I must say, I was thinking something similar about our own home not so long ago. I really, really, really want to furnish our home in my own style and decor. I want to go the the furniture stores and just pick & choose items of my very own.
We have a lot of furniture in our home, but pretty much all of it was somewhere else before it was here. If that makes sense. My husband’s grandparents sofa and chair are in our living room. They are the only pieces I am seriously considering keeping – although they will be reupholstered and restuffed.
My primary hold up is that now that we have decided to tackle our debts in earnest once and for all, I refuse to finance furnishings for our home. We will save up and pay cash for them or do without until our debts are much, much, much, much smaller than they are. I watch HGTV, pour over catalogs and gather ideas. Some of them are up on the wall. I want to make this house our home without creating more debt.
I understand your frustration, believe me.
I am considering going to visit the local hotel liquidation places in search of a couple of pieces sometime this year, depending on how much we save up. Whatever happens, I refuse to finance the items at loanshark rates, through some furniture store, or on credit cards. It would be terrific if I could find some bored very classy person who is just plain bored with their decor willing to give it all to us so they can redecorate with the latest and greatest. Does that ever happen?????
Most of my furniture and even dishes came from the contents of abandoned storage units. My dad buys these lots a couple times a year. it’s good stuff usually and you can’t beat the price. He paid $50 for one unit that actually held stuff from three separate units. We got a gorgeous china hutch, six desks, three dressers, two couches, two kitchen tables (no chairs), tons of dishes and pots and pans, TVs, TV stand, two entertainment centers, a foot stool, two kitchen cabinets, and lots more decorative household items. I’ve also bought a great glide rocker from a yard sale for $5. My computer came from my ex, he bought a fancy new computer last year and gave me the old computer, which he’d bought new the year before.
And my income for 2007 wasn’t much over $14,000. When my kids complain about the used furniture i pull out ads for local stores or get on the internet and show them how much things cost. Then I put that price into things they can understand like buying this item for $400 is equal to buying ten $39.95 video games. Last year i took a composition class and did a report on the cost of nursing home care and compared the annual cost to how many years of my income it would cost. (One year for my grandma would have cost 8 years of my total income.) This comparison had a bigger impact on both me and my classmates.
Remember, what you’re doing is teaching your kids by example. You want your kids to grow up being responsible with their money, not being careless and getting into debt.
I also had another thought. When I moved into my house from a one-bedroom apartment 2 years ago, I found brand new furniture at bargain prices by going to a Raymour & Flanigan Clearance Center near me. I wouldn’t have known about them except for the fact that their outlet store is right near where I live.
Basically their furniture is either damaged or discontinued. I got some of both. Living room couch said it was damaged, but after 2 years, I can’t find any! I’ve had my bedroom set for 30 years, so I did get a new one there as well. It was a fairy tale set, something I would have gone crazy over as a teenager … but still appropriate for an adult. Armoir, dresser, vanity, and bed. Now, this set is most definitely damaged. You can see nicks, and in some spots, a few gouges. If I were handy, or could afford to hire someone who was, those spots could easily be fixed by someone who works with wood.
I also got an enormous wood desk for my computer … this item has the largest amount of damage, but after using it for 2 years now, I hardly notice it, because none of the damages get in my way at all.
I bargained them down from their original clearance price after looking at all the damaged spots … someone who’s good at bargaining could have probably done even better than I did.
I don’t feel at all embarrassed by the damaged spots – in fact, family and friends applaud me for finding new pieces at fractions of the original cost. These days, I think most people tend to admire any good method for saving money!
Anyway, you may have already considered this option, or even have done it yourself, but just in case my own experience could be helpful to you, I thought I’d share it.