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Furnish your home for less

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Last updated on

02 November 2012

Here's how you can furnish your home from top to bottom without breaking your budget.

The basics

Most flats or houses you move into, especially if they're rented, will have the essential items such as carpets and curtains and also white goods such as a fridge, freezer and washing machine.

In this piece we're going to look at how you can stock up on everything else, such as bedding, kitchen tools and bedroom furniture, for a small budget.

Where to look

Freegle and Freecycle are online recycling networks where you can find just about anything.

These communities can now be found all over the UK, and across the globe. They encourage the re-use of goods by giving them away for free, rather than chucking them out. When you join your local group, you are able to view hundreds of adverts posted by people who want to get rid of unwanted items.

These include furniture, gardening equipment, electrical appliances, baby goods, bicycles and practically anything else you can think of.

The selection of goods on offer can be a little random, but if you're looking for something specific you can post an advert listing it and once it becomes available you'll be emailed.

Gumtree is also worth a look, but as with the other websites, you may have to pay for transport to pick the stuff up if you don't have your own and this is going to push up costs.

Industrial outlets

There are furniture outlet shops across the country and they're stocked full of items at a much lower price than you'd find on the high street. 

The reason these are cheaper is because most of the stock is either ex-display, returned goods or cancelled orders. Trade Secrets for example in Oxford or Home Brands in Cambridgeshire offer discounts of up to 60% the standard retail price. 

Before you set off make sure you can visit an outlet as sometimes there is no public access to the factory itself. And if you're ordering online check for delivery costs as these can be high.

Second-hand shops

Many people seem to want to furnish their homes in a modern style, but if you're happy with the older, solid wood approach you can pick up some lovely pieces very cheaply. There are antique shops across the country and the further out of the main cities you get, the cheaper prices are. Obviously you also need to factor in transport costs.

Charity shops are also worth a look as these are also great for cheap household goods and furniture.  

High street bargains

If you don't mind hitting the less fashionable end of town, you can save lots of cash by rooting around in some old high street favourites such as Argos and Homebase.

The supermarkets are also a good shout for cheap furniture if you want something new instead of secondhand.

Prices vary a lot so again, shopping around and comparing retailers will save you money. Tools such as Price Runner are handy in this instance as they compare a wide range of retailers to show you the cheapest.

Here we've compared five household items at Argos, Homebase, Tesco and Woolworths. To give you an idea of the saving, there's also prices from John Lewis for comparison.

Item

John Lewis

Homebase

Argos

Tesco

Woolworths

Kettle

£16

£4.93

£5.49

£9.89

£15

Hoover

£59.97

£37

£19.99

£29.97

£69

Microwave

£64.99

£39.99

£32

£32

£45

16-piece cutlery set

£18

£9.99

£4.99

£10

£17

Toaster

£19.97

£6.50

£4.97

£4.97

£12

Do it yourself

Instead of paying for someone else to paint your home or fit the carpets, why not try yourself and save some money at the same time. The internet is full of videos showing you how to do simple household takes, from changing a light bulb to rewiring a plug, and there's also classes across the country allowing you to learn how to do larger jobs.

Obviously, don't tackle anything you know you're not going to be able to achieve, and if you do call in a builder make sure you get a few quotes before agreeing to anything.

This is a classic article which has been updated

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