Buying your first home is likely to be the biggest financial decision you’ve taken up to that point. It’s also very likely that the mortgage and running costs are taking a noticeable bite out of your salary, if so you’re not alone. Fortunately there are ways to furnish and decorate your first home without breaking the bank.
Make A Wish List
Make a paper list of everything that comes to mind when getting your new home ready to live in. Split the list into things you need and things you want. For things you want, make a note of more affordable alternatives and also note where you could live without items, at least on a short-term basis. For example you will need some pots and pans and there is no real alternative to this. You would like a three-piece suite, but in the short term you can make do with beanbags. You would also like some decent speakers for the TV, but you can live without them for the time being.
Ask Family, Friends And Strangers
People who have been in homes for a while often find themselves having accumulated common items that they’re quite happy to give away. If you let people know what you’re looking for, there’s a very good chance you’ll be able to get a fair bit of it from people who have extras, particularly if you’re not too fussy about taking items which are a bit worn. Look on sites like Gumtree for people clearing out unwanted belongings and try advertising on them.
Be Prepared To Mix Rather Than Match
You may want a three piece suite but you may find it easier to get a futon and a couple of bean bags, or even large cushions, which can do perfectly well for seating, at least on a short-term basis. If you wind up with an eclectic furniture collection, keep walls and floors simple. You can use throws to create a unifying them.
Be Ready To Recycle Creatively
If you need a coffee table and someone is throwing out a low chest of drawers, consider using it instead of a table. Cover it with a throw it you want to hide the fact that it’s not actually a table. If someone is throwing out an old wardrobe, see if it can be cut up for shelving. Once it’s on the wall, people will never know where it came from, particularly if you paint it.
Go Where The Bargains Are
These days arguably eBay has taken over from charity shops as the place to look for bargains. There are various tricks to scoring the best deals on eBay but in terms of getting home bargains the two key ones are odd ending times and bulky items which require collection. Look into cheap van hire, London and other large cities are full of possibilities, and decide on your maximum bid, including this cost. You’d be surprised how often the need to arrange a pick up will put off other bidders and even including the cost of the van, you can still get a bargain.
The author is a Scottish skinflint who is expert at scoring the best deals for her money. She’s on a mission to renovate her house and is facing a mountain of clutter to deal with. When she’s not working or walking her dog, she’s often to be found playing poker or backgammon.