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Eight Ways to Furnish Your First Home for Less

Living room with modular furniture, representing cost savings.
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Like many of life’s firsts, the first home that you buy makes for an extraordinary moment. In addition to marking a new phase in your life, this particular milestone represents the American Dream. Once you move in, you’ll likely have more space than when you were renting an apartment, and picking out new furniture and décor is all part of the fun of homeownership.

But if a tight budget is crimping your decorating style, there are ways to furnish your new home for less. These frugal tips also come in handy for new homeowners who prefer to put their disposable income toward more consequential financial goals, such as a rainy-day fund or their retirement savings.

1. Shop Garage Sales.

As the saying goes, one man’s trash is another’s treasure. People sell perfectly fine furniture and other household items every Saturday out of their garages. You just have to know where the sales are happening to potentially find a cute dresser for your bedroom, comfy sofa for your den or sturdy table for your breakfast room. Here are a few popular places to find garage and yard sales near you:

Frequent yard sale shoppers suggest getting an early start as popular items often sell quickly, however, Reader’s Digest says it sometimes pays to arrive later when sellers are motivated to lower prices rather than haul items back inside or to a donation site. Increase your chance of finding suitable furniture by looking for neighborhood or group yard sales, where multiple sellers are offloading their used items.

2. Cruise Estate Sales.

If you’re not having any luck with yard sales, try estate sales. Because these usually feature the entire contents of a home, they’re more likely to have furniture. Another bonus: They usually take place over several days, rather than Saturday only. Your local newspaper and social media sites list them, as do and

Whether you shop at a yard sale or an estate sale, make sure to bring cash and a vehicle big enough to cart your new treasure home.

3. Go to Thrift Stores.

If estate sales aren’t your thing and you’d prefer to sleep late on Saturdays rather than go to yard sales, try local thrift stores. People who don’t have the time or energy to hold a yard sale, often donate their gently used items to places like Goodwill, Salvation Army and Habitat ReStore. Visit early in the week to snag things that people dropped off over the weekend. There’s also usually an uptick in donations around spring cleaning time and at the end of the year.

Just make sure to fully inspect anything you buy from strangers to ensure it’s in good working order and free of bugs, ingrained odors or safety hazards.

4. Ask Family and Friends for Castoffs.

You can also scout for finds a little closer to home. Ask your parents, siblings, friends and co-workers if they have any furniture stored in their attics, cellars or storage units that they don’t want anymore. You might just luck out and they’ll offer you a really great price for taking an item off their hands. In some cases, they might even give it to you for free because it means they no longer have to deal with it.

5. Opt for Modular Furniture.

Not everyone wants to fill their new home with used stuff. If you’re set on buying new furniture, you can still save money by buying items that requires some home assembly. Retailers like IKEA, Target, Wayfair and others have lots of inexpensive, yet stylish, home décor items for sale, as long as you’re willing to put them together yourself.

6. Watch for Sales.

On the other hand, you might fall in love with a sofa or bed at a more traditional furniture store. If it’s out of your price range, ask the salesperson when the store is having their next big sale and wait to buy it then.

7. Practice Minimalism.

Another way to save is by not filling every corner in your new home. Go for a pared down look with just a few simple furniture pieces in each room. Likewise, you can stick to your budget by buying just one of necessary items, such as bedsheets or dish sets, rather than stocking up on multiples.

8. Repurpose What You Already Have.

Last but not least, consider shopping for your new home in your old apartment. A can of paint can make an old dresser or table look like new, and an inexpensive, but attractive, throw can cover worn spots or stains on a hand-me-down couch or chair.

After all, it’s your home, get creative making it your own.

Editor’s note: Quorum is not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned in this article and derives no benefit from these businesses for placement in this article.

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CUNA 2023 diamond award trophy icon

CUNA 2023 Diamond Award Winner

Financial Education

Quorum derives no benefit from businesses in return for placement in this blog.

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