Furnishing Your New Home On A Budget…

I’m in the process of buying a new home, moving from a shoebox of an apartment to a three bedroom, three bath ranch. In the midst of all that is involved with the process, such as securing loans, switching utility services, hiring movers, etc, there comes the problem of furnishing this new abode.

My apartment came with a refrigerator. My home doesn’t. No microwave either. I’m going to have to buy a new bed for my son’s room. Not to mention various desks, shelving, and end tables (the cubes looked nice and appropriately quirky in my apartment but I wouldn’t be caught dead with them in my house).

I’m also not made of money, and after seeing what you can end up spending on these items, I became convinced that I was going to have to exercise a little creativity to make this thing work. Here is what I came up with.

For starters, there is no law that says your kids have to have the best of everything. If you can afford a Tempur-Pedic mattress for your little darlings, more power to you. But at $1400 bucks for the entry level pop, I don’t think many of our kids will be sleeping on memory foam any time soon. Remember what it was like when we were kids? All we needed was a place to become horizontal when we got tired. A good twin bed can be had for less than $200 and your kids will be perfectly happy with it.

There is a difference between antique stores and used furniture stores. I recommend the latter. You can quite often find excellent pieces at more than reasonable prices. Antique stores are nice but only if you have considerable cash to spend and don’t want to risk anybody damaging the thing. The obvious problem is that is a used furniture store doesn’t have what you need, they can’t just make a call and get it. On the other hand, they might get it the next day, depending on what people bring along. So check back with these stores two or three times a week.

I’m not a huge fan of garage sales. As Jeff Foxworthy pointed out so well, “People are selling their used crap and we are crawling through it like we are going to find priceless treasures”. Amen. By the same token, while 90% of garage sale items are pretty much worthless, occasionally you can find decent pieces of furniture or even appliances. Some neighborhoods and subdivisions even sponsor community garage sales, where everyone holds a sale on the same day. The result? One stop shopping. It may require getting up with the sun on a Saturday morning to find the good stuff, but it can be worth it.

One word. CraigsList. Or is that two words? Whatever. Many excellent deals can be found on CraigsList. I found a very nice refrigerator for under $300 (several of them, in fact), and we were able to furnish my daughter’s room with a desk, dresser, stool, end table, and mirror for $140. Not bad. Of course, dealing on CraigsList can have dire results, such as robbery at gunpoint. Always arrange to meet the person you are doing business with in a well-populated public place.

Also, spread the word among family and friends. You never know who has an end table, or a dresser, or a stool that they are just wanting to get rid off. My ex-wife managed to wrangle a chest from one of our neighbors that she proceeded to disassemble, strip down, prime, paint, and reassemble. Granted it probably would have been less expensive to just buy one, but you get the point.

You can also get decent furniture for a good price if you don’t mind assembling it yourself. I have a desk in my home office of my previous house that looks really impressive, and I am proud to say that I built myself. Of course I wouldn’t want to move it too many times. Screws and clamps work loose the more a piece is moved around, and you may eventually end up with some very wobbly pieces of furniture.

So there you are, some options for furnishing your house without breaking the proverbial bank. I’ve seen all these approaches work wonders, so it can be done. Now go therefore and make the house your home.

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