Saving on furnishings
Furniture costs can add up fast, especially if you’re just starting out. Options to help you save money include:
- Ask friends: Tell family, friends, classmates, and coworkers that you're looking for furniture. People will often direct you to someone they know who's trying to sell or give away furnishings.
- Buy used: Instead of buying new furniture, you can save considerably by buying used items from thrift and consignment stores. You may be able to find excellent values through garage sales and flea markets. And don't forget to search newspaper classifieds and Internet community sites.
- Reconsider top-of-the-line items: If you're planning to make an expensive purchase, think carefully first. Do you really need the flat screen TV? More than likely, a less-expensive version will suit your needs just fine for now.
- Use consumer ratings: Consumer organizations often provide ratings on commonly used consumer items. These ratings can help you distinguish which items provide the best value for your money. Sometimes, more expensive items contain features that you may never use. Before making a large purchase, research to see how other consumers rate the item's value.
Avoiding rent-to-own stores
Some furniture companies offer rent-to-own plans for buying furniture. With rent-to-own, you make monthly rent payments on your furniture. After a certain number of payments, the furniture is yours to keep.
Rent-to-own plans usually aren't bargains. The monthly payments end up costing you much more than it would to buy the item outright. For instance, an item that sells for $300 might cost you $700 after 24 monthly payments. This is because the payments don't stop when they add up to the original cost of the item; the agreement is made on the number of payments, not the actual cost of the item. You're better off saving for what you want—and paying the lower price. Click here for an example of how rent-to-own plans work.