Frugal Living: How to Save Money on Furniture

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Furnishing your apartment is one of the largest upfront expenses you’ll encounter when moving into an apartment. When it comes to frugal living, you’ll want to be thrifty and resourceful in accumulating everything you need to make your place feel like home. You can save money on furniture if you practice some restraint and use a little creativity.

You Can’t Be Picky

You’ll be better off if you resign to the fact now that your apartment isn’t going to mimic the latest spread in Elle Decor. You can be chic and frugal at the same time, but setting your expectations too high is bound to result in disappointment when you have limited funds. In most cases, great furniture and great decor are going to cost at least a moderate amount of money, so be prepared to settle in some cases.

See What You Can Get For Free First

You may feel cheap asking for a handout, but part of being frugal is being resourceful. Check around with family and friends to see if anyone has an extra piece of furniture they’re willing to give or lend to you. Often times people have spare or unused furniture in their possession and will be happy to rid of it–if not for free, for little cost. A free end table here and a shelf there will make your dollars stretch further on larger items you’ll need to furnish.

Scour Craigslist and Thrift Stores for Deals

With patience and perseverance, you can find some amazingly good deals on used furniture. Check Craigslist several times a day for new listings. Visit several of your local thrift stores on a weekly basis to see if you can find any steals. If time is of any issue, enlist friends and family to help. Ask them to be on the lookout for specific items in your price range.

Look for Close-Out Items

In most cases, buying used furniture will be cheaper than purchasing something new. However, you can find great deals if you’re willing to furnish your apartment with irregular or close-out items. The key is to look for items without serious flaws. A gash in the leg of a table may not be a deal breaker, but a broken recliner chair may be. When looking for new furniture and trying to save money, clearance items and irregulars are your best bet.

Buy New Furniture Unassembled

Ikea is the go-to store for inexpensive “assemble yourself”  furnishings. Furniture is much cheaper when you have to transport it to your apartment and put it together on your own. Stores like Target and Walmart also sell unassembled furniture for reasonable prices. If you have the time and patience (or have some nice friends who do), you can obtain some new pieces for your apartment at a fraction of the cost you’d pay for something delivered in one piece. Keep in mind the quality of this furniture may not be comparable to furniture sold in a showroom, but we’re looking for affordability here, not top quality.

Furnishing your apartment on a limited budget is not impossible. Take the time to search for good deals, and your frugal abode will come together nicely.


Rachael Weiner: I’m a communications professional for a non-profit, which financially necessitates my status as an apartment dweller. Constantly “on-the-go,” I’ve resided in five different apartments across the United States over the past five years. Roommate issues, budgeting, organizing and handling problem neighbors are my specialty.

One Response to “Frugal Living: How to Save Money on Furniture”

  1. September 09, 2009 at 2:16 pm, Sarah said:

    Go to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore – look it up in your yellowpages; they are awesome for used home furnishings, even things like decor, tile, wallpaper, paint, etc.


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