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Furnish your new apartment on a budget

December 29, 2016

You’ve just moved into a new place, but it has no furnishings. This is a common problem for people, especially students who have moved out the safety net of homes. Of course, in many cases, you don’t want to begin spending enormous amounts on appliances. However, you also don’t want to be without items which can store and cook food, let you rest and so on. If you need furnishings but don’t want to break your bank, you need to then work out how to furnish on a budget. Furthermore, you don’t need to only focus on furnishings; decoration could be key, too. Let’s consider how you can do this.

List your needs

One of the most revealing aspects of living is making a list of the things you need. My First Apartment has a helpful checklist to get you started. However, not everything on the list is essential. You will need some items, obviously, like lounge suites. You will use these for yourself and to make any guests comfortable. Unlike many other items, lounge suits are designed for more than yourself.

Regardless, you should consider what your priorities are. You will need to store food, but maybe you don’t need to cook it. Nonetheless, a microwave is still always useful since this increases your options when it comes to food. Yes, you need to store food but you also need to heat it. A kettle can be important for that morning coffee, but maybe you can get free or cheap coffee at work or campus.

This is where you may need to start simultaneously creating a budget. Nonetheless, you must first list your essential items that actually help you live. An apartment or home shouldn’t just be empty space with walls and a door. You need to sleep, eat and exist in a safe, comfortable environment. Once you’ve decided on these essentials, you can then begin working on your budget.

Why you need a budget

There’s no point talking about getting furnishings on a budget if you don’t know what that budget is. As The Balance notes:

“It’s time to determine what your actual budget is for furniture. Lots of websites and other sources say that we should plan to spend between 10-50% of the price paid for the house on furniture. That’s a wide margin so here’s another suggestion. Keep your checking and savings account in mind while determining what your new monthly expenses will be in the house, including mortgage payment, insurance, taxes, utilities, food and discretionary spending. Once you have figured out your spending, multiply it by three. … whenever your savings gets above that three-month mark again, then allow yourself to go buy that next round of furniture for the next room.”

This should be the basis for when you begin making purchasing decisions. Then you can begin making increases here and there, meaning you can acquire slightly more expensive items because you’ve noted it in your budget. The point being that working to a budget adjusts for necessity and allows for purchasing items, provided your decision is a smart one.

Shop smart

Once you have a budget and a list of what you need, then go looking for the items. This means asking friends, family and whoever else will be able to give you the items for free. Considering that budgeting is your number one issue, you can’t afford to feel any sense of shame at the moment. After all, the goal is that in future these items will either be yours or you can have your own. But when budgeting is number one, everything else comes second.

You should also consider second hand stores and thrift stores. As Lifehacker points out:

“Don’t discount thrift stores and consignment shops. While you may find a handful of crap, if you visit regularly you’ll often find great new used furniture you wouldn’t expect to see at a thrift store. Not only that, but a sturdy, well-built item will generally cost less than its [retail] counterpart. While looking online can score you some great deals, don’t discount the real world. While many turn to Craigslist to make a few bucks off of their unneeded furniture, several others prefer to get it out of their house faster and turn a lesser profit through thrift stores and consignment.”

You should never discount how some people want to get rid of their stuff, even when it’s working fine. These could be items they found too expensive to maintain and want to remove it for space.

Have fun with decoration

Your new place may be on budget but that doesn’t mean you should ignore making it look good. For example, you could begin experimenting with where you’re placing items. As Houzz points out:

“The best way to learn about what works in your space is simply to spend some time experimenting. Move furniture, rearrange stuff, edit and just have fun playing around. Often, I find that the most ingenious space solutions and display ideas come only after months of living in a space, so try to be patient.”

In this way, you can make your home your own even with a budget overshadowing every decision.

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