7 Ways to Furnish Your Home on the Cheap

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Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

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If you’re moving into your first apartment or buying a home, you’re probably excited about decorating your new place. You can make it your own with paint, furniture, and artwork — and you don’t have to worry about a roommate’s opinion. However, you might be in for serious sticker shock. According to ForRent.com, the average person spends $8,176 on apartment furniture.

How Much Does the Average Person Spend on Furniture?

Image credit: ForRent.com

If you have student loan debt and a tight budget, that number might be out of reach. But before you make do with milk crates and movie posters from your college dorm, check out these tips.

1. Get thrifty

Salvation Army, Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, and other thrift and consignment shops often sell high-quality items for cheap prices. If you’re willing to check out multiple locations, you can find fantastic deals.

When my husband and I moved into our new home, I bought a beautiful lift-top coffee table for just $45. A local furniture store was selling a similar piece for $350.

2. Look for freebies

I live about 10 miles away from a very wealthy neighborhood. People in the community launched a Facebook group for buying, selling, and giving away items. Through that group, I scored a free dining set in excellent condition. All I had to do was show up and move it myself, so I got it for the price of a tank of gas for my friend’s truck.

Check Facebook and Freecycle for free items in good shape. If you’re willing to pick it up right away, you often can score name-brand stuff you otherwise couldn’t afford.

3. Shop online

If you’re willing to forgo testing out furniture and seeing it in person, you can find great pieces online. Plus, shopping online makes it easier to find furniture in exactly the right color and size.

For example, you can buy this Divano Roma couch — a well-reviewed sofa for small spaces — for just $259.99 on Amazon. Other sites to check out for furniture and household items include Overstock, Wayfair, and King Linen.

4. Use discounted gift cards

Using discounted gift cards can help you stretch your budget. You can purchase gift cards for department stores or furniture stores at significant discounts. For example, you could buy a gift card for Ashley Furniture at a 55% discount. That means you could spend just $45 and get a $100 gift card to use toward your purchases.

Look on sites like Gift Card Granny, Raise, and Cardpool to find gift cards.

5. Give big-box stores a second glance

Buying new might sound like an expensive extravagance. However, you can score great deals if you’re careful.

My husband and I spend a lot of time watching movies and snuggling our dogs, so having a comfortable sofa is important to us. However, the cheapest one we could find in major furniture stores was about $1,000. Even on Craigslist and in secondhand shops, sofas were way out of our budget, so we decided to look at some big discount stores instead.

I’m a Big Lots fanatic, so I dragged my husband there one day. I found a gorgeous couch for just $300. But I waited until the friends and family sale, when I got 20% off, and used a discounted gift card to get an additional 7% off, bringing the cost to just $219. The sofa is comfortable and has held up under serious use, so I’m thrilled with the purchase.

If you pay attention to sales, you might be able to snag a great deal at Big Lots, Walmart, Target, or Ikea.

6. Check out estate sales

When people move, go through a divorce, or experience the death of loved one, they often have to sell their belongings quickly. One of the best ways to do so is through estate sales, which means they’re a great opportunity to furnish your home on a budget.

By scanning listings on EstateSales.net, I was able to get silverware, plates, pots and pans, and a serving tray for less than $50.

7. Consider a personal loan to fill the gap

Although going into debt is rarely a good idea, when it comes to your health and productivity, it can be worth it. If you’re out of cash and still need some essentials, it might make sense to apply for a personal loan.

I don’t mean you should take out a loan and blow the money on expensive artwork or an Xbox. But if you’re sleeping on an air mattress, taking out a small loan so you can buy a decent mattress and a basic bed frame is a small price to pay for a good night’s sleep (and no back pain). Similarly, if you need supplies to boost your income, such as a new computer so you can freelance, a personal loan can be a sound investment.

If you decide to go this route, borrow only what you need and make sure you can afford the payments. To qualify for a low-interest personal loan, ask a trusted friend or family member to cosign the loan with you. If your situation improves, make extra payments toward the loan to pay it off as quickly as possible and save money.

Getting the most for your money

If you’re planning to move, make sure you account for all the costs that come with it. If you need to borrow money to pay for the move or household essentials, compare offers from multiple personal loan lenders to ensure you get the best deal.

Interested in a personal loan?

Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2018!
LenderRates (APR)Loan Amount 
1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Personal LoansFixed rates from 6.58% APR to 14.87% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 6.275% APR to 12.575% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of July 16, 2018 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 6.275% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 2.10% plus 4.175% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.
  2. Terms and Conditions Apply: SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

2 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  • Personal Loan Rate DisclosureFixed interest rates from 6.49% – 19.49% (6.49% – 19.49% APR) based on applicable terms. Lowest rates range from 5.99%-18.99% (5.99%-18.99% APR), are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
  1. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  2. Automatic Payment Discount: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their Citizens Bank Personal Loan during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account two or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.

* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.

Upgrade Bank Disclosures

  • Personal Loan Rate DisclosureFixed interest rates from 6.49% – 19.49% (6.49% – 19.49% APR) based on applicable terms. Lowest rates range from 5.99%-18.99% (5.99%-18.99% APR), are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
  1. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  2. Automatic Payment Discount: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their Citizens Bank Personal Loan during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account two or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
7.73% – 29.99%$1,000 - $50,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
6.28% – 14.87%1$5,000 - $100,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
6.87% – 35.97%*$1,000 - $50,000Visit Upgrade
8.00% – 25.00%$5,000 - $35,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
4.99% – 29.99%$10,000 - $35,000Visit FreedomPlus
5.99% – 18.99%2$5,000 - $50,000Visit Citizens
15.49% – 34.49%$2,000 - $25,000Visit LendingPoint
5.99% – 35.89%$1,000 - $40,000Visit LendingClub
5.49% – 18.24%$5,000 - $75,000Visit Earnest
9.95% – 35.99%$2,000 - $35,000Visit Avant
Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.