Barring all understanding, I have managed to carve out a little space for myself in the niche of financial writing. My job has given me a lasting appreciation for frugal living, a quality that is molto bueno in the interior design department.
After moving 7 times in 9 years, Dave and I were ready for some no-kidding-around forever furniture and decor. If you’re in the same boat, you’re in luck. There are plenty of ways to get exactly what you want without breaking the bank.
When it comes to shopping and savings:
1. Pretend you’re buying a car. I love our beautiful bed, but I wasn’t crazy about the price from a locally-owned furniture store. I jotted down the brand name and SKU number, went home and scoured the Internet. Like car dealerships, retailers are really just middle-men for third-party manufacturers. Translation: Everything is negotiable. I looked online and found a competitor offering the same bed for 35% less + free shipping. I printed the offer, drove back to the store and talked to the manager.”I’d like to support you as a local business, but I can buy this bed for much cheaper online. Would you match this price?”The result was a brand new bed delivered the next day at a bargain price. Boom.
2. Set universal limits. Sure, spending limits are discouraging, but they can have the opposite effect with the right strategy. Set maximums on furniture and decor before you go shopping, e.g., “I will never spend more than $________ on a sofa,” and use your maximum price as motivation. For me, I will never spend more than $10 on a picture frame, and that limit has helped me discover lots of amazing deals.
3. Use Ebates. Holy moly, have you tried Ebates yet? I’ll confess, it confused the heck out of me at first. I kept waiting for my anti-virus software to cry, “SPAM!” but it never did. This site is legit, and I received (no kidding) $134 in rebates from shopping during the holidays. Whenever I’m shopping these days, I always go to Ebates first to see if the retailer is on their list.
4. Make friends with the sales associates. Who better to give you the down-low on upcoming sales and coupons than the associates? I wanted luxurious threads to adorn our bargain bed, so I made my way to Restoration Hardware during a sale. I chatted casually to an associate, and before I knew it, he was telling me about an even bigger sale happening in a few weeks. Sure enough, I saved another $50 by waiting.
5. Mix and match. People think “high-end” design is always expensive. False! Some of my favorite spaces are a mixture of heirloom, DIY, vintage, luxury, and IKEA. Don’t limit your choices. Mix and match to create a style that works for your budget.
6. Stick to what you know. Our dining room is a big’un, 12×13 feet. We wanted to fill the space with a big, solid table (no leaf) with a rustic feel that would stand up to Mister’s abuse and still look nice. Everything we found was either too expensive or had a removable leaf. It wasn’t until we stopped by World Market for some wine that we noticed this beauty. Big. Solid. Rustic. No leaf. Check x 4! They were also running a sale, which meant we scored an additional 10% off + free shipping. What would have cost us $3,000 elsewhere now sits in our dining room for less than $900. Look around your favorite haunts for the items you need. Great deals could be right under your nose.
7. Prepare to improve. We bought some ugly green end tables a while back and absolutely hated them. Who knows why we did it, but they are well made and we couldn’t justify throwing them out. Dave spent $20 and a Saturday afternoon sanding them down and staining them white, and boom: repurposed bedside tables for the guest toom. This is the perfect case for thrifting. A little sandpaper and time could help you recycle a quality piece.
8. Say it with me: HomeGoods. If you haven’t shopped at HomeGoods yet, kindly step away from the computer and navigate to your nearest location. I wandered into one about 10 years ago and fell in love. Dave was a quick convert and we have a browse date about once a month. We always leave with the craziest collection of stuff: a set of Calvin Klein percale sheets for $30 and a giant block of Himalayan salt for $6; a stainless-steel trash can for $22, and a giant whale collage for Mister’s room (Say hello to Walter…he’s priceless). Their stock is always changing and I’ve never walked away without a deal. I love me some HomeGoods.
9. Shop kid stores. Perfect example:
Why do they do this? I dunno, but I’ll take a discount when I can find one! Check to see if your favorite store has a baby sister. She could help you score some amazing deals.
10. Buy multi-purpose pieces. We bought a TV stand from Crate and Barrel and used it that way for a long time. After moving, we realized it might look better as a sideboard in the dining room, which is exactly where it sits today. Its size and space is perfect for Dave’s gaming system or serving platters. No muss, no fuss.
I’m no expert on finance (wait, yes I am!), but I know how to score a bargain in the furniture aisle. I hope these tips help you fill your home with style and savings. Happy shopping!