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Home Buying Help – Money Management Tools – Home Decorating Ideas – Free Recipes

15 Ways to Save on Decor

Fill up your home without draining your wallet -- use these 15 frugal tips.

Furniture

1. Buy secondhand or unfinished: Shop thrift stores, antiques shops, yard sales and estate sales for the best bargains. Sure, the items are used, but the truth is, most antique furniture is more sturdily made than newer items. Look for solid construction; you can always refinish surface flaws or cover them up with paint. And speaking of refinishing furniture, some companies will charge you less for furniture made of raw, unfinished wood. Applying a few coats of stain or paint is something even a DIY novice can handle.

2. Shop around the holidays: Stores capitalize on both major and minor holidays, when people are entertaining or looking to make home improvements, by trying to outdo each other with deep discounts on big-ticket items. In addition, most furniture retailers refresh their inventories around Memorial Day and Labor Day. If you have your eye on a particular store, ask the manager when they restock and then shop the previous season’s inventory -- no one will know the difference but you!

3. Buy unassembled: If you learned anything in college, it was how to use those little wrenches that came with your unassembled furniture. Put those skills to use again, knowing that you save money by buying furniture that you have to put together yourself.

4. Buy outdoor furniture in the off-season: There’s no actual season for furniture -- except when it comes to outdoor furniture. Most people buy once the weather starts getting warm. Make an appointment to shop for a new patio set in the middle of winter and you’ll save big-time.

5. Transport your own furniture: Know someone with a van or a truck who owes you a favor? Cash in the IOU and ask them to help you get your furniture home so you can skip the shipping fees.

Accessories

1. Sign up for flash-sale sites: There are a plethora of sites that offer huge members-only discounts on brand-name furniture. New sales are typically posted every day, and each lasts anywhere from a few hours to a few days. If you see something you like, act fast -- before supplies run out!

2. Use coupons: Click around coupon codes and printable coupons for major furniture retailers. Often, users report on the coupons’ success rates -- so you know if it will work before you use it.

3. Cash in your credit card reward points: Use all those points you’ve been racking up for all the little purchases to stock up on goods from the bank’s associated retailers.

4. Mom-and-pop shops: Skip trendy chain stores -- where part of what you’re paying for is the brand name -- and opt for a small, privately owned store. The name may not be recognizable, but the quality and style of the merchandise is just as good.

Appliances

1. Get an older model: Upgraded models come out constantly, and appliance stores are always trying to clear out their old inventory to make way for the new. You may have to skip all the cutting-edge features, but buying last year’s -- or even last season’s -- washer can save you a bundle.

2. Go for the scratch-and-dent deal: Most stores are happy to unload appliances with minor surface damage for drastically reduced prices. So if you don’t mind a few nicks, ask your store if they offer deals. Or see if you can get a discount on the floor model.

3. Don’t fall for bells and whistles: Be honest with yourself: How big does your dishwasher really need to be? Do you need all those sophisticated settings and electronic sensors? Do your research and opt for a brand you trust with the features you need – and don’t be suckered into paying extra for options you won’t even miss.

4. Invest in tax-deductible energy-saving appliances: Opt for purchasing ENERGY STAR-certified appliances, many of which you can apply toward tax credits for the following year. The credit is a certain percentage of what you spent on your appliances, and it caps at $1,500. Only some appliances qualify, so visit EnergyStar.gov before you shop.

5. Skip the extended warranty: Most experts agree that you should refuse the extended warranty (also called a maintenance agreement) when it comes to big appliances. The cost often outweighs the need. Instead, stash some money away and use it to pay for repairs as the need arises.

6. Repair and maintain your appliances: If your appliance is high-end or less than eight years old, try the repair route; it could end up saving you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. On the other hand, if the appliance is older than eight years or the repair will cost more than half the price of a new product, it’s probably wiser to just replace. Also, preventive maintenance of your working appliances -- testing refrigerator seals, cleaning dryer vents and clearing clogged stove burners, for instance -- can prolong the life of your appliance significantly.

-- The Nest Editors