If you’re moving into your first apartment, chances are you’re just starting out in life. We all want a beautifully decorated home, but new furniture is prohibitively expensive and possibly not affordable at this time. Thankfully, you don’t have to pay full price to have high-quality furniture that lights up your living space. Here are some tips to furnish your first apartment without going broke in the process.
The first tip is to remain aware of how much you are able to spend when preparing for purchases. Remember that as nice as it is, other furniture is not required as long as you have a place to sleep. Make sure that your money, first and foremost, goes to necessary expenses like rent and groceries.
Second, take care to only spend money you know you have. It’s best to use your debit card; a credit card will make it harder to manage what you have and what you’ve spent. Also, keep in mind to budget furniture purchases and spread them out so they don’t become too much at once.
Focus on Thrifted and Antique Items
When looking for furniture sources, our minds naturally go to what makes the most sense — furniture stores. But with a little bit of exploration, you’ll find more affordable items of virtually the same quality from secondhand sellers. Thrift shops, antique stores, and outlets are likely to have desirable items at lower prices, often indistinguishable from new versions.
These items have in turn been given or sold by people who no longer had use for them, quality notwithstanding. This is all, of course, not to mention the eclectic styles and designs found only in such places. You’ll never see more truth in the old adage: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
Browse Online Marketplaces and Message Boards
Secondhand shops are naturally limited by what is in stock at the time of your visit. Browsing online is easier because of the essentially unlimited inventory to peruse — as long as you know where to look. If you have unique tastes that aren’t being fulfilled, you can certainly find the right place for them.
Popular websites for this kind of search include eBay, Etsy, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace. Most online marketplaces and message boards allow you to connect directly with sellers and make deals with them yourself. For your safety, it’s recommended to use one with buyer protections and not to meet anyone in a non-public place.
Use Price Trackers to Get the Best Deal
While you are primarily looking for used items online, you don’t necessarily need to avoid large retailer websites. In fact, with the right tools at your disposal, you might even find a better deal there. One vital tool is the online price tracker, which monitors the prices of your favorite items.
When the price lowers (either below a selected threshold, or at all), it will send you a notification or email. You can then do with this information what you please. Many trackers also show price history, store comparisons, and projections. Likewise beneficial are shopping extensions/apps that automatically enter coupon codes and give you rewards points when shopping online.
Keep Watch for Store Discounts
Good things come when you least expect them, so don’t turn a blind eye to advertisements you see each day. Occasionally, a promotional email will provide the value it promises or reveal a discount you weren’t previously aware of. Many online stores will give you new customer discounts after signing up for their newsletter or rewards program.
Both of these can further save you money as long as you ensure they are from the most affordable source. It doesn’t hurt to follow a business’s social media pages as well; they might advertise special discounts you’d otherwise miss. Patience and moderate restraint are key to making this effort worth your money.
Purchase Ready-To-Assemble (or Easy-To-Disassemble) Furniture
The cost of production of different types of furniture varies wildly depending on the source of materials, quality, and labor. Ready-to-assemble furniture sources circumvent higher costs by skipping assembly altogether and selling the items in pieces. These savings translate to the buyer in that you’re paying much less than you would elsewhere by building it yourself.
Not only do these products cost less, but, as a bonus, they are far easier to bring up the stairs. This is the part people often forget when buying furniture for an apartment — getting it inside! Instead of spending on movers for your couch, you and a friend can likely transport a ready-to-assemble one in its boxed state.
Coordinate With the Current Tenant, If Applicable
It’s common for people leaving small/difficult-to-reach apartments to avoid moving full-sized furniture by disassembling and throwing it out. If the place you’re moving into is still currently occupied, see whether you or the landlord can contact the current renter. To avoid doing the work, they might let you purchase it at a discount or have it for free.
The younger the tenants are or the higher-up the apartment, the more likely that it benefits both of you. Just remember to include the landlord in this process or inform them of any deals you make. There are often fees associated with leaving things behind after a lease is up, so make sure they are aware the furniture is now yours.
Making yourself a new home on a budget is not as impossible as it seems. In fact, there are enough solutions that you don’t ever need to worry about filling your place in due time. Before you know it, the space will be yours and yours alone in the most unique way. Best of all, you’ll still have money in the bank!