10 Years of Blog Archive

Monday, January 16, 2012

We Made Our Own Light Covers and Saved Hundreds of Dollars!

We Saved Hundreds of Dollars Making our Own Light Covers!

Part of being frugal is trying to find ways to make do with something for a lot less. People often liken frugality to being cheap but they are two different things. Being frugal does not mean going without something or even having something inferior, it just means getting something you need or want for less through other means than spending a bunch of money. 

And this is where creativity comes in. And thankfully we have been blessed with sons that are creative and enjoy working with their hands. Here in Ecuador when you rent a house or apartment it usually will not come with light fixtures, and if it does have light fixtures than you’re paying for them in rent, just as furnished houses or apartments will cost a lot more than ones without furniture. 

We knew about there being no light fixtures in Ecuador before we came here and never gave it too much thought until we rented a house and didn’t like seeing the dangling wires and light bulbs hanging from all over the ceiling. Not to mention the incessant glare of the light bulbs not having a shade cover around them can be annoying. 

Alex, our youngest son suddenly got a surge of creativity within him and he made an Asian Style light cover with a couple of place mats and some other wooden implements we had lying around the house.  In this video, Alex shows you what the light covers look like.

We liked the way they looked so much that Alex and Brandon made light shades for the rest of the dangling light bulbs in the house. It looks so much better than a bunch of wires hanging out of the ceiling. 

When you are only renting, it doesn’t make much sense to spend hundreds of dollars on light fixtures. It is not something we are willing to do. But making them ourselves and saving lots of money is something we are willing to do. And that’s what we did. Now we do not have to look at dangling wires and the ugliness and glare of light bulbs in our face. 


  1. I like it, but --


    Why not make the lampshades/fixtures available yourselves and sell them in Cuenca at a little market stall with a big picture showing Before without lampshade/fixture over the ugly bulb and then --

    after -- with the lampshade/fixture covering the ugly bulb?!

    It sounds like the people of Cuenca might be able to use something like this -- that doesn't have a huge price tag...an affordable solution to ugly light bulbs.

    Here's a hint:

    Paint them in the type of bright colors they like there...

  2. I agree with Nick. You have the potential to make a little side income there. You could try selling a few on consignment with some of the street vendors that way they don't have to pay to carry them at their expense "at first" (which might make for a hard sell).

    Once they catch on and the demand is there you can change marketing tactics. I'll bet there would be a great market all along the coast.

    Don't forget restaurants, and night clubs. Also shops that women frequent since they will be the ones that will be drawn to something like that the most, and they will want to show them off to all their friends.

    Start small and test the waters, but I think it has a lot of potential. Go for it.

  3. Thanks a lot guys. Your comments are always appreciated.
    Uh, but, well, let's see...are you saying -- uh -- you don't want to -- uh-- build your own lamps? (;-) ...where have all the frugal self sufficient folk gone? Sigh...(with a grin)

  4. One of the key things to understand about moving to somewhere like Cuenca is the economic differences.

    Is you move somewhere to, among other things, take advantage of the cheaper cost of living this has ramifications.

    Anything to do with labour, including making your own furniture and lamps typically needs to compete in the local market economic space.

    Meaning the price they could sell such things for would likely not cover the cost of materials let alone any labour cost.

    Generally you cannot play both sides. If you move somewhere to take advantage of the lower cost of services and you want to work in the local economy, your services will need to compete.

    To be successful you would either need to provide a nich service to the expat market or provide your services to something other than the local economic market.

    It is not surprising that most people working abroad in locations like this do work for North American companies/economic markets remotely and are internet dependant.



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