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Buying a home? 12 ways to save on furniture

The costs associated with buying a house often mean there's little money left over for furniture for your new home. Here's how to find bargains.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 30, 2014 2:14PM

This post comes from Allison Martin at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyPurchasing a home is a massive, yet exciting undertaking. But what about all of the additional expenses that are part of the equation? Many homebuyers forget to account for them.

One of the most costly purchases outside of major appliances is furniture. It's a must-have, unless you don't mind passing time on the floor.

Fortunately, you don't have to go further into debt to make your new home cozy and aesthetically pleasing. Besides planning ahead so you won't engage in impulse shopping, there are other ways to save a ton of money on furniture, both new and used.

1. Craigslist

You may be skeptical about shopping for furniture on Craigslist, so here's the trick: Search for listings in high-end areas to increase your chances of locating the high-caliber goods. Just be sure that the cost of repairs and cleaning, if necessary, doesn't add substantially to the purchase price.

Want to maximize your savings? Check out for free furniture.

2. Reupholstering and refinishing

Do you actually need new furniture or can you spruce things up with a face-lift? If the latter is true, try having your items reupholstered or refinished. The Internet is full of how-to tips and ideas, such as this website. And home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowe's will offer lots of advice.

Then rearrange your upgraded furniture in your home with new décor, such as pillows, lamps and rugs.

Conduct an online search for interior design ideas and try visiting stores, such as Home Goods, Marshalls and T.J. Maxx, to locate accent pieces and accessories. Small changes can make a huge difference and save you a ton of cash.

3. Moving sales, yard sales, estate sales

Is anyone in your area moving to another city? If not, check out individual and community garage sales to take advantage of bargains. The "everything must go" mentality will more than likely grant you access to the best deal available.

Man looking at empty living room © BilderLounge/SuperStock And if you run across an estate sale, keep in mind that the best items go fast, says Apartment Therapy. However, "if you come after the rush (later in the day or the next day), you will feel less frazzled and are in a better position to haggle," the website says.

4. Going-out-of-business sales

The retailers must clear out the inventory and equipment in their facility before the doors officially close for good. If you have some flexibility, wait until the final weeks of operation to shop. Even if the selection is limited, you will save a substantial amount of cash on the furniture you select.

5. Thrift stores

The items are donated and quite likely will vary greatly in how gently used or abused they were. Still, you might find some great deals that can look like new with a little attention.

6. Discount furniture stores

In Florida, we have clearance centers, such as American Freight and Big Lots, that sell name-brand furniture at big discounts. The Rooms to Go Outlet also sells items with slight scratches and dents. Check to see if these stores or ones like them are in your area.

Also, your local furniture store may have great discounts on floor models and items that are a bit dinged.

7. Furniture swapping

No cash available for new furniture? Try trading with others who have items that interest you. Another way to find partners is via Craigslist, but make sure what they are offering is comparable in terms of value to your goods.

8. Consignment shops

Furniture at these locations is usually decent enough to generate a profit for the shop, as well as some cash for the original owner. And the boutique shops sometimes carry high-end designer brands.

9. Special promotions

The best time to buy furniture is when stores have to make room for new inventory. The timing varies, but check holidays like Memorial Day and Veterans Day, plus the months of February and August. Hold off and the price might drop even more.

Meanwhile, May is a good time to buy a mattress, says DealNews.

Track the prices on your favorite pieces so you can pounce when there's a major markdown.

MarketWatch says  the sale items are often at the back of the store, so that customers are forced to walk through the full-priced items to get there. Don't get distracted. Make a beeline for the discounted stuff.

10. Haggling

The advertised prices for furniture are not set in stone and the store owner can easily drop the price and still make a decent profit. Says MarketWatch, "Most furniture retailers mark up their prices by about 80 percent (and in some cases more) to maximize profits."

11. Price matching

Check the fine print and kindly approach management if you discover that they offer price matching for identical or similar products.

12. Wholesalers

The inventory tends to turn over frequently, so pop in as often as you can to take a look. And if you see something you like, jump on it immediately. But be on the lookout for slightly damaged goods.

What tactics have you used to save big bucks on furniture?

More from Money Talks News

May 1, 2014 9:15PM
If you have to look for furniture bargains, you may have bitten off more than you can realistically afford for a may be the least of your worries, home ownership entails maintenance and untimely emergencies - if furniture is a struggle, just try to hunt down a replacement furnace at a bargain store - not going to happen.  Do yourself a favor, when you are told you 'qualify' for a certain mortgage amount, slice a third or more off and start there. Sure, bargain hunt for furniture while you are at it - because you want to...not because you need to.  Remember that there is no worse place to live than beyond your means.  You'll thank yourself later.
May 2, 2014 7:43AM
If you buy a home with a mortgage that is less than one year's income, affording furniture is easy.
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