How to Buy Furniture on a Budget

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By the author of The Faithful Prepper and The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications.

Where can you find cheap furniture? How do you buy furniture on a budget? I ended up in a house the other day that was absolutely devoid of furniture. People lived inside, but they didn’t have the funds to furnish their house. Air mattresses and a kitchen table were really the only things in the house.

This got me thinking about other people out there who may find themselves in something of a similar situation. Let’s say you just graduated from college but still haven’t been able to find a job that pays more than the front desk of the local café. As a result, your new apartment is looking pretty scanty.

Here are a few thoughts to consider…

ana-white.com

This is the route I chose to go when it came to getting furnishings in my house. If you have the tools and the know-how, you can save yourself hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars by building your own furniture. Ana White is big into the DIY farmhouse feel with the furniture she posts.

I used Ana White’s blueprints and images to make my dining room table and a shoe bench as well. These were built years ago and have never given me any trouble maintenance-wise.

All of the furniture she posts up on her website is very easy for beginners to manage and can easily be built after a single trip to your local hardware store.

The landfill

You may think it’s goofy that I’m advocating for dumpster diving here, but I’ve found a number of nice pieces sitting by the side of the dump. I would never recommend picking up anything with any cushioning here (bedbugs/nastiness), but if we’re talking about a pair of wooden rocking chairs, why not throw them in the truck?

I’ve found wooden chairs, bicycles, oak tabletops, decorations, and a host of other things that were still in perfectly good condition at my local dumpster.

Craigslist

This is my favorite place online to hunt for furniture sales. You can find all kinds of great deals, and you don’t have to spend hours (and gas) driving around town to various yard sales. I will give the caveat to be careful with who you deal with here, however. I’ve had more than my fair share of contacts with scammers through Craigslist.

If the English sucks, don’t trust them. Your money will end up in Asia.

Steve Ramsey’s Youtube

If you want to build your own furniture but learn better from watching videos, then you may want to check out what Steve Ramsey has to say. The guy literally makes everything, and if you’re brand new to woodworking of any type, he has plenty of pointer videos that will help you along the way as you try to build one of his furniture builds.

Yard sales

I think these are the best places to consistently find nice, inexpensive furniture. I’ve picked up a host of furniture at these over the years, often only paying 5-10% of what the furniture initially cost. Sometimes the furniture has dings and scratches, but you can typically fix that all up yourself fairly easily, provided you have some stain, wood filler, and maybe even some polyurethane sitting around somewhere.

Goodwill

Really, any thrift store could be talked about here. Goodwill is the catch-all, though, so here it is. You never really know what you’re going to find here, but if you check in regularly, you may be able to score some nice furniture deals that will save you a ton of money.

IKEA

Want new stuff? Though it has something of a reputation for “cheap” furniture, IKEA can help you to furnish your home without having to saw anything or spending thousands of dollars. Don’t anticipate anything here to be heirloom quality (I’ve destroyed the bottom of several IKEA bookshelves just trying to scoot them into place over the years), but they will help you to make your home look less dungeony and more homey.

Pinterest

I include this for the same reason as Ana White’s website. You’re not going to buy furniture off of Pinterest, but you will find a lot of designs for cheap furniture if you have the gumption to grab a stack of lumber and a saw and go to work.

Estate sales

The catch I’ve found here is that the furniture at estate sales tends to be very old-fashioned. Occasionally, you can find furniture that you may want to pick up and put into your house as well.

How do YOU buy furniture on a budget? 

Have you used any of these above locations before to help to furnish your home? Are there other venues that you would recommend to somebody who is living on a very tight budget but needs a chair or two to sit in at their home? Let us know what you’ve found in the comment section below.

About Aden

Aden Tate is a regular contributor to TheOrganicPrepper.com and TheFrugalite.com. Aden runs a micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has four published books, The Faithful Prepper An Arm and a Leg, The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications, and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.

How to Buy Furniture on a Budget
Aden Tate

Aden Tate

About the Author Aden Tate has a master’s in public health and is a regular contributor to PewPewTactical.com, SurvivalBlog.com, SHTFBlog.com, ApartmentPrepper.com, HomesteadAndPrepper.com, and PrepperPress.com. Along with being a freelance writer he also works part-time as a locksmith. Aden has an LLC for his micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has two published books, The Faithful Prepper and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American at Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.

8 thoughts on “How to Buy Furniture on a Budget”

  1. Great article! I’ve furnished entire apartments via Goodwill and roadside sales. Better than sitting on milk crates!

  2. Fantastic article! If you have a few tools and don’t mind woodworking, it would be worthwhile looking into things like reclaimed wood and repurposed pallet boards. Hopefully you can find a friend with a truck if you go that route. If you have a truck of your own, well, fistbump. Some hardware stores will deliver but it’s expensive and this is all about saving money.

    Out of the options in the article I’d probably look around and find a thrift store in a good part of town, since they have better stuff. Why? Well lumber (even the crappy stuff) is so expensive that I feel like I should go in wearing a top hat and a monocle every time I go and buy some. You can buy assemble-yourself, Wal-Mart Fall-Apart furniture for waaaaay less than building anything if you have to buy your own wood.

    A Re-Store, a Habitat for Humanity store, or an office furniture salvager could be another option.

  3. Some communities have bulk pickup days once a month. Everything from is put on the curb for free by people who don’t or can’t take items to donate or dump.

  4. If you run a search on YouTube.com for WOOD PALLET, you’ll find listings for a virtual library of projects that can be built from those free wood pallet discards.

    –Lewis

  5. Check your local “Rent to Own” stores. I’ve gotten a number of inexpensive ok quality used items like tables, chairs, & dressers (all wood, no cushions) for dimes in the dollar prices.

  6. Some pawn shops have decent furniture. I’ve done the “putting the world out” thing to coworkers and friends. You prob won’t get top quality but it will tide you over and folks are happy to help and get rid of stuff. I’ve gotten nice things this way.

  7. Unfortunately, picking at our local landfill is now illegal.
    In years past, I have picked many things, including a full size metal office desk with all of the drawers still there. (I am sitting at it now as I type.)
    My kids would pick up bikes and fix them and sell them.

  8. If you live in a college town, end of academic year could be a boon. Some colleges have a dedicated area to bring furniture/items which are open to the public. When younger daughter graduated, that is where we put some furniture (no mattress from the bunk bed however) that we longer needed.

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