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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Build a Budget-Friendly Man Cave for Your Valentine!

Build a Budget-Friendly Man Cave for Your Valentine!

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, finding that so-called masculine gift for your man may fall to routine and repeated items like ties, tool kits, red sweaters, etc. And while these ideas may be fine for some, if you’re looking for something different though may not have the budget to spend $20,000 on a big renovation, these steps can help turn an ordinary room into the perfect space for your mucho macho man. After all, what man wouldn’t appreciate the kind of gift that encourages him to kick back, enjoy a beverage and snack from his fully-stocked mini-fridge or undercounter Kegerator, watch the game with friends, play some video games or simply close the door and feel like king of the castle—even if the castle is a two-bedroom, fourth floor walk-up above Sam’s Pizza!

For starters, a large, dedicated room or huge, unused basement space is not necessarily a prerequisite for the ultimate man cave if you don’t have one. The challenge is to make the most of whatever space you have. An extra bedroom, den, laundry room, storage room, rarely used home office, garage, etc. can all be commandeered and reasonably transformed into man space, especially because your man will not be using it for entertaining 24/7.

Next, is your man a fan, and if so, how much so? Do the Pittsburgh Steelers steal his heart (next to you, of course)? Does the mere mention of Tom Brady give him the equivalent of a real sugar rush? Does he secretly reserve his place on the Montreal Canadiens during a rousing game of air hockey? In addition to collector’s stores and resourceful websites such as www.mancaveplanet.com and www.authenticsportscollectibles.com, you may be surprised at how many neighborhood pawn and thrift shops carry local and national team memorabilia and “mantiques,” or collectibles that appeal to members of the masculine persuasion, along with old standby’s like air hockey games. In addition, team logos-cum-light fixtures may also be available and will look great behind the omnipresent bar. And you can always go online to purchase sports jerseys of favorite teams to hang on the walls.

Bars don’t have to be highly expensive either, not when used furniture stores, thrift stores, and online sites like eBay and craigslist feature used items, sometimes for a fraction of their original cost. Or, if you’re lucky enough to have a handy neighbor, friend, relative or even your child’s woodworking teacher and can supply the materials, it might be possible to design one to your specifications and not break the bank. Hardware stores and places like The Home Depot and Lowe’s are also a good source of ready labor, if you hang around long enough (just be sure to check references).

Comfortable furniture may be acquired from used furniture and thrift shops, garage sales, craigslist, etc. As most man caves are dedicated to playing and watching games, acquiring worn items shouldn’t be an issue as they probably won’t be closely scrutinized. If your man is fussier than most, a few inexpensive slip covers or strategically-placed blankets and versatile throws should solve the problem (and wash easily when spills occur).

To personalize your man space, depending on his preferences and the amount of room you have, a fish tank, dart board, and even an item like a punching bag can be installed. An old table that can serve as game space for poker or just setting up a game day feast can usually be found at the aforementioned venues. And if your guy appreciates the finer things in life such as the occasional cigar, believe it or not a small humidor can be constructed using an airtight container, thermometer and hydrometer (starting at $5-10), and by consulting online sites like www.ehow.com for the basics. Or, you can cull through sites like eBay to purchase larger, already assembled used ones, some available for as little as $75.

Finally, let’s face it, no man cave is complete without a TV, which, especially if you are going for the flat screen, could be your biggest investment. This idea works best if you are fortunate enough to be on the hunt for a new one for the family anyway, whereby you can relocate the older screen to the new man cave. If not, and if a more conventional, older box-style TV might do, again there are usually postings on craigslist and other sites where locals go to sell their wares at reduced prices. Thrift stores may also have them. Just make sure if it is used that it’s in optimal working order, because no one wants a man cave where the “big game” implies an afternoon of beer pong.

Whatever you do, on a larger or smaller scale, a man cave for your significant other is the gift that keeps on giving through football, basketball, hockey, and baseball seasons (in other words it’s a gift for all seasons!). And who knows—your man could actually think about you every time he turns on ESPN!

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If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.