Making Your House a Home Without Going Broke

It's been a couple months since I moved from my teeny tiny one bedroom San Francisco apartment to a 3 bedroom house in Austin. We had very little furniture to begin with but wanted to upgrade our IKEA and college leftovers so didn't bring much across the country with us. 

Shortly after buying our home we realized how freaking expensive "grown-up" furniture and decor is! We're not quite finished, but we've managed to get most of it done on a pretty small budget.

Before you do any shopping: create a plan! Make a list of what you need, what types of items you're looking for, and what your budget will be. And don't forget to take measurements.

Estate Sales & Craigslist
The best way to find some amazing furniture on a budget is at estate sales! I came across an amazing estate sale from a listing on Craigslist and to be honest, that's where the majority of our furniture is from. We picked up two couches, a chair and matching ottoman, a recliner, coffee table, artwork and other household odds and ends all for less than a couch at Pottery Barn we were eyeing. Some sales are certainly hit or miss, but this one was a goldmine for us. Try to find ones that have a lot of photos in their listing so you can get a better idea of what they're selling. Also try to find out if there's a professional running the sale (yes, that's a thing!) be sure to ask if they have any other sales coming up.

Outlet & Thrift Stores
Find nearby outlet stores, smaller boutique stores, or used furniture stores. They can often give you a really good deal and you'll find unique items to match your personality and style. We found a discount outlet store that has a giant sale a couple times year and found our dining room table, king size bed, and a killer light fixture at really great prices. Stores like Goodwill also have auctions for pricier items like furniture and electronics that are worth checking out. We almost scored an amazing piano! 

Ask for a Discount
Whether it's at an estate sale or shop don't be afraid to ask for a deal or discount. I'm not one to haggle the crap out of people but simply asking "any special discounts happening right now?" often got me at least 10% off at all the stores I shopped at. The more you buy at a sale or store the more they'll work with you on the pricing. If you're buying a couch see if they can throw in an extra throw pillow or two. Every little bit helps, right?

Schedule & Coordinate Your Delivery and Pickup Times 
Keep in mind delivery costs when budgeting your purchases. Delivery fees, truck rentals, movers or gas certainly start to add up if you're not careful. For the price one store's delivery fee we rented a truck and picked up everything ourselves from 3 different stores and locations. With a little planning you can coordinate pickups to maximize your time and money. 

Do you have any tips of your own? Please share! 

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