bill - and she says it was surprisingly simple to do.

So far, Ms O'Malley and her partner Thomas Zwanink have managed to redo the bulk of their home just by buying second-hand items on buy, swap and sell site Gumtree.

And with more projects in the pipeline, the couple's savings are likely to soar even higher in the near future.

Ms O'Malley, who has been documenting the progress of the renovations on the Jade Place Makeover Facebook page, told news.com.au the pair's best bargain find had been a gas fireplace, which they picked up for just $200 but was actually worth $3700.

They even scored a spa for free, with the only catch being they had to pick it up themselves from Newcastle.

This kitchen cost just $2500 and only needed a coat of paint. Picture: Facebook
This kitchen cost just $2500 and only needed a coat of paint. Picture: Facebook

They also snagged an entire second-hand kitchen in near-perfect condition for for $2500 that they believe woudl be worth around $15,000.

Other items purchased for a song include tiles, doors, locks and stair risers - in other words, they bought almost "everything from floor to ceiling" second-hand, with most items in near-new condition for a fraction of the retail price.

"We did the whole house, we bought almost everything from Gumtree," Ms O'Malley said.

"We love it; every time you buy something, it has a story.

"We saved about $40,000 in terms of what we paid compared to what it would cost to buy new. It means we could do more with the money we saved."

This gas fireplace has been the couple's biggest bargain — so far. Picture: Facebook
This gas fireplace has been the couple's biggest bargain — so far. Picture: Facebook

The pair said they had always planned to "renovate the whole house on a conservative budget", but they had saved even more than originally expected.

"Buying second hand isn't new - we've been doing it our entire lives with things like cars and furniture, so why not apply it to renovating?" Ms O'Malley said.

"It's been fun searching for things and meeting people."

So far, the family home's laundry, kitchen, lounge room and entrance have already been completely renovated, with upstairs the next project in the couple's sights.

Ms O'Malley and Mr Zwanink's are part of a growing number of Aussies turning to our $34 billion second hand economy to either make or save serious coin.

Tracey O'Malley scored this spa for free. Picture: Facebook
Tracey O'Malley scored this spa for free. Picture: Facebook

According to Gumtree's 2018 Second Hand Economy report, the average Australian household contains around 25 unwanted or unused items.

That means most of us are sitting on an average goldmine of $4200 if we actually got around to selling our stuff - although the report also found around half of us are throwing unwanted items in the bin instead of selling them for profit.

The most commonly sold second hand items include clothing, shoes and accessories, books, music, DVDs and CDs, games and toys and electronics.

Gumtree Australia's general manager Martin Herbst said the second hand economy was good for the environment - and our bank balances.

The entrance has also been redone using second-hand items. Picture: Facebook
The entrance has also been redone using second-hand items. Picture: Facebook

"The second hand economy is a multi-billion dollar sub-economy which brings communities together, contributes to Aussie back pockets, supports not-for-profits and reduces waste from going to landfill. Any time you donate, swap, buy or sell a used or unwanted item, you're part of the second hand economy," he said.

The laundry is one of the rooms that has been made over on the cheap. Picture: Facebook
The laundry is one of the rooms that has been made over on the cheap. Picture: Facebook

"Our report lifts the lid on the increasing opportunity for Australians to make extra cash, extend the life of their unwanted items, and make a significant environmental impact along the way."



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