Moving in to your first apartment during college or just sprucing up your dorm room is one of the fun parts of growing up and being on your own. However, limited budgets can seem to keep your abode looking and feeling less like the haven you want it to be. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your living situation if you have just a few bucks to spend.
Resale shops are one of the best ways to get great furniture that is within your budget. Oftentimes, people just want to redecorate and end up selling their furniture for ridiculously low prices at these kind of stores. Consignment resale shops might be more expensive if the previous owner receives a cut of the sale. Prices are often higher so that the store owner can maximize their own profit on the pieces you buy. Resale charity shops, however, typically don’t split profits with the original owners. The items are simply donated and then all proceeds from the sale given to charity. It’s a great way to get your furniture cheap while doing something good for your community!
Garage sales are often forgotten by students simply because it requires a little more digging. Check the local paper to find upcoming sales. If they include an email or phone number, let them know you are a student who’d like to know what furniture items they have for sale as well as the price. Don’t be afraid to negotiate! It’s a rule of thumb to negotiate pricing. Be sure you don’t insult the host by offering something too low. If a table is going for $50, for example, simply ask if they would take $30 for it. Likely they will either say yes or offer something in the middle. If you purchase multiple items, that is a great bargaining chip, too. If you buy three things, ask if they can throw in one or ask for a lower price for all three together.
Craigslist is great not only for upcoming garage sales but also for furniture. Choose only ones with photos or email the owners for multiple photos and ask for specific angles. Make sure that they tell you all defects and use that in determining the price you think it is worth to pay. Use the same tips with garage sales in bargaining and be sure you have the final prices in an email and print out when you go take a look at the furniture.
With any listing, garage sale or not, where you are visiting the person’s home, NEVER go alone and be sure you bring a guy friend or group with you. If you don’t feel safe as you approach the person’s home or they seem to creep you out in their response or voice, trust your instinct and look elsewhere. Never give out where you live and be sure to let them know you are bringing a group with you. Just to be safe, let others not going with you know where you are going. Happy hunting!