Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Furnish Your Home on a Budget

Let’s face it – you need furniture. Sure, you can cut corners by going Japanese and using your coffee table as the dining table, or by transforming your living room into a Middle Eastern pillow lounge. But in the end, you’ll need at least a few basic pieces of furniture, even for the most spartan of living conditions. Don’t worry – saving money on your furniture is easy and doesn't mean sacrificing the quality of the product. Just follow some of these easy guidelines.
Look for furniture on sale

This might seem a little obvious, but if you really put the effort into sniffing out the best sales, you could save a bundle on furniture. More often than not, the best deals on furniture come every January and July. And if you’re looking for outdoor furniture, August is best.
o check back at the end of every month. The majority of the furniture companies function on monthly basis – computing their sales, releasing their promotions and introducing new furniture. There may be certain items that won't be offered the following month, so these lines of products may be offered at a very low price. And since most of the furniture companies pay sales people on commission, they’ll be a little more desperate to make the sale when the month is running out.
Apply for the credit card being offered by the furniture shop

This is a tricky one. You can get a great deal on your furniture purchase with the retailer’s in-store credit cards. Depending on the store and the sale, you may be able to reduce or eliminate your interest payments and sales tax, or you may be offered a special discount available only to cardholders. All you have to do is apply for this credit card and you can get discounts on anything you want.

But be careful when using this strategy. The temptation is to spend beyond your means just because you have the available credit. Read the fine print of the terms and conditions carefully. If you’re confident you can pay off your bill in the allotted time, then you’ll be fine. If not, be careful – interest rates after your introductory period may jump as high as $25%!

Search online

If you’ve seen a certain piece of furniture you like in a store near you or in your favorite magazine, check the internet for a better price. Get as much information about the manufacturer and the piece name and Google it – you may be able to find some deep discounts. But don’t forget to check the shipping rates and taxes that may be applied to your purchase or you might not be saving as much as you think.

Buy used furniture

Buying second-hand is great because it saves you money and reuses materials that might otherwise wind up in the landfill. Check your telephone book for local thrift shops, reuse centers or charity shops. Be creative! If you find a nice sturdy couch you love, but the fabric’s worn thin, you can have it reupholstered or covered in new slipcovers.

If you live near a college town (especially a wealthy college town), you’re in luck. Watch the thrift stores extra closely each spring around move-out time – you’ll be amazed at the things students will leave behind. Better yet, if you know someone who will be moving soon, offer to take that old piece of furniture off their hands. They may be so excited not to have to deal with moving it themselves that you’ll get a great price, or even a free piece of furniture. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way to your very own, fully furnished home.

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Sarah Russell, aka "The Sexy Secretary," is a connoisseur of living the good life on a budget. Check out her website at for more fabulous ideas on how to trim down your expenses without reducing your quality of life.

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