I'm getting ready to change locales … which means I've been shopping like CRAZY. I've realized that it's so easy to just go into the store and buy what you need without thinking about how much it costs -- and also that there's a whole lot of random stuff to buy when you're starting from scratch, since I haven't moved anywhere in almost three years!
While it's a crazy, whirlwind experience, it's definitely NOT an excuse to ignore all those savvy shopping skills we've learned together! Here is some good advice from Today.msnbc.com
about getting what you need for less.
1) The Internet is your friend.
Instead of blowing off a ton of time going from store to store searching for that perfect piece of furniture, scout out the goods online first. Not only can you get a good feel for what's out there, but you can search and compare between retailers to find the best value.
2) Figure out what you can get for free.
Ask friends and family if they have any furniture or appliances in storage that they're not using. Always offer to pay -- even if they do want cash in exchange, odds are that it will be MUCH less than what you'd pay in the store. And you never know, they might just want to get rid of it, and then you score a free couch or toaster oven! (THINK OF ALL THE POPTARTS.)
3) Check out the goods in person.
While the Internet is amazing, whenever you can, try to inspect the item you want in person. You'll also be able to avoid crazy obnoxious shipping fees that way. If you find a better deal on a website for a new piece of furniture, try to see if a local store sells the same item, and go see it there. You may even be able to price-match it!
4) Remember warehouse stores.
Costco and Sam's club aren't just for bulk-purchasing diapers and plastic silverware. There are tons of sweet deals on good furniture at these places. If you don't have a membership, find a friend and ask them to take you. BONUS SOCIAL POINTS!
5) Avoid the impulse buy.
I'm always harping on you about this because I have fallen victim on several occasions -- still do, actually. (BAD JANELLE.) Carefully inspect the item you want to buy, especially if it's expensive. Make sure it's right for you. Case in point: don't buy a ridiculously expensive couch if you're going to be sharing a house with several hard-partying college students. Odds are it won't hold up very long.
6) Pay attention to warranties.
Fully understand the warranty before you buy it. Don't let a salesperson talk you into something unless you're confident that the warranty is solid. The last thing you need is to bring home a $1,000 HDTV, only to have it break and find out the warranty doesn't cover a cat knocking it off the TV stand.
Check out the article
for more awesome furniture-buying advice! I'll let you know how my ridiculously stressful moving process goes :)