How to afford furniture when you’re on a budget

It’s no secret that buying new furniture can be a difficult bill to swallow. Good furniture isn’t cheap, and even “cheap” furniture isn’t always cheap if you need to replace it a year or two later.

Friends and family often want to help out by offering items they no longer need. A couch here, a coffee table there and your parents’ aging dining set. Although it’s a kind gesture from the heart, you may not be able to accept their help, or you just may not want to. You might be moving across the country, or the items won’t physically fit inside your home. Or maybe you just can’t stomach the thought of Grandma’s awful floral-print couch sitting in your living room day after day. Sometimes we just don’t want hand-me-downs and that’s okay too.

But you don’t need to empty your piggy bank to get great pieces for your home. Check out these tips for buying furniture when you’re broke.


What do you actually need right now? You can easily save yourself some cash by cutting down on your wants and focusing on your needs instead. Maybe your creaking bed needs to be replaced ASAP, but those wicked new end tables can wait. It’s also nice to space out new purchases instead of buying everything at once.

Consider what’s essential to maintaining your quality of life – sleepless nights from a broken bed can affect your mood, your work and your health. But going without end tables just means you’ll have to get creative for a bit – think classic milk crate table or give your old table a makeover.


Invest for the Long Term

Know when it’s worth it to splurge. What should you invest in, and what can you buy for cheap now and upgrade later?

Sometimes the lowest priced item isn’t what will save you the most money in the long run. Buying a $100 blender costs you $100. But buying a $40 blender you have to replace twice costs you $120 (and that’s if the price stays the same).

The same goes for furniture. Buying a poor quality couch because it’s the cheapest one in the store may likely cost you more money in the long run if you have to replace it regularly – remember, buy nice or buy twice.

If you’re going to splurge on a high-quality piece, then you’ll have to give a little when it comes to other home furnishings. Wait a while to upgrade other items like your kitchen table and chairs if they’re still working for you.

Also think about versatility and style when it comes to getting your money’s worth. Choose multi-functional furniture to get the most out of your dollar – using an item in multiple ways helps make the most out of small spaces. And don’t forget to consider your style and how often it changes. Choose furniture you can style in multiple ways depending on your decor. This can help combat the craving to buy all new furniture if your style changes – you’ll only have to update your accessories.

Check out more tips for first-time buyers.

Buy on Sale

Buying clearance and sale items is one of the most obvious ways to save money. But what should you do when the perfect item is on sale?

When you find something you like, set up price watching online or keep an eye on flyers to see when prices drop. Sale items are a great way to get new furnishings at a cheaper price.

If you can live with some scratches and dents, then clearance may be the solution for you. Clearance items are usually floor models, returns or other as-is items. If you don’t care much about small imperfections, then the discount on clearance is totally worth it.

A lot of these pieces are pristine, save for a small scratch or fabric tear. Often times you hardly even notice these blemishes, and sometimes they even add to the character of the piece (think styles like rustic and industrial that embrace imperfections).

Buy Second-Hand

Trends and styles constantly change, and what you like probably changes a lot too. Buying second-hand can take the sting off of shelling out money for furniture, and it feels different than accepting used items from family or friends. These items are in saleable condition and you can often get high-quality, sturdy pieces with great discounts. Plus, vintage is totally in right now.

And because you spent less on your thrifted items than you did on brand new furniture, you won’t feel too guilty if you decide you want to change things up after a while.

Consider Financing

If you really don’t want second-hand items or just can’t find the right pieces, then you might consider financing new furniture. Besides a house or car, furniture is one of the bigger purchases you’ll make in your lifetime. It can be tough to pay thousands of dollars up front for a new sofa or bedroom set.

Financing makes it easier to fit new furniture into your budget by breaking up the cost into more affordable chunks. Or when you desperately need to replace your broken bookshelf but your bank balance disagrees, financing helps you overcome that obstacle. We recommend equal monthly payments to ensure you stay accountable for the cost until your purchase is paid off.

  • Shop with a list. Much like the grocery store, it can be easy to grab items you don’t really need when you get caught up in the excitement of buying new furniture.

  • Avoid impulse purchases when picking out new furniture in store. Your wallet will thank you.

  • Opt out of delivery and pick up your new furniture. Ask a friend with a truck to come along and help you – just don’t forget to thank them with pizza.