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How to Find Amazing Furniture On the Cheap

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LearnVest
01.23.13

Photo: YEAH! rentals

This post originally appeared on LearnVest, where smart people learn to manage their money and live their richest lives.

Whether you’re currently moving or simply need a new nightstand, it’s uncool to drop hundreds and hundreds of dollars on furniture. To avoid expensive furniture disasters, LearnVest has two golden rules:

  • Only buy online when there are product guarantees and returns.
  • Nothing’s worse than investing in great furniture only to have it ruined by burst pipes. Make sure to nab good renter’s insurance, which is really cheap compared to the benefits you gain. (If your apartment is destroyed, the insurance will replace your belongings and pay for you to stay in a hotel.)

Here are a few more ways to get what you need and make your house beautiful, without breaking the bank:

1. Time Your Shopping

Like fashion, furniture has its seasons. Office furniture (desks, bookshelves) tend to be cheaper in January, while October is the best time for dining room furniture. Patio furniture usually goes on sale at the end of the summer. Bedroom furniture is a perennial need, so it doesn’t have a predictable sales pattern…but mattresses and box springs tend go on sale in May and again in the fall. Also, keep in mind regular holidays such as Independence Day, Labor Day, and Memorial Day, when department stores have major sales.

2. Buy Furniture Slowly

Even if you’re still young, items like bed frames and coffee tables can easily follow you for over a decade. Furniture represents one of the biggest costs of moving: We’re talking about mattresses, bed frames, TVs, desks, chairs, artwork, lamps…you get the idea. Beds alone can cost almost $1,000. So, treat these purchases as big investments, buy slowly, and make sure that these are objects you’ll be grateful for ten years down the road.

3. Nab It on the Cheap

Meanwhile, if you just need something quickly and on the cheap (or if you’re furnishing a sublet or dorm room),  IKEA is the place to go. The pieces there are sleek and cheap, which makes them easy to replace every couple years. Our favorites include this simple and pretty nightstand for only $30 and this easy, modern shelf unit for $15. Shipping rates can range from as low as $19 to $299, so if there’s a store near you, go in and pick up the items yourself.

To see three more savvy tips, check out the original post on LearnVest

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