Furnish your home on a budget: How to do it
Furniture can be affordable if you know where to look. That’s good news, since the average renter spends $8,176 furnishing their apartment and homeowners spend even more.
The following tips can help you slash your furniture spending by hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Create a Wish List and Budget
A wish list and budget will keep you from making impulse purchases in your excitement over your new home. The process may be daunting, but you can tackle it in several simple steps.
Step One – Brainstorm
Open your mind to all the possibilities for your new home. List every piece of furniture you can think of so you can whittle down your options later.
Step Two – Narrow
- Which rooms you’ll need to furnish first, or
- The pieces of furniture you’ll need right away
For example, is it more important for you to have a furnished living or dining room? Will you need a bed or recliner on day one in your new home?
Step Three – Budget
Once you’ve put your list in order, you’ll need to figure out how much you can afford to allocate to furniture shopping. This will depend on your specific financial situation, but your furniture budget could be:
- 10 to 50 percent of your home’s purchase price
- The money you have beyond your three-month savings
Whatever budget you choose, don’t break the rules! Your future self will thank you for slowing down or purchasing cheaper items instead of splurging.
Shop at the Right Places
Buying used is one of the easiest ways to save money on home furnishings. There are countless ways to buy quality used furniture that looks just as good as the brand-new stuff. Here are just a few places to look:
- Facebook Marketplace
- Thrift stores
- Estate sales
Even though used furniture is cheaper, you still want to be selective. Be sure to inspect furniture for stains and pests – or better yet, buy sofas, mattresses and upholstered items new.
Many people are willing to give away free furniture to get it off their hands:
- Watch for furniture placed on the curb or by the dumpster – but be wary and inspect carefully before bringing it into your home
- Visit a local college on move-out day
- Ask friends and family for unwanted hand-me-downs
- Check online sites like Freecycle.org
Some free furniture won’t make sense for your home, but you may be able to find a staple piece or two.
New but Slightly Damaged Furniture
Ask to see the scratched and dented furniture when visiting big-box stores. They will usually offer steep discounts for damaged display furniture in near-new condition.
When shopping online, inspect your furniture for missing parts or signs of damage upon delivery. Online retailers will often refund part of your purchase or send you another piece of furniture if you report the problem with pictures of the damage.
Look for Deals and Discounts
Pay in Cash
Request a discount if you pay by cash or check. This can make a huge difference for a larger purchase like a mattress or couch. If at all possible, avoid 0 percent APR financing, as many customers fall victim to astronomical interest rates once the grace period for repayment expires.
Shop Sales or Use Coupons
Sales and coupons can save you money if you limit your search to specific items. Check your snail mail for new resident coupons from IKEA, Home Depot, Target and the like.
Pick It Up Yourself
Most stores charge delivery fees of $100 or more for larger items. It’s often cheaper to rent a truck for the day and pick up the furniture yourself.
Take Your Time
Furnishing your home should be a slow and steady process where you acquire the pieces you need to feel comfortable in your new home. By taking your time, you’ll ensure each piece you choose:
- Is a bargain
- Matches your style, and/or
- Lasts a lifetime
Taking your time also allows you to comparison price shop. It can take a few weeks or months to find a wow-worthy steal on Craigslist or at a thrift store.
If you rush instead, you’ll end up with a hodgepodge of mismatched furniture that you’ll want to get rid of in a year’s time.
Debt Management and Credit Counseling With American Financial Solutions
Furniture shopping is difficult enough as is, but it becomes more complicated when you already have looming credit card debt. Fortunately, it is still possible to furnish your home with some financial guidance.
At American Financial Solutions, we offer free credit counseling and affordable debt management plans to those who are struggling to make ends meet. We have already helped 400,000 clients pay off more than $8 billion in debt since our founding in 1999. Call us at (888) 864-8548 today to get started.
Published Oct 10, 2018.