How To Save On Furniture

Frugality enables Mr. FAF and me to simplify our priorities. Buying expensive furniture to adorn our house to the max is just not one of them.

I am not a minimalist, and neither is Mr. FAF. We keep what we need and will need in the future.

But when we bought our first house in DC, we wanted to furnish it and make it our home. We tried to do it on the cheap.

Before buying the house, we had budgeted a good amount for urgent home repairs and furniture.

But we wanted to spend as little as possible and put the rest to our mortgage payment.

Today I’ll  share with you how Mr. FAF and I bought a sectional sofa, a coffee table, 2 new beds, 4 night stands, 1 study desk with book shelves, a file dresser, and two dressers for our new house for roughly $3,000.

And all of them were new. To put things into perspective, a sofa alone can easily cost you $3,000.

Getting free furniture

As Mr. FAF and I were getting more serious about buying a house, we started to stock up on hand-me-down furniture from friends and neighbors.

We lived with Baby FAF and my in-laws, who were there to help out with the baby, in a 2bd/2bth apartment fully furnished with stuff we either got for free from friends or picked up on the curb side (aka trash).

None of us had any problems with that. All we cared about was to save money for the new house and take good care of Baby FAF.

 

We got the dining set on the left for free from our friends since they were moving away. The second set was from the trash; we put it in our breakfast nook. 

My in-laws’ newly made Chinese friends in the community also told us whenever they saw furniture thrown on the curb side. We would go to check the item and pick it up if we needed it.

We lived in a residential areas with a lot of single family houses. Sometimes my in-laws would drive around the neighborhood and bring back some treasure.

One time they brought back a coffee table and a whole set of kitchen table and chairs. My mother-in-law then went to a thrift store nearby to buy a $3 curtain to reupholster the chairs.

She made sure to wash the curtain, cut it, and sewed each piece of cloth onto each chair. She gave the chairs a totally new look. Her sewing wasn’t perfect. But the set looked amazing.

We got the dresser in the picture from another friend who was also moving away. One knob kept falling off, but it’s still in good condition. They told us they had picked it up from the curb side, so this dresser has changed owners multiple times.

We spent $0 on these pieces of furniture except for maybe a couple of dollars on gas to pick them up.

Buying discounted furniture

I was totally fine with all the used and free furniture we got. But Mr. FAF insisted we buy new furniture for our new home, so I eventually agreed.

While waiting to close on our new house, Mr. FAF and I went to look at the furniture at Costco, Macy’s, and various high-end stores. We were first-time homeowners and really enjoyed the feeling of designing the interior of our home.

We took pictures, commented on every piece of furniture that we saw, and talked about what they would look like at our house. It was a fun experience.

But at the end of the day, we weren’t ready to part with our money on a $1,500 bed set just yet. We wanted to see if we could find deals.

I have read online about stores that sold high-end furniture with minor defects such as a tiny scratch. Some pieces of furniture were on display and experienced a lot of trying and touching from potential customers. Over time, they started to show some wear and tear, and no one wanted to buy them anymore.

But I did, and I told Mr. FAF about my findings. He was immediately hooked. One day he came home and told me with a big smile on his face that he had found just the store we were looking for: Bob’s Discount Furniture.

I was intrigued and couldn’t wait to see it. Mr. FAF drove me to the store. We arrived at 8:30 PM that night, 30 minutes before it closed.

I saw all the nice and expensive furniture in the front, but he took me straight to the back room (aka “The Outlet”) where all the imperfect furniture was.

In excitement, Mr. FAF showed me the nice pieces of furniture that he had found earlier that day. I could see some scratches here and there, but nothing major.

Free TV on top of the discounted dresser

We came back a couple of times afterwards to pick the pieces that we liked. The only brand-new piece of furniture we bought that wasn’t on clearance was a $999 sectional couch that could also be a nice bed for a guest.

They delivered the sofa for free, but not the clearance furniture. We got a $50 clearance coffee table (originally $250) and a $23 Walmart rug to pair with the sofa.

We bought two dressers for about $100/each (originally $450). We put one in the living room and placed a free TV we had gotten from our friend on it.

We got 2 beds for $120/each (originally $900) and 4 nightstands for $50 each (originally $200).

Mr. FAF rented a U-haul truck for $150 and asked two friends for help with the moving. We treated them to dinner afterwards and were grateful that they had agreed to help us.

We spent roughly $2,000 on the furniture at Bob’s Discount Store, including the U-haul rental and treating out friends to dinner.

Buying furniture on Amazon

Mr. FAF wanted to buy a nice desk with bookshelves for his study after using a series of free and $10 desks for years. We went to various stores to look for one, but the prices were always above $1,000. We decided to turn to Amazon.

With our free Amazon Prime account, we purchased the following items from Amazon. They were much cheaper than the ones we saw at the store.

1. An L-shaped desk with a hutch for $466.93

2. A file dresser $202.45

3. A queen mattress for $104.86

4. A twin box spring/bed frame for $45.72

5. A twin mattress for $97.49

6. A full bed frame for $150.99

The only downside is that they came unassembled in a box. Mr. FAF spent almost 10 hours putting together every piece and nail of the L-shaped desk.

If we added the cost of Mr. FAF’s labor (i.e. $200  at $20/hr), it’d look like we didn’t save much. But Mr. FAF did all that in his free time. We considered it a good workout for him.

  

Source: Amazon.com

In total, we spent $1,068.44 on Amazon.

Conclusion

The furniture collecting and buying process was exhausting and fun at the same time. Mr. FAF and I were happy we got to furnish our first home together.

To this day, I still think $3,000 was still a bit high for what I was willing to pay for furniture. I’d be happy to get free stuff or pick things up from the curb side. If we ever have to move, Mr. FAF and I plan to bring the good furniture with us and give away the rest or sell them for low prices.

Whenever I see the items we got from our friends or neighbors, I feel grateful. To them, the furniture might have been something they no longer needed. But to us, they were a valuable gifts that helped us build our family on a stronger financial foundation.

 

Related:

How We Bought Our First Home

Why We Don’t Buy Home Warranty

A Landlord’s Worst Nightmare Comes True

How This Family Slashed Their Mortgage Payment By $700/month

 

 

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32 thoughts on “How To Save On Furniture”

  • Amazon has AMAZING furniture! We’ve been able to get quite a few pieces from there. Ikea also has some great pieces that are actually made of wood. I am also a huge fan of Craigslist- sometimes you can find things for really cheap because people have to move and their new space is too small for that piece of furniture.

    I’ll definitely keep these ideas in mind for when Mr. NA and I buy a house!

    • Yes @ what Ying said. Since we live car free having them deliver it is super important and Amazon has such a large selection it’s where we got 60% of our house furniture and like 90% of rental Airbnb furniture. It’s not the cheapest (maybe more expensive generally by $50-60ish compare to the lowest price I can dig online) but you get Amazon’s customer service and return policy. Plus it’s a familiar company so it’s definitely worth it.

    • Mr. FAF and I went to Ikea once and thought everything there was nice but still over our budget. >_< Amazon came to our rescue!

  • Excellent guide! In Dallas we have a Nebraska Furniture Mark and it’s almost always cheaper to buy there than to buy used or anything else, so I usually opt for the new. Also – I suck at refinishing things because I have no artistic talent LOL

    • I have no artistic talent either. My mom can attest to this lol. I agree with you, if the new furniture is nicer and cheaper than used ones, then why not? 😉

  • Awesome finds! We have scored some incredibly cheap or free deals by taking the time to wait, search and delay the purchase/acquisition until we find the right item. We have so many freebies or used items from Craigslist, Estate Sales, Goodwill and yes, even the side of the road. We also bought a few things new, but with deep discounts or coupons.

    I now want to shout it from the rooftops… don’t spend your life savings on furniture!!! haha- thanks for another great post! 🙂

    • I totally agree with you. Patience is key when we want to save. If I had bought everything I wanted the moment I saw them, I’d have gone bankrupt by now. >_<

  • Love it! As we move from our small apartment into a larger house, we’re going to have a void – specifically, we know we’ll need table and chairs, and some beds for our guests over Christmas this year. Anything we can do to save money, we will.

    Our parents take YEARS to fill up a home with furniture. Why we think we should be any different…I don’t know. It may not be exactly what you want, but I want debt even less so I will continue to find ways to save money and furnish our home slowly over the years.

    • Thank you, Dave! It took a couple of months for us to fill up our living room with used furniture and treasure finds. Once we moved into our new house, we already had a lot of stuff that we needed. It takes time to find nice furniture at a deep discount or for no charge at all!

    • Wow that’s impressive. I think we still have some cardboard boxes from our Amazon purchases too haha. I’m glad you found the post helpful! ^.^

  • I love Amazon for furniture too! And Target! Also, what’s not to love about furniture that’s affordable and delivered right to your door? I’m lucky, though, when my boyfriend and I moved in together, he already had most of the big furniture items so my only contribution were the dining room chairs because the ones he had were terrible! He found most of his other items on Craigslist for a discount!

    • That’s such a great combination of furniture for a new place. Your boyfriend seems to have mastered the art of finding great furniture on Craigslist! ^^ I think I’m still a newbie when it comes to Craigslist furniture. @_@

  • Great write up! We still have a really hard time buying any new furniture. Spending $1500 or $2000 on a bedroom set just feels like such a waste. Especially with how furniture is constructed now it just no longer feels like we’re getting much for our money.

    One of the hidden costs of buying a new home is how expensive it is to furnish it. Especially if you try to do it all at once. For a 3-4 bedroom home I could EASILY spend $10k to furnish it from scratch. That’s probably why we still have empty rooms after 2 years in this house.

    • Agreed! I think I might have nightmares about my bank account if I slept on a $2,000 bedroom set hehe. I’m tempted to splurge on our home, but my credit card tells me not too >_<

  • Nice!

    Pretty much all of our furniture, except for our couch, we got on Craigslist. Our couch was one of the few things we paid basically full price for, at around $1k. It’s American-made, has firm cushions (we are apparently in the minority in the US for not wanting to sink into our couch!), and is the right height for our elderly dog to still be able to hop up and cuddle. 🙂

    • We also paid around $1 for our couch too! It’s really convenient as a bed for Baby FAF and our guests as well 😀

  • Your pick ups are better quality than our trash finds!!! That’s a beautiful coffee table! I don’t think I feel grateful though, I think to myself thank you but omg why would you get rid of that!!!

    • Haha thanks, Lily! I chose to upload only the best pics, so maybe that’s why. We have a lot of unattractive pieces of furniture at our house, but we don’t mind. ^.^ And you should totally write a post about how you and Jared saved on your furniture. I’d love to see the pics!!

  • I love the part about your MIL reupholstering the chairs for you! We got most of our furniture at this estate thrift store called “Everything But Grannies Panties” That name is a lie, though. They definitely sell used underpants. When people die or go into assisted living, the surviving family members call this store and they take everything. Anyhow, there is a LOT of junk, but also a lot of really good quality pieces. We spent $400 on two complete bedroom sets when we moved here. Habitat ReStore is a great source if you have one. We have bought a lot of stuff from Craigslist as well, though that is more of a hassle.

    • I have never heard of “Everything But Grannies Panties,” but it sounds like a great place for treasure finds! We have Habitat ReStore near our house too, but we have never bought anything from there. I’m glad Craigslist is working out well for you!

  • I can definitely relate to this experience when I bought my first home a decade ago. Having spent most of our money on a down payment, money was pretty tight when we first moved into our house. My wife was a great deal hunter when she found our dining set at the IKEA as is section.

    I moved my bed from my parents’ house and the desk that I bought during university. We also got a three piece sofa set for $999. That was a steal. We still own all the furniture today.

    It’s hard to part with those furniture, but even harder to part with our money.😀

    • I know! I like new expensive furniture, but I like my money more 😀 It’s great that you guys could save on the furniture for your first home. I think our sofa set was also $999!

  • I’ve never even thought to check out Amazon for furniture, although I’m in Canada and the Canadian version can be pretty limited sometimes. Worth a look for sure though! We also started out with a lot of hand me downs or cheap second hand furniture when we first moved out but have started to upgrade pieces over the years.
    Our first expensive furniture purchase was a leather couch. We have two dogs who we allow on the couch and the old fabric couch we had would get so dirty and covered in hair. The leather is so easy to clean and I’ve been amazed how well it holds up to the pups.

  • I haven’t been the best when it comes to spending money wisely. Last year, I spent lots of money on stuffs I didn’t need. Thanks to frugal blogs like yours, I find myself making better spending decisions.

    Most of the furniture I got this year for my room were used ones They have been serving me well and I have saved over $350.

  • Great frugal moves. I don’t like buying particle board furniture anymore. They don’t hold up very well. I’m going with Craigslist for the most part now. I need to bring Mrs. RB40 whenever I go to see stuff. She is my voice of reason. 🙂

  • I gotta admit, I do like how that desk looks, even if it was pricey and labour intensive! I used hand-me down desks all my life and finally got an upgrade when I entered my teens – ten years later, I’m still using it! It’s the same kind of style as Mr. FAF has; it was gigantic for little schoolgirl me, but I can’t deny its functionality has lasted.

    Then again, I am guilty of buying a cheap IKEA desk for my brief time living with a then-boyfriend. But I needed the space, and it’ll make a great desk for some kid-Ragged’s someday.

    I’m definitely going to be using some of these tricks / tips when I need to furnish my eventual abode – after taking all the hand-me-downs that my parents want to get rid of from their home of course!

    • Parents always give us the best gifts whether it’s new or used 😀 I have used a ton of used furniture myself and feel super happy about all the money I’ve been able to save because of that! 😀

  • We have shopped on Craigslist for furniture. Another great resource are run of the mill furniture stores with a “damaged item” section. I once bought a perfectly fine soft with a minor scratch on the back of it. Yes, the back. The side that is pointed toward the wall. It was a steal for such a minor blemish.

  • Great finds. We used Ashley for our dining set and haggled. We also scoured Wayfair. They are amazing. We purchased one arm chair from them and it had a minor defect. So they sent us another one! So we had matching chairs brand new. Lastly, we loved a higher end American made company, Cococo for a sleeper sofa

    • Ugh that cut off. The sleeper sofa traditionally retails for $$$$ but they have a clearance section for floor samples and we got ours for half price. Now actually getting it into our apartment required a call to Dr Dr. Sofa and $900 but it was worth it for the discount!

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