College loans are mounted higher than the eye can see. Your parents have hugged and congratulated you upon completion of your four year certificate. The world is your oyster and you hold it in the palm of your hands. And then you find your dream place…well, as close to a dream as you can fathom on a starter’s salary. You pat yourself on the back and the sun seems to smile on you until you realize one important thing, one missed factor that you have neglected: other then your single bed, a chest of drawers, and a toy chest from when you were five years old, your new digs will be furniture free. That’s a whole lot of empty space, and after glancing at the Rooms To Go sales flier, you realize that your already stressed and maxed-out credit card really cannot afford that much more of a hit.
What’s a newly independent individual like yourself going to do?
Well, there are alternatives to getting angry calls from Capital One representatives about past due bills or a maxed-out credit card. You do not necessarily have to increase your debt load. Deals exist if you have the time and patience to look. Do not high-tail it to Sears just yet. Put your car keys down and spend five minutes looking at possible money-saving alternatives.
A garage sale exists because people need to “get rid of” stuff that no longer fits their needs. Perhaps they are moving or upgrading furniture. This presents the perfect opportunity for a young college graduate to get decent furniture at pennies on the dollar. Finding garage sales does not necessarily mean having a good eye as you drive down the street and spot a sign on the side of the road. Your local Penny-savers, (in many cases delivered to your house whether you want it or not) has a section specifically for garage sales taking place in your area. Be sure to show up early before others for a garage sale and keep in mind any price is negotiable. Check used furniture for wear and tear, inspecting springs, bolts, and cushions before you purchase. In some instances, delivery may be negotiated as well.
Use the power of the Internet to troll through the furniture section of www.craigslist.com. A relatively new site, this classified ad search engine for anything can search locally for all of your furniture accessories. Pictures are usually displayed and interested buyers can e-mail questions. Days in which you can inspect and purchase the items can be discussed; some parties desperate to sell will quote you a rock-bottom price and leave their phone number to negotiate.
OK, do not laugh. I happen to be a big fan of Goodwill. It is hard to believe what can be found at these on-site locales. Sometimes antiques can be discovered at ridiculously low prices and more often than not, Goodwill will not sell junk furniture whose next destination should be a landfill. The downside to shopping at Goodwill stores is that prices are a little more set in stone than at a garage sale or Craigslist sellers, but sometimes this is not the case. For young independent individuals with a first place, people in a lower income category or thrifty shoppers, Goodwill can be a dream come true.
Church and School Sales
Much like the garage sale, these sales are sometimes part donation and part garage sale, just on a larger scale. Expect a little more competitive prices (also known as higher prices) but better quality at these sales events. If these sales are created to benefit a cause such as “new uniforms for the football team,” expect a large turnout and and very little price negotiation. In my past experience, when inquiring about a set of dresser drawers, I discovered that the price quoted to me was almost the same price I could get for a brand new set at a furniture outlet. Knowing what you want and what price you are willing to pay will help you before going to a church or school sale. Some deals are waiting to be discovered, while others are not deals at all!
If you need furniture now, this is not the site for you. But if you have a couple of weeks if not months to spare (Mom and Dad are patient and kind and allow you to stay awhile), check www.slickdeals.net on a daily basis. Hot deals in every category imaginable, including your possible furniture set-up of your dreams, can be found here. Sale deals from furniture retailers are discussed and posted, liquidation events are discovered, and going out of business sales are disclosed.
Lastly, furniture shoppers can check out the E-Bay route as a last alternative before trying Badcock, Ashley, and Rooms To Go. Why should E-Bay be your last attempt? Mainly because most people would much rather “try” furniture before actually purchasing it, and shipping and handling costs can kill an otherwise decent deal for a furniture set. The lowest prices are not necessarily on E-Bay, but some have been fortunate using this route. Picture representations on E-Bay can often be misleading, and sellers have been known to short-change prospective buyers. Be sure to use a Paypal account which protects you from possible fraud, or use a credit card that has similar buyer’s protection.