The summer home buying season has come and gone, and like many, you may find yourself (finally) getting the keys to your new home! As a new homeowner, you’re anxious to start decorating and furnishing your new humble abode. However, you just dished out a good chunk of change for your closing costs, down payment, etc. so you’ll need to be thrifty. Resist the temptation to run up your credit cards and charge accounts with furniture store. Here are a few ideas on how you can furnish your home on a budget.
Plan out your vision. With a pen and pad of paper, sit in every room in your house for about 10 minutes and list out everything you think the room needs, including any large items such as beds, chairs and couches.
Prioritize. Now that you’ve planned out your dream home, it’s time to prioritize. There’s no rule that dictates how soon your home needs to be completely furnished. A house is typically a long-term commitment. Take your time and work at the speed your budget allows. Not to mention, you’ll want to save for the things you really want, instead of settling for something just because it’s a good price.
Budget. Needless to say, this will be the heart of your plan. Keep your checking and savings accounts in mind while determining what your new monthly expenses will be in your new home. Include expenses like your mortgage payment, insurance, taxes, utilities, food and discretionary spending. A good rule of thumb is to have at least 3-months’ worth of savings. Whatever you have above this amount is what you can spend on furniture and décor during your first shopping round. Then, when your savings gets above that three-month mark again, then allow yourself to go buy that next round of furniture. What if you don’t feel comfortable spending all of your extra savings? That’s completely fine! Find your own level of comfort, and remember, work at your own pace and stick to your budget.
Choose quality over quantity. Don’t let the desire to just fill the room take over your aspiration to have quality furniture that will last you long after you need it. Remember that priority list we created earlier? The point of this was to identify which rooms you will be spending the most time in and filling those rooms first. In those rooms especially, you’ll want to have good quality items that can follow you from house to house. Consider pinching pennies on your end tables and spend more on your mattress or bed frame.
Has the news you’ve purchased a new home spread like wildfire? Do you have distant relatives, parents, coworkers and friends offering their old furniture to help get you started? While it’s a kind and generous offer, if you aren’t thoughtful about what you accept, you could end up with way too much furniture and not love any of it. Before accepting hand-me-down furniture, ask yourself these 3 questions:
1) Is this piece in good working condition?
2) Does it fit my style and/or can it be modified with a new stain, paint, knobs, etc. to work with the design I have in mind?
3) Can I think of exactly which spot and in which room I would use it?
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