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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): Furniture for Pennies on the Dollar

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Furniture for Pennies on the Dollar


I will never, ever, ever buy brand new furniture in a big box store ever again. Repeat this mantra a few times and then read on. There are too many ways out there to get really nice furniture at bargain basement prices without taking the unnecessary hit to your pocketbook. Let me tell you how.

Some of these resources will lead you to brand new furniture. Others will get you something gently used, and for the history buffs like myself, many of you will agree that the nicest stuff is some of the vintage and antique offerings out there.

If you are in the market for nice furniture, first of all, get it out of your head that you are going to get it RIGHT NOW and yesterday. Get out of the NOW mentality...success to those who wait is the lesson being learned here.

Your first stop is going to be a neighboring garage sale. Scan the newspaper listings and concentrate on the listings with "moving", "everything must go", "combining households" and those listing furniture. Your best bet is always your local newspaper, but there are also some online garage sale sites such as Garage Sale Hunter. If you are familiar with your area, it may even pay off to drive a loop around your neighborhood, hitting all the cross streets. Many advertise their sales only with signs. Be sure to bargain and never offer the advertised price. If their stuff is overpriced, you can drop back at the end of the day, and most will gladly want to get rid of it for next to nothing.

Did you ever wonder what happened to that nice model furniture down at the model home? It gets sold...and at bargain prices too! There is a store near us in Orlando selling model furniture and their stock changes daily. I found Gently Touched Furniture in Orlando by googling the city and "model furniture". Also use "used furniture" and "second hand" furniture. Many of these stores and businesses advertise in your newspaper in the classifieds...or by garage sale type signs out on your local streets. Keep a look out! The lady who did my blinds for my house found a beautiful bombe dresser, with an original price tag of $800 for under $200 there.

Check consignment shops. Again, find them through google or your phone book. You can find quality stuff at lower prices than at the big box store down the street.

Check Craig's List. This has the added benefit of being local, so you can actually go see, touch and feel the furniture before buying it. Just check your local city's Craig's List. I would only recommend eBay for furniture from a reputable seller with TONS of positive feedback, good item descriptions and photos AND reasonable and upfront shipping costs. Many people get burned on eBay with furniture if they do not follow these simple steps. Read the bottom of the article, furniture buying guide to get the confidence you need to buy on eBay. Other eBay furniture guides are located here.

Believe it or not, sometimes those rent-to-own places will have gently used merchandise for sale, such as stuff that was recently repossessed. Go look in the back or ask for it. They usually would like to get rid of that stuff...it's bad for their image of everything new and squeaky clean. Walk in there with cash and walk out with a bargain.

Last stop but also a goodie is your local antique or used goods auction. I know Florida has a website listing all the auction houses. Again, google "auction", your city and state and see what comes up. Many of these auction houses advertise in your newspaper classified section. I've gotten anywhere from new furniture to furniture and clocks hundreds of years old....and at bargain prices. Antique dealers love these auctions. This is where they get their stash, mark up the price and then pass that on to you at their antique shop. Why not go where they go? Many auction houses allow you to come ahead of time and preview the items. I typically go, write down and take photos of things I am interested in, then come home and research those items on the internet. Be an informed buyer and know the bidding process when you go back for the sale. When figuring your final cost, figure in not only the sold price under the hammer, but also the sales tax, buyer's premium and any transportation costs if you didn't bring your cousin Earl and other cousin Earl to help you load that stuff up! Read here to learn how auctions work. They do typically give you a few days to come get your stuff, but find out the process before the auction starts!

Please be sure you also read my article on why Why Zero Down is a Big Fat Zero for You, if you are considering one of those "no money down, 0% furniture payment plans".
What resources do you use to find nice furniture?

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5 Comments:

Anonymous James said...

I've had some really good luck with Craigslist, the local newspaper, and the base newspaper. The garage sales weren't very good. We spent an entire Saturday morning and $30 worth of gas and came home empty handed. And, yes, I did get up at the crack of dawn to get there before all of the good stuff was gone.

September 21, 2007 at 12:58 AM  
Blogger ****Veteran Military Wife**** said...

Yes, garage sales can go either way. I've had friends who actually check the obituaries to get leads...also, sometimes the more upscale neighborhoods tend to have nicer stuff. I've never found much on military posts either...unless I was shopping for baby things.

September 21, 2007 at 1:36 PM  
Blogger Leslie said...

My husband and I have also had great luck with Craigslist. As we are still newlyweds and recently purchased our first home, there was no way we could furnish it with new pieces. If you are patient (and diligent about watching for and contacting quickly about pieces you like)there are great deals to be had.

September 25, 2007 at 4:12 PM  
Anonymous Jenny is Live & in Color said...

Great advice! I regret the few new purchases we've made in the last few years. Now, every time my husband suggests replacing something, I tell him that I just don't want anything right now that I will cry over after the movers damage it on the next PCS!

September 27, 2007 at 2:56 PM  
Anonymous Furniture said...

The picture looks cute and lovely....

August 7, 2008 at 5:47 PM  

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