12 Ways to Slash the Cost of Furniture

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Couple relaxing on the couch
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Purchasing a home is a massive, exciting undertaking. But in figuring the cost, many homebuyers forget to account for all of the additional expenses that come along once you get the keys to your dream home.

Furniture is among the costliest purchases. Fortunately, you don’t have to go further into debt to make your new home cozy and aesthetically pleasing. Following are a dozen ways to save a ton of money on furniture, both new and used:

1. Peruse moving sales, yard sales and estate sales

Is anyone in your area moving to another city? If so, check out moving sales. Also check out individual and community garage sales to take advantage of bargains.

If you run across an estate sale, keep in mind that the best items go fast. To get the best deals at estate sales, you need to be choosy. As Money Talks News contributor Kentin Waits writes in “7 Things I Always Buy at Estate Sales“:

“Look for signs of quality like solid wood construction, dovetail joints and bookmatched veneers (a technique where the wood grain of adjoining veneer sheets mirror each other like pages of an open book).”

2. Hunt through thrift stores

Thrift store items are donated and likely will vary greatly in how gently used or abused they are. You might find some great deals that can look like new with just a little attention.

In fact, furniture is one of the items we highlight in “7 Things You Should Always Buy at Thrift Stores.”

3. Stop by consignment shops

Furniture at these locations is usually decent enough to generate a profit for the shop, as well as some cash for the original owner. And the boutique shops sometimes carry high-end designer brands.

4. Consider reupholstering and refinishing

Do you actually need new furniture, or can you spruce things up with a face-lift? If the latter is true, try having your items reupholstered or refinished. The internet is full of how-to tips and ideas, and staffers at home improvement stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s are often full of advice on products and shortcuts.

Combine your upgraded furniture with new decor, such as pillows, lamps and rugs. Conduct an online search for interior design ideas and try visiting stores such as HomeGoods, Marshalls and T.J. Maxx to locate accent pieces and accessories. Small changes can make a huge difference and save you a ton of cash.

5. Shop discount furniture stores

In Florida, we have clearance centers, such as American Freight and Big Lots, that sell name-brand furniture at big discounts. The Rooms to Go Outlet also sells items with slight scratches and dents. Check to see if these stores or ones like them have locations in your area.

Also, your local furniture store might have great discounts on floor models and items that are a bit dinged.

6. Check out Craigslist and Freecycle

You may be skeptical about shopping for furniture on Craigslist, so here’s the trick: Search for listings in high-end areas to increase your chances of locating high-caliber goods. Just be sure that the costs of repairs and cleaning don’t add substantially to the purchase price.

Want to maximize your savings? Check out Freecycle.org for free furniture.

7. Go to going-out-of-business sales

Look for retailers that must clear out inventory and equipment in their facility before the doors officially close for good. If you have some flexibility, wait until the final weeks of operation to shop. Although selection may be limited, savings can be huge.

8. Swap your furniture

No cash available for new furniture? Try trading with others — yes, here comes Freecycle again — who have items that interest you. Or, try Craigslist: The trick is to make sure what they are offering is comparable to yours in terms of value.

9. Watch for special promotions

The best time to buy furniture is when stores have to make room for new inventory. The timing varies, but check holidays like Memorial Day and Veterans Day, plus the months of February and August.

Track the prices on your favorite pieces so you can pounce when there’s a major markdown.

10. Don’t be afraid to haggle

The advertised prices for furniture are not set in stone, and the store owner can easily drop the price and still make a decent profit.

11. Use price matching

If you find something you like, find out if the store offers price matching for similar or identical products. Check around with competing stores for a lower price to present to the seller.

12. Keep an eye on wholesalers

The inventory at wholesalers tends to turn over frequently, so pop in as often as you can to take a look. And if you see something you like, jump on it immediately.

Which tactics have you used to save big bucks on furniture? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Ari Cetron contributed to this post.

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