As a first-time home buyer, you’re taking on a new expense that is also a major milestone and financial investment. Buying your first home involves balancing excitement with the many responsibilities that come with home ownership.
Beyond determining financing to purchase your home, you’ll also want to consider the costs that go into furnishing it. If you’re starting from scratch, you may be overwhelmed and surprised to find out what some home items actually cost.
After considering the costs to purchase your home, you might want to start replenishing your savings right away. This can be hard when you’re trying to furnish and decorate your first home on a budget. Don’t fret though, we’re going to show you some easy ways to make your space your own without blowing your budget.
Determine What You Need for Your Home
Much like packing up a home for a move, it may be the easiest to break items down room-by-room and figure out what you absolutely need. Make sure that you evaluate whether the item is a need or something you want.
Think about a bathroom, for example, you use this every day. Things like a shower curtain or towel rack are probably more important to have than a decorative rug. Other important rooms might be your kitchen and bedroom. You might need to purchase a microwave or coffee maker, but do you really need that air fryer right now?
In your bedroom, the dresser you have might be a hand-me-down but it can work until you save up enough to get something of your own style. Meanwhile, if your mattress is old and worn out, then it may be worth it to prioritize that purchase for your first home budget and invest in a better one.
5 Tips for Home Furnishing Shopping on a Budget
1. Shop Secondhand
After you have already asked around to friends and family for hand-me-downs, check out stores where you can buy donated and gently-used items. Most areas have Goodwill or Salvation Army stores that will have a decent selection of home items to fit right in your first home budget.
With a little clean-up or DIY work, you can have something that looks like new. Habitat for Humanity ReStores operate just like a Goodwill store and focus on furniture and home goods. If you still haven’t had luck, look in your local newspapers for garage and estate sale listings. Don’t be afraid to travel a little bit into wealthier neighborhoods for their garage sales and thrift stores.
2. Start Small
You don’t need to buy $100 vases or large, expensive mirrors to show your style. Head to your local farmers market or craft shows to find one-of-a-kind handmade items.
You can even sometimes find plants or succulents at your local farmers market that can create the perfect cozy vibe. Getting creative is the key to decorating on a first home budget.
3. Find It on Facebook
Not only does Facebook offer its built-in Marketplace feature, where users can list their used items for purchase on the platform, but many areas have groups specifically for buying and selling.
Search your town name and “selling” or “for sale” to see what might be available. Items for sale are likely offered at less than sticker price and if you devote some time to scrolling, you might be able to find something in perfect condition for a budget-friendly price.
4. Know How to Search Online
Be as specific as you can with what you’re looking for online. Instead of searching for desks for sale, use terms like “corner desk” or use the exact dimensions you’re looking for in the search. This will help to narrow down your options, and from there, you can sort items by price range.
Take advantage of the filters often available when searching on retail sites. Narrowing options down by color, size, and price will stop you from getting distracted by things you don’t need.
5. Schedule for Sales
You definitely don’t need to (and probably shouldn’t) buy everything that you need at once. For things that you can get by without for a little while, look up the best time to buy them.
Retailers will typically hold sales around three-day-weekend holidays throughout the year. Search for your favorite store and look up if they hold any annual sales.
Many websites have compiled lists of the major retailer’s yearly sales. Scheduling purchases for these time frames will help you save and replenish your first home budget.
What Can You Afford Sustainably?
You’ve probably worked pretty hard to get your credit in good shape to purchase your first home. You don’t want to mess all of that up by charging purchases above your means.
Budget what you can afford to spend on home goods each month and only charge what’s in your budget so that you’re not paying off a new couch for another year.
It may be tempting but It’s generally not recommended to open up credit lines at retail stores. Instead, look for something with good security and a cash back program. Major credit cards often offer anywhere from 1 to 5% back on purchases from common places like gas stations and grocery stores, or have a rotation of big box stores they’ll reward you for shopping at.
Keep the Pressure at Bay
This tip doesn’t cost you anything other than the time it takes to shift your mindset! It’s so easy to get sucked into the world of Pinterest decor ideas or Instagram pages. But the homes you see online are likely professionally staged and created with a big budget.
You’re not going to get everything perfect in your first few months, or even a year, into living in your first home. Comparing your space to others will only stress you out and suck all the fun out of decorating. Instead, find inspiration by following YouTube or TikTok channels that focus on budget decorating and DIY projects. Don’t blow your budget trying to achieve perfection.
Are You Ready for Your First Home?
Don’t just daydream about decorating your own house, start the process to make it happen. If you’re ready to start your home buying journey, contact a Homefinity loan officer today.