When my wife and I were moving a few months ago we packed everything up in the back of a Uhaul truck. We were actually just moving a few blocks away and renting out our first home. Everything made the trip without a scratch with the exception of one piece – an Ikea dresser. It basically disintegrated in my hands as we tried to move it out of the house. It turns out that particle board does not transport well!
About nine months before the move my wife and I had needed a bit of extra storage space. We decided that Ikea might be the best option for us penny pinching frugalites. And while that fifty dollar wardrobe did its job for a while and held clothes inside of its flimsy doors as advertised, it turns out that many of the uber cheap Ikea products just aren’t made to last – or even be moved once assembled!
But honestly, did we ever expect that furniture we put together with an allen wrench would stand the test of time?
I had another experience recently with a chair that I picked up at a furniture auction. It cost me $40. It has needed a few repairs over the last few months because of the incredibly cheap manufacturing techniques. Cheap pine and tiny little nails that would barely hold two pieces of paper together are the downfall of this modern cheapo marvel.
So coming from a guy who loves a bargain, buying something on the cheap is actually a bad idea when the thing you are buying is made cheaply. So how do you avoid buying cheap crap? You’ll want to avert nabbing just a cheap deal but concentrate instead on scoring a good value.
Hit the Yard Sales
I have a counter story to my modern piece of junk chair that cost me $40. I was checking out some yard sales last month and found a killer mid-century chair for the same price. This forty bucks went much further for me. Real wood and sturdy design mean that even though this chair is six decades older than its poorly constructed counterpart, it will continue to hold up better over time. Yard sales are great places to find sturdy old furniture that can be a part of your decor for a long time to come – and the prices are pretty hard to beat!
Search Craigslist often
Think of Craigslist as a giant online yard sale. Twenty four hours a day this gem of a website is open for business. Taking to Craigslist for your next furniture purchase could net you some sweet finds. I scour the site a couple of times a week. I even look in other cities when I’m making a road trip to see if there are any awesome deals to be had. Just make sure to be a discerning shopper. Deals abound but so do the scamsters as well. Side note: Sometimes you can even get such a great deal on Craigslist that after you use it for a couple of years, you can sell it for more than you paid! Side note: You can also set up a Craigslist alert for certain searches.
Get Adventurous with Antiquing
Some of my favorite – and most sturdy pieces – have come from antique shops. I recently purchased a beautiful old wooden king sized headboard for $110. You can’t get a new headboard – even at Wal Mart – for that price. It’s solid wood, has amazing style, and will last for a long time to come. Antique shops come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes. Try and find one close to you that offers good bargains on solid old pieces of furniture.
So let this be a reminder to us all. The cheapest option can actually cost you more in the long run. A poorly made product might seem like the right quick fix but you’ll most likely be looking to replace that piece far too soon. You might jump on it because of the super low price tag but it’ll cost you more in the end. Be on the lookout for real value! That’s how you maximize your dollar when furniture shopping.
Have you made cheap furniture purchases that you ended up regretting? Have you had any couches, tables, or chairs just fall apart on you? How do you go about scoring nice pieces on a skinny budget?