Dorm Free, But Furnishings Are Needed

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Ask a handful of college students who live on campus what they think of dorm life and you’ll probably get a bunch of different answers including:

couch“Its cool. I just walk a block or two to my classes.”

“I’m stuck here and I hate it.”

“My roommate is a psycho.”

“I wish I could move off campus.”

Not everyone can afford an off-campus apartment even with two or three roommates to share expenses. Rent, utilities, furniture, and food can add up, putting additional pressure on middle class families to provide help for their adult offspring.

If you are lucky enough to get an apartment and it isn’t furnished, then you’ll need to do some furniture shopping to at least provide a place for you to sleep. The following tips can help you find what you want, without busting your budget.

Check College BB Postings — College bulletin boards (BB) — online and on campus — are great ways to find furniture. Chances are someone wants to get rid of an old couch, a bed or a chest of drawers. Expect to get well worn furniture, but at garage sale prices.

Flea Markets, Rummage Sales — In the neighborhood where you are planning to move you may find churches, civic organizations, and schools — perfect places to check out for used furniture. Some churches hold monthly sales as a way to fund their ministries with furniture just one part of what they sell. Oh, if you are buying a bed, don’t take the mattress — splurge for a new one to avoid inheriting fleas, germs and other unmentionables.

Used Furniture Stores — New furniture is pricey although some may argue a trip to IKEA isn’t that expensive. Where IKEA isn’t around, a visit to a used furniture store could be a great way to find what you want without spending a lot. Some “used” furniture has never been used — instead, they are scratch ‘n dent pieces handed down by new furniture retailers. Floor models are worth considering too.

Model Home Furniture — Developers will stage their model homes with furniture, some of which they will purchase before putting on display. Once the last home has sold, that furniture will be returned to the retailer and sold as used. You may not be able to furnish your entire apartment, but you could pick up a kitchen table and chairs; bed with bureau; nightstand; lamps; or even a sofa.

Of course, if you are planning to move once the year is out, lugging furniture with you can be a burden you don’t want to have to deal with. In that case, think of a futon for your bed and folding tables and chairs for your other furniture.

Finally, when it comes to buying used furniture many people will insist upon cash while some retailers will take a credit card or even extend to you a line of credit if you have the means to pay on time.

With a little imagination you can outfit your college apartment, moving beyond the confinements of dorm living.

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Categories: Personal Advice