12 Ways to Get Good Furniture Cheap
By Allison Martin
Purchasing a home is a massive, yet exciting, undertaking. But what about all of the additional expenses that are part of the equation? Many homebuyers forget to account for them.
One of the most costly purchases, alongside major appliances, is furniture. It's a must-have, unless you don't mind passing time on the floor.
Fortunately, you don't have to go further into debt to make your new home cozy and aesthetically pleasing. Besides planning ahead, so you won't engage in impulse shopping, there are other ways to save a ton of money on furniture, both new and used.
1. Craigslist. You may be skeptical about shopping for furniture on Craigslist, so here's the trick: Search for listings in high-end areas to increase your chances of locating the high-caliber goods. Just be sure that the costs of repairs and cleaning, if necessary, don't add substantially to the purchase price.
Want to maximize your savings? Check out Freecycle.org for free furniture.
2. Reupholstering and refinishing. Do you actually need new furniture, or can you spruce things up with a face-lift? If the latter is true, try having your items reupholstered or refinished. The Internet is full of how-to tips and ideas, such as DIY Network. The staff at home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowe's are often full of advice on products and shortcuts.
Then recombine your upgraded furniture in your home with new décor, such as pillows, lamps and rugs.
Conduct an online search for interior design ideas and try visiting stores, such as HomeGoods, Marshalls and T.J. Maxx, to locate accent pieces and accessories. Small changes can make a huge difference and save you a ton of cash.
3. Moving sales, yard sales, estate sales. Is anyone in your area moving to another city? If not, check out individual and community garage sales to take advantage of bargains. The "everything must go" mentality is the key to the best deals.
And if you run across an estate sale, keep in mind that the best items go fast, says Apartment Therapy. However, "if you come after the rush (later in the day or the next day), you will feel less frazzled and are in a better position to haggle," the website says.
4. Going-out-of-business sales. The retailers must clear out the inventory and equipment in their facility before the doors officially close for good. If you have some flexibility, wait until the final weeks of operation to shop. Although selection may be limited, savings can be huge.
5. Thrift stores. The items are donated and quite likely will vary greatly in how gently used or abused they were. Still, you might find some great deals that can look like new with a little attention.
6. Discount furniture stores. In Florida, we have clearance centers, such as American Freight and Big Lots, which sell name-brand furniture at big discounts. The Rooms to Go Outlet also sells items with slight scratches and dents. Check to see if these stores or ones like them are in your area.
Also, your local furniture store may have great discounts on floor models and items that are a bit dinged.
7. Furniture swapping. No cash available for new furniture? Try trading with others (here comes Freecycle again) who have items that interest you. Another way to find partners is via Craigslist: The trick is to make sure what they are offering is comparable in terms of value to your goods.
8. Consignment shops. Furniture at these locations is usually decent enough to generate a profit for the shop, as well as some cash for the original owner. And the boutique shops sometimes carry high-end designer brands.
9. Special promotions. The best time to buy furniture is when stores have to make room for new inventory. The timing varies, but check holidays like Memorial Day and Veterans Day, plus the months of February and August. Hold off, and the price might drop even more.
Track the prices on your favorite pieces so you can pounce when there's a major mark down.
MarketWatch says the sale items are often at the back of the store, so that customers are forced to walk through the full-priced items to get there. Don't get distracted. Make a beeline for the discounted stuff.
10. Haggling. The advertised prices for furniture are not set in stone, and the store owner can easily drop the price and still make a decent profit. Says MarketWatch: "Most furniture retailers mark up their prices by about 80 percent (and in some cases more) to maximize profits."
11. Price matching. If you find something you like, find out if the store offers price matching for similar or identical products. Check around with competing stores for a lower price to present to the seller. (You can do this on your phone while standing in the store, which often prompts the furniture dealer to offer a lower price even if you don't find the same product elsewhere.)
12. Wholesalers. The inventory tends to turn over frequently, so pop in as often as you can to take a look. And if you see something you like, jump on it immediately. But be on the lookout for slightly damaged goods.
What tactics have you used to save big bucks on furniture? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.
Ari Cetron contributed to this post.
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