Tips For Furnishing an Apartment Cheaply

Tips For Furnishing an Apartment Cheaply


Sonny-boy graduated from college this past May. While he is going to grad school, he also is working and 24 years old. That means he needs to spread his wings and rent an apartment of his own instead of living at home (while he lived off campus in college, he did return home for vacations). Or, since he is still basically a poor college student, an apartment with several other roommates.

By mutual agreement, we decided Sonny-boy would not take his bedroom set from home, or the other case goods he has here that my grandfather gave him, until he has a more permanent residence. That will save these furnishing from the dings and dents of moving.

Sonny-boy has experienced the durability of IKEA furniture first hand, and wanted nothing to do with any of the cheap particle-board furniture now being sold at so many furniture stores. Since he can’t afford well made higher-end constructed furniture, I suggested he look to consignment stores and the like for older, better made furnishings. They didn’t have to be lifetime purchases, but sturdy enough to withstand the flopping of 20-something young men.

With all of his purchases to date, he spent just slightly over $400 to furnish his bedroom, living room and dining room. He still needs nightstands, but is confident that he can get them for less than $75 which would put his grand total to furnish his apartment at under $500. Note: they actually cost $200 which brought his grand total to $600.

Here are some of the things he did to furnish is apartment so inexpensively:

Contacted friends and family members for cast-offs. He was offered a sofa from my grandfather, a kitchen table from my mother, but ultimately his big score was the two-year-old sofa and loveseat my brother decided he didn’t care for! Hubby gave Sonny-boy his old bed frame from his bachelor days, and we told him to take his mattress and box springs. Asking for cast-offs is the cheapest way to furnish your apartment.

Consignment stores. Sonny-boy had a lot of luck locating heavy, decently constructed pieces at local consignment stores. He was resigned to having to refinish or paint if necessary, but most of what he ended up purchasing needed little touch-up.

These two dressers were $125 total. They are real wood, have dovetailing at the joints, and were a true bargain with only a minor problem at the bottom of one.

Tips For Furnishing an Apartment Cheaply


Many consignment stores have tags that lower the prices on day X, again on day Y and a final price on day Z. Depending on the store, this can result in significant savings.

Sonny-boy picked up this coffee table – no chips or dents, for $64 on the very day it was slashed by 50%.

Tips For Furnishing an Apartment Cheaply


This was arguably his most expensive purchase, and it does have a few bangs and nicks. He paid $40 for this end table. It is so well constructed, they could probably dance on it and it would hold their weight.

Tips For Furnishing an Apartment Cheaply


Habitat For Humanity Restore. Habitat For Humanity takes furniture, old doors, windows, toilets, sinks, etc donations. Sometimes you can really “find” some great stuff! Hubby and I found our (new in box) outdoor lights at Habitat For Humanity years ago, and then saw the exact same lighting at the Great Indoors later that same year for over three times the price we paid at Restore! Some of the donations are remainders from big-box and hardware stores, as well as from housing reconstruction and general donations from everyday people.

Hubby and I happened to go to Habitat For Humanity earlier in the week, and I saw this hutch, dining room table and four chairs for $125. While they didn’t really need-need the hutch, they will use it for storage. The table and chairs are very well made though, and should withstand many a flop-sit.

Tips For Furnishing an Apartment Cheaply


Goodwill, Salvation Army, Amvets. We didn’t have much luck at any of these places in our area. There was little furniture, and what was available was more expensive than the consignment stores and of lesser quality. YMMV of course!

Yard Sales. We did not go this route, but it can be a great source of used furniture.

Estate Sales. Depending on the family and who is running the sale, these can either be a terrific sources of bargains, or too expensive to consider.

While Sonny-boy’s purchases were all case goods, there are soft goods like chairs and sofas available at various sale outlets. Be careful about critters. A place like Cort Furniture Clearance does have a disinfection and bug-bomb procedure not necessarily found in other sale outlets. It can be a concern.

Note: This post originally appeared on my old blog, Coupons, Deals in More. In the 11 months since this was posted, Sonny-boy has lived with his new furnishing, and they have held up very well indeed. I would definitely urge anyone looking to set-up a new household to at least consider this route… it really was a great way to save money and get quality goods.

Have you any other tips and ideas for furnishing an apartment cheaply?


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Ask Hubby!

Ask Hubby


Candie’s Ask Hubby Question:

Hi Hubby,

I have a question about finances and IRAs. I recently retired from city government and I am now making more retired than I was working. But I couldn’t sit at home and my CPA told me that he would figure out how much more taxes I had to have taken out of my checks, which I did. When he figured this out, he said I fell into a new tax bracket and if I wanted to work a part time job, up to 20 hours a week that would be fine, as long as I put the money into an IRA.
[1] I want to know which IRAs are best.
[2] I want one that I can take the money out of and not pay a penalty, if there is such a thing and one that you can put a certain amount in, such as my part time pay check which is not a lot.
[3] Is there a minimum and maximum amount that a person over 50 can put in to an IRA?
[4] Can you have multiple IRAs?
[5] I am going to start traveling again and I would use that money for the payment of the trips I want to take.
[6] My new part time job does have a 401k plan but it is my understanding that you can not take the money out of it until you retire.
[7] Would it still be wise to put some money into the 401k, because they match a certain amount but I am not sure how much yet. Can you please advise me on what would be the best way for me to go. Understand that I am investment stupid so you will have to talk down to my level when explaining. I don’t understand the difference between a bond and a stock, so that should tell you something.
Thanks, Ann’s Hubby

Hubby’s response:

(Editorial note: Bracketed numbers (e.g. [1]) were added to the original question to make my response easier to follow.)

[1] That is a very broad question, and is a function of your investment goals, risk tolerance, need for liquidity, years to retirement, etc. It seems to me that you should consider a fund that has a targeted retirement date like Fidelity Freedom 2030 Fund (fundresearch.fidelity.com)

[2] Except for a first home purchase and certain college expenses, withdrawals taken prior to age 59 ½ will incur a 10% penalty plus regular state and federal income taxes for a Traditional IRA (A Roth IRA would not help you avoid getting pushed into the next tax bracket]. Sorry. You do have flexibility in how and when you make your contributions. You can wait until April 15 of the following year, if you wanted to for some reason.

[3] No minimum IRA contribution. Maximum IRA contribution is $6,500 for 2013.

[4] Yes, you may have multiple IRA accounts if you want (and/or multiple investments within the same IRA account, if that is what you meant).

[5] If you don’t leave the money in the account, it kind of defeats the purpose of saving for retirement. At the very least, don’t start taking money out of your IRA until you reach 59 ½ years of age.

[6] I urge you to consider the 401(k) instead of an IRA. You can contribute up to $22,500 (depending on the terms of your employer’s plan and how much you earn in a year). Plus, you can usually borrow money against the value of your 401(k) prior to 59 ½ years of age at a reasonable interest rate. If you really think you will want to withdraw money before retirement, this is a penalty-free way to do so.

[7] An employer match is FREE money. Free money is good. You should at least contribute the minimum amount needed to get 100% of the employer match.

Candie, your questions are very common. Your HR department and/or the firm managing the 401(k) plan should be able to help guide you through. Happy travels.

Disclaimer: This information is not to be considered legal or financial advice. It is for discussion purposes only.

And there you have it folks, this week’s installment of Ask Hubby.

A few things:

1) The disclaimer. Gotta have it because he isn’t an attorney or your financial adviser and he isn’t dispensing legal or financial advice, just giving his opinion.
2) Hubby is willing to give his opinions and answers on a wide variety of subjects listed here. That post also explains his background.
3) If you would like to submit a question to Ask Hubby you can email here and make the subject title “Ask Hubby”, or use the contact page, same subject line.
4) You can use your name or be anonymous. Either works.


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How To Freeze Rhubarb

How To Freeze Rhubarb. Easy step by step directions on how to freeze rhubarb. A great way to enjoy the sweet tart taste of rhubarb in recipes year round.




How To Freeze Rhubarb. Easy step by step directions on how to freeze rhubarb. A great way to enjoy the sweet tart taste of rhubarb in recipes year-round.

Hubby and I went out for a ride a few weeks ago, and he bought some rhubarb. While we made a fabulous dessert with a portion of the rhubarb, we had quite a bit leftover which we decided to freeze.

How To Freeze Rhubarb. Easy step by step directions on how to freeze rhubarb. A great way to enjoy the sweet tart taste of rhubarb in recipes year round.


• Wash the rhubarb and remove the leaves.

How To Freeze Rhubarb. Easy step by step directions on how to freeze rhubarb. A great way to enjoy the sweet tart taste of rhubarb in recipes year round.


• Dicing is the best choice – slit the rhubarb in half lengthwise, then slit each of the halves in half again. You are quartering, lengthwise.

How To Freeze Rhubarb. Easy step by step directions on how to freeze rhubarb. A great way to enjoy the sweet tart taste of rhubarb in recipes year round.


• Dice the rhubarb.

How To Freeze Rhubarb. Easy step by step directions on how to freeze rhubarb. A great way to enjoy the sweet tart taste of rhubarb in recipes year round.


• Bring several quarts of water to a rolling boil on the stove. I use a colander insert pot for ease of blanching, and draining.

• Bring water to a boil.
• Immerse a colander of rhubarb for 90 seconds to blanch.
• Remove blanched rhubarb, and allow to drain for at least 30 minutes before attempting to freeze. You want to be certain it isn’t very wet.

How To Freeze Rhubarb. Easy step by step directions on how to freeze rhubarb. A great way to enjoy the sweet tart taste of rhubarb in recipes year round.


• Hubby evenly divided the leftover rhubarb and bagged it.

How To Freeze Rhubarb. Easy step by step directions on how to freeze rhubarb. A great way to enjoy the sweet tart taste of rhubarb in recipes year round.


• Yes, he is serious about evenly dividing.
• We had approximately six cups leftover which is perfect for two recipes be it a pie or crisp.

How To Freeze Rhubarb. Easy step by step directions on how to freeze rhubarb. A great way to enjoy the sweet tart taste of rhubarb in recipes year round.


• Hubby put the rhubarb in a ziploc bag, the unzipped ziploc into a foodsaver bag. He then used his foodsaver on canister mode. At this point he sucked all the air out of the foodsaver bag which also squished all the air out of the ziploc bag. He quickly zipped closed the ziploc bag, and removed it from the foodsaver bag.

• The foodsaver bag never sealed because he never used the heating element, and he was able to suck all the air out of the ziploc bag!

• The bags are now labeled and ready for freezing. These will easily keep for 4-6 months

Need rhubarb recipes? Try one of these fabulous rhubarb desserts:

Strawberry Rhubarb Galette Recipe – Using fresh (or frozen) fruit, this pretty galette dessert is easy to make, but impressive to serve – not to mention super tasty! Make it for a treat tonight!

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Recipe – This updated, old time strawberry rhubarb crisp is simply delicious. The great sweet-tart taste of strawberries and rhubarb combined with a buttery good granola crumble topping makes for a dessert your entire family will enjoy!

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Recipe – (different crisp recipe – strawberry rhubarb is Hubby’s favorite so I make it a lot.) A sweet-tart Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Recipe that is not only fast and easy to make, but delicious as well.

Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies Recipe – Homemade pie, but no utensils required to eat. These delicious, sweet and tart, easy to make Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies are great for dessert, lunch boxes, snacks and portion control.


Disclosure the links in this post may be affiliate links.

• For more Recipes on Ann’s Entitled Life, click here.

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