Furnish Your First Place for Little to Nothing
After years of having to put up with parents, siblings, and roommates, you are FINALLY moving out and getting a place to call your own. I know when I got my first apartment, visions of Pottery Barn displays and Pinterest images filled my head.
Then as if a dream, I woke up to realize that I was a new college grad and I could only afford a plate at Pottery Barn- forget the whole set! It was a blessing in disguise, because life experience has now taught me that beer gets spilled on couches, and pans get ruined when you don’t know how to cook. Who knew?!
Before you go blowing your budget on new pretty things to fill your first place, save yourself some money by using this method: first free, second secondhand, third thrifty. You’ll be glad you did when your debts are paid, and you have more money to spend on higher quality things later.
Think of it like a pyramid. First free is the base and your starting point. Round up as much free stuff as you can before you do anything else! Look around your parent’s house (with their permission) for extra furniture and kitchen ware. If they need a little convincing to part with items, kindly point out they’ll get to replace and upgrade what you take off their hands.
You may think I’m joking, but if you know any relatives who have recently passed away or your Grandma has moved into a nursing home- their loss can be your gain. Be respectful and tactful, and you’ll be helping them (and you) by finding a new home for their treasures. And finally, friends and older siblings are also a good source to ask for any items they want to get rid of.
After you’ve scouted all the free stuff you can find from your family and friends, it’s time to start shopping other people’s stuff. Stop at all garage sales, flea markets, antique malls for great (and cheap) finds! Auction and estate sales sites like Everything But the House and Bid FTA are also good sources for second hand stuff. Don’t forget your online marketplaces too, such as Craigslist and Facebook.
As a last resort buy new but inexpensive. Some assembly and the ability to read picture diagrams will be required to find deals on new and cheap home goods. Speaking of home goods, you can find some gems if you have time to search at discount stores like Big Lot’s, Ollie’s, and TJ Maxx (and Home Goods). And you can always DIY to create Pinterest perfect looks by shopping at Michael’s and doctoring up your secondhand finds!
Learn from my mistakes, and learn how to cook quickly, but also save your money and your HGTV dream house for later. After all, that’s what getting married is for -so you register for everything you want and let other people pay for it!