Moving on the cheap?

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Little background for you guys. I'm 23, currently living with family, and intending to move into an apartment soon. Income is about $30k, and I have about $10k on hand. I figure I have more than enough right now to cover any immediate costs, but I'm trying to cut down on as much as I can. So obviously, FWF is the only place to go.

There's very little I have to actually take with me now, and not much to get from family, so I'm gonna be stuck buying most things myself. That said, particularly for furniture, what's the cheapest way to get stuff that isn't crap?

Wondering the same for most of the other stuff I'll need. Falling right around my birthday, so my mom's already taking care of dishes, flatware, and a few other things, but there's still plenty to cover.

Any advice or tips are much appreciated. Just want to make sure I go about this in the best way I can. I'd hate to find out afterward that I could have saved a load of cash easily.

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Find an estate sale company near where you are. Within 50 miles of me I know of 3 weekly auctions....pretty much everyth... (more)

cristinaaaron (Apr. 17, 2013 @ 3:19p) |

I'd caution against buying quality at a young age, unless you know yourself well. The $3000 sofa that will last a lifeti... (more)

TravelerMSY (Apr. 18, 2013 @ 1:01a) |

Buy a quality mattress and more importantly, quality sheets and pillows! All the women tell me how comfortable my bed i... (more)

shocks (Apr. 18, 2013 @ 1:48a) |


Best thing is not to buy cheap stuff buy quality. That may mean that you won't have a fully furnished place immediately but, you won't have to replace things every 2 years either.

Start with a quality sofa and bedroom set. Skip anything that is a wood veener, made from MDF.

Just buy a cheap bed (mattress) to sleep on. anything else can wait for sales via hot deals.

If you want high quality wood furniture cheaply, then go on craigslist and look for solid wood furniture that is scratched to some extent but not in terrible shape. There's also some solid wood, unfinished furniture at Ikea. Then refinish (I recommend buying an inexpensive power sander - it saves a lot of time and effort). Shellac or tung oil are both completely natural and easy to apply. You can also do artificial finishes, but they're harder to apply well and toxic (at least until they dry). I bought a beautiful end table for $15, refinished it, and have something that would probably have cost $200-300 in a store. Just watch out for anything with difficult to reach areas and/or non-flat sides.

I 2nd craigslist. You can find some amazing deals on craigslist (but be careful about anything that might carry bugs).

I also caution not spending a ton of money just for better quality/style.

Until you are ready to settle down, buy a house, etc, it's quite possible you will move (either locally or long distance) every 1-2 years. While good quality stuff will hold up better, you'll be really upset if it gets scratched, damaged, etc during a move.

1. Craigslist
2. If you absolutely need new furniture, go to IKEA. The stuff is comparatively cheap, okay quality and looks nice. Believe me, you will end up replacing all of what you buy now in next 5-7 years, or when you get married (whichever is earlier). So don't spend a whole lot on furniture.

Ikea also has some reasonable quality (and cheap) kitchen gear (plates, glasses, tools, etc). They also have decent/cheap throwrugs and lamps (just be sure to grab extra bulbs, they use special ikea bulbs).

Buy only what you absolutely need and get it cheap. Quality = expensive and typically heavy and moving it sucks. Ive moved 15 times in my less than 30 years of life. CL/IKEA/old stuff from parents/friends/etc is your best bet. Don't waste $ on it... no one cares how furnished your crummy apt is. If you get a girl in there she was already going to sleep with you anyway

Little protip: I personally use a door + 2 filing cabinets as my desk/storage in my office. Cheaper than real desks, sturdier than the fiberboard+peg crap most desks are made from, wayy more space to work, way easier to move.

My then GF saw the TV siting on box it came in. At that point she knew I was the one.

Big Lots has good furniture and is cheap

Moving sales. It costs money to move big heavy stuff, so people moving (especially a longer distance) do not want to pay to move it. Don't worry one bit about appearance, you want scratch and dent so you can use it as a negotiating tool to drive price down. Also, if you get married in a few years, your significant other will want to pick out something new later. I would also recommend advertising on craigslist that you will remove their unwanted sofa/table/chair for free (and then ask for pictures). The people buying the new furniture need to make room for it (and may otherwise need to pay to get rid of it).

I just had to drop $600 for pest control at one of my rentals that had bed bugs. The people left everything behind when they moved, and my handymen put it all on the curb for bulk pick up. Most of it was picked up by the neighbors first.

Moral of the story: free furniture can be expensive and a PITA.

Agreed with Craigslist and thrift stores for furniture, particularly if you're moving to a college town - the end of the school year is coming up and there are always folks willing to sell for cheap the stuff that mom and dad bought in August.

Good ideas so far. I'm a little wary of Craigslist, though. It just feels like it could go very wrong. I'm not in the best area to begin with. I don't expect many people to be selling quality stuff, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see important information left out. Like that the wonderful cheap mattress for sale has bedbugs.

I don't think IKEA's an option. The closest one is in Pittsburgh, and that's a few hours away. However, there's an American Freight near here that I've been told to check out. Anyone have any experience?

Also, for what it's worth, I have no intention of getting married. You can say that I'll probably change my mind later on, but I'm fairly sure about this one. I see myself living a very happy life without a significant other.

Also also, since some significant expenses are gonna be involved no matter what, anyone know of any current credit card bonuses with a higher spend requirement? Haven't seen much lately, but I could have missed stuff.

Summer is also a good time for yard sales and moving sales. Look out for signs around the neighborhood.

askepios said:   Good ideas so far. I'm a little wary of Craigslist, though. It just feels like it could go very wrong. I'm not in the best area to begin with. I don't expect many people to be selling quality stuff, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see important information left out. Like that the wonderful cheap mattress for sale has bedbugs.

I don't think IKEA's an option. The closest one is in Pittsburgh, and that's a few hours away. However, there's an American Freight near here that I've been told to check out. Anyone have any experience?

Also, for what it's worth, I have no intention of getting married. You can say that I'll probably change my mind later on, but I'm fairly sure about this one. I see myself living a very happy life without a significant other.

Also also, since some significant expenses are gonna be involved no matter what, anyone know of any current credit card bonuses with a higher spend requirement? Haven't seen much lately, but I could have missed stuff.



Buy your mattress new, from a store. You can get a reasonably cheap one for now unless you have sleep trouble.

If you're really not in a good area, then maybe second hand stuff won't work. But, if you're in a reasonable place, and in a largish apartment complex, people throw out decent stuff all the time. If there's a local college or university with dorms, hang out during move-out weeks, and you'll find all you want. Just check things over really well for bugs and such. And, you might want to disinfect those...

American Freight - We used to have one locally. At least ours, was sort of strange. Completely random stuff. So, if you go once, and don't find what you want, keep going back every two weeks to check. We got a really good deal on an amazing small table for our tiny apartment dining room. It was high quality, solid wood construction, and we love it. However, we kept going back there, and every other table we saw there was complete crap. We also got a little love seat there. The color was strange, it was cheap quality, but was also uber-cheap to buy. It was the only one of the color left, so it didn't have a matching sofa. We paid $100 for it. Kept it for about 3 years, no trouble, until we had money for a matching pair of some nicer stuff. Sold the love seat to a local consignment shop for $150... One thing we discovered, they WILL negotiate. If you have to ask a couple different employees to get a better deal, feel free to do so. When we looked at the love seat, it had $250 on it. We talked to one guy about it, I offered $100 and said sure, that's fine. We wanted to measure for it again, so we returned the next morning to buy it. Another employee told us that they never negotiate, that the sticker price is the price. So, I tracked down the original employee and made the deal at $100. So, they might be a little shady, but just pay attention to what you're buying.

askepios said:   Good ideas so far. I'm a little wary of Craigslist, though. It just feels like it could go very wrong. I'm not in the best area to begin with. I don't expect many people to be selling quality stuff, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see important information left out. Like that the wonderful cheap mattress for sale has bedbugs.

Just because you don't live in the best area does not mean you have to buy from there. Limit your search to more expensive towns.

I highly recommend moving into your new place before purchasing any furniture. Once you're in there, you'll be able to better visualize what would look good where and what will suit your needs. Otherwise, you're trying to make a place for furniture instead of the spot waiting for what you need.

Craigslist can go either way. Personally, I would never purchase a used couch, but my sister happily got a almost-new higher-end couch for $80 on CL from a upper-class neighborhood. I wouldn't mind used kitchen, coffee, or end tables. But again, you need to know where you're going to put it and how much space you have for it.

IMHO, never get a used mattress. You can get a cheap mattress to make due, but it will wear out quickly.

And finally, LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS!!! DON'T GO INTO DEBT OVER FURNITURE!! You'll find that after you move out, friends and family members usually will offer furniture, pots & pans, etc to get you started.

I don't think I still own a single piece of furniture that I purchased in my twenties. Styles change, preferences change, surroundings change. If I were in your shoes, I'd buy a brand new mattress and boxspring (they'll give you a frame) and pickup what I needed along the way. You're 23; nobody expects you to have nice stuff.

UPdownLoAD said:   I highly recommend moving into your new place before purchasing any furniture. Once you're in there, you'll be able to better visualize what would look good where and what will suit your needs. Otherwise, you're trying to make a place for furniture instead of the spot waiting for what you need.

Agree with this as well. Having just moved... the dining room table that looked great in the house I owned is a little too big for the new place I'm renting. Whoops.

Don't know why I didn't mention this in my first post. For some furniture, kitchen stuff, decorations, etc, try the local thrift shops. They're hit and miss of course. Try to find one in a more affluent neighborhood and you'll have better options usually.

Just buy the stuff you need. I find that guys in their 20s never actually eat at a dining table.

Krazen1211 said:   Just buy the stuff you need. I find that guys in their 20s never actually eat at a dining table.

True. Save the table for later, spend more on a sturdy bed.

UPdownLoAD said:   
And finally, LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS!!! DON'T GO INTO DEBT OVER FURNITURE!! You'll find that after you move out, friends and family members usually will offer furniture, pots & pans, etc to get you started.


This isn't a worry. I'd furnish my place with cardboard boxes before I'd go into debt for it. I'll be buying anything I buy on credit for the sake of rewards, but everything's gonna be paid off immediately.

I don't expect much help from immediate family, but extending out a bit, there are some I see offering some stuff once they hear about it. So we'll see what happens there.

Krazen1211 said:   Just buy the stuff you need. I find that guys in their 20s never actually eat at a dining table.

I'm the one weird guy in the world that would eat at a dining table every night. Well, some kind of table, anyway. That's not a concern, either, at any rate. My mom already has a nice simple dining room set in storage.

askepios said:   
I don't expect much help from immediate family, but extending out a bit, there are some I see offering some stuff once they hear about it. So we'll see what happens there.


Post the things you still need on your favorite social media portal, or just tell people, and you might be surprised by what people are willing to part with that they've been hording in their storage unit for a decade.

Go to the wealthy part of town on garbage day and see what they throw out. If it looks good, return there next week with a rental truck and a dolly, and a friend.

Also consider lighting.


Stock on up these lamps, or something similar. I have 5 of them now.

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10139879/



Buy a big batch of CFL light bulbs (the landlord probably leaves behind the heavier energy use ones). Swap all the bulbs when you move in. Take the CFL bulbs with you when you leave.


Krazen1211 said:   Also consider lighting.


Stock on up these lamps, or something similar. I have 5 of them now.

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10139879/
I had an epiphany last night and realized that ceiling lights are superior to floor lamps and any other lamps since the stem blocks the light from going down so the areas low to the floor tends to be darker.

rufflesinc said:   Krazen1211 said:   Also consider lighting.


Stock on up these lamps, or something similar. I have 5 of them now.

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10139879/
I had an epiphany last night and realized that ceiling lights are superior to floor lamps and any other lamps since the stem blocks the light from going down so the areas low to the floor tends to be darker.


Sure, if your landlord puts them in.

But its a bit harder to take ceiling lights with you when you move.

Krazen1211 said:   rufflesinc said:   Krazen1211 said:   Also consider lighting.


Stock on up these lamps, or something similar. I have 5 of them now.

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10139879/
I had an epiphany last night and realized that ceiling lights are superior to floor lamps and any other lamps since the stem blocks the light from going down so the areas low to the floor tends to be darker.


Sure, if your landlord puts them in.

But its a bit harder to take ceiling lights with you when you move.


You also have to get out of your chair to hit the switch on a ceiling lamp. Table lamps you don't have to get out of bed to turn off.

Find an estate sale company near where you are. Within 50 miles of me I know of 3 weekly auctions....pretty much everything that would be inside a home is sold at every one of these sales. These places don't deal in junk.....furniture is basically new or high-quality vintage/antique and much better than you'd typically find on CL.

We got a solid wood Ethan Allen dining table/hutch/8 chairs for $250, a king solid wood sleigh bed/armoire/dresser/mirror for $300, a solid wood queen set for $150, and a matched set of Ethan Allen coffee tables for $100 from one of these. I regularly see new or near-new leather or microfiber couches/chairs go for $100-$200 too. Then pick up a couple new mattresses and you are set for pretty cheap.

I'd caution against buying quality at a young age, unless you know yourself well. The $3000 sofa that will last a lifetime might have to go if your future s/o doesn't like it.

Buy a quality mattress and more importantly, quality sheets and pillows! All the women tell me how comfortable my bed is. Get the rest of the furniture from craigslist.



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