Sunday, May 15, 2011

Furnishing a home for less than $600

Three years ago, we moved from Boston to Tacoma to house-sit for military relatives who were being sent overseas. We sold or gave away everything we owned and moved west with only some clothes and personal possessions.

Since we always knew that one day our relatives would return and we'd need to move out, I have spent the last three years collecting items to furnish a household. And since we didn't have much money, I obtained virtually everything second-hand, from thrift stores, yard sales, Freecycle and gifts from friends.

We moved this weekend, and I want to share the costs to furnish our new household room by room.

Living room: sofa, easy chair, two bookcases, a TV stand, a TV, DVD player, two end tables, two lamps: $103.

Dining room: table and chairs, computer desk, computer: $133 (computer was $90)

Master bedroom: queen-sized bed (passed on from a friend), dresser, two nightstands, two lamps, exercise bike, file cabinet: $25

Child's bedroom: twin bed (passed on from a friend), dresser, nightstand, lamp, toy box, bookshelf, TV stand, TV/VCR (since kids' videos are much easier to obtain second-hand than kids' DVD's): $30

Kitchen: Too many items to count. We have a fully-furnished kitchen, including small appliances, dishes, flatware, cookware and bakeware. The only items purchased new were a large Teflon skillet my husband bought (because the stainless steel ones I bought used aren't big enough for some of the stuff he cooks); the Magic Bullet I got at a steal during an after Christmas sale at Costco; a cast-iron waffle iron (which still sticks, even though I've seasoned it four times); and a Kitchen Aid mixer, the only kitchen item I brought with us from Boston. My husband bought it for me during our first year of marriage in 2001, and since my mother has had the same Kitchen Aid mixer for 40+ years, I know they're quality-- so I wasn't about to give mine up!

All other kitchen items were purchased second-hand. Other than the microwave, which costs $20, everything was $10 or less, with most items costing less than $5. Estimated total spent on used items: $120. (New items were $40 + $40 + $20 + $60 = $160).

Household cost
Living room: $103
Dining room: $133
Master bedroom: $25
Child's room: $30
Kitchen: $120 (estimate)

Total: $411

Counting in the new items adds $140 to the total, including $100 spent in the kitchen (I'm not including the 10-year-old mixer, but only what we've purchased since coming to Tacoma), and $40 spent to purchase bathroom rugs and a shower curtain.

Grant total: $551

The best part is, everything works together. I really searched for quality items that were well-maintained rather than worrying about appearance, but everything looks good, too. I purchased a lot of dark wood items, and it happens to match the cabinetry in the apartment. It won't win any awards, but I think we have an attractive, cozy-looking home!

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