It might be time to ditch your parents’ old couch, but you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on matchy-matchy furniture to fulfill some Pinterest pipe dream. Whether you’re decking out your first bachelor pad or upgrading your well-worn furniture, here’s how to get what you want for less.
Establish a budget
Remember, you don’t have to buy everything at once. Start by evaluating your short and long-term needs vs. wants. A sturdy couch? Yes. A chic lamp that costs twice your monthly rent? Probably not necessary. By knowing what you’re looking for, you’re less likely to buy things you don’t need that just add clutter to your home. Decide on the areas where want to splurge and save, and set a budget proportional to your income and any existing or planned savings (more on that below).
Shop before you buy
Do some thorough research both in stores and online to get a sense of the price points of the styles, features, materials, and brands you like. Stick to neutrals colours for larger pieces and stay away from fad trends that you’ll be sick of by next season. When pricing larger items, remember to factor in taxes and delivery fees.
Open a designated savings account
Never, ever depend on credit for large purchases – saving up and paying cash means you’re less likely to overspend. Opening a high interest savings account dedicated to a specific goal makes it easier to track your progress, and makes it less tempting to spend that money on something else. Divide your overall budget by the number of months you plan to save (ie. $1,000 / four months = $250/month). The best credit cards can net you serious points, miles, or cash back on large purchases, but you should only pay with a credit card if you can immediately pay off the full balance with money from your savings fund.
Don’t pay full price
Before shelling out top-dollar for that perfect piece, search the brand and model name/number and scour online for a better price. Shop holiday and end-of-season furniture sales, which tend to be in January and July. You can also shop browse discount sites such as Wayfair or Overstock, or buy second-hand through Craigslist or Kijiji, estate sales, and flea markets. These options are more of a crapshoot if you’re looking for something very specific, but are also great for unique finds. Can’t find it for less? Watch the item like a hawk and wait for a sale.
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