Free or Cheap Furniture

Posted by T | 10:15 PM | 0 comments »

One of the biggest expenses in any home is furnishing it. If you're like me, it's expensive enough just paying the rent, let alone plunking down a few hundred...or thousand...dollars for furniture. So what do you do if you need a place to sit while you watch The Jerry Springer Show in your living room and you only have limited funds?

Here are a few ideas I have actually used to furnish my home for next to nothing:

1. Rent-to-Own Stores. I don't means you should actually rent your furniture, although I suppose that is an option. The problem with renting to own your furniture is that the interest rates at these places will force you to spend much more money than the furniture is worth. What I do is go to these stores and find used furniture that is being discontinued and sold as a clearance item by the store. There is a rent to own place near my home that sells discontinued items all the time. A couple of years ago I bought a sofa and love seat for $160...and they delivered it to my house for free. The furniture looks new, and it is still sitting in my living room today.

2. Garage sales. It's man's junk is another man's treasure. I have found some great pieces at garage sales, especially at homes where the owner is moving and just wants to get rid of their stuff, rather than hauling it to their new house. Last summer, I purchased a glass-topped metal framed coffee table for $25. I have also purchased furniture at a garage sale for a song, brought it home, and sold it at my own garage sale for a profit. The table and four chairs on my patio cost me a grand total of five dollars.

3. Curbside shopping. Technically, I guess you would call this trash, but I have actually found some pretty cool stuff just sitting on the curb in front of someone's house on garbage day. Often, there is nothing wrong with the items sitting on the curb...the owner just doesn't want it anymore. It's amazing to me the stuff that people throw away rather than try to sell it or put it on eBay. I recently got two futon mattresses for free because the occupant of the home was moving and didn't want to move them, so they threw them on the curb. Always ask the homeowner if they really are thowing out the item, and if they mind if you take it. 99.9 percent of the time they are thankful that you are getting it off of their front lawn. Helpful hint: check out the curbs and dumpster areas of local colleges on "move out day" at the dormitories. The amount of new and barely used items thrown away by college students moving back home for the summer is shocking.

4. Thrift stores. If you have a favorite thrift store in your neighborhood, find out which day their "new" items hit the sales floor. You can usually find some old, but still usable items at the thrift store. If you get really chummy with the store clerks, they will sometimes let you know when they get some really good items into the shop before they officially hit the floor.

5. Classifieds. Check out the classified ads in your local paper. They are full of "For Sale" items listing furniture that people are trying to unload. You can't exactly ship a sofa you sold on eBay, so the newspaper classifieds are still a good place to find a furniture bargain.

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