Frugal Living: Save on Home Decor {Part 4}

Part One: Create a Home Inspiration Board (or Book)
Part Two: Trash to Treasure
Part Three: Make it Yourself

Part 4: Know When (& Where) To Shop
When you’ve exhausted all DIY options, it’s time to turn to the retail world. With a little planning you can pull out the best deals of the year and save at least half of what you would normally pay.

When To Shop for Furniture
The months of February and August are when furniture stores receive new styles, so the bargains abound in January and July. Don’t be afraid to negotiate and get a lower price. Most stores are willing to come down 10-15%, especially if you are buying several items. You can also find some super-low prices during long weekends like Memorial Day and Labor Day.

If you want to start by looking at the used stuff, May is the best month for garage sales and thrift store finds, as warm weather hits and folks embark on spring cleaning. If you only go to tag sales once a year, I recommend Memorial Day weekend for the best furniture finds.

Where to Shop for Furniture
If you’re shopping the tag sales and thrift stores, most folks recommend hitting the affluent neighborhoods first. I beg to differ. In my experience, these sales tend to have hefty price tags and less selection. Let’s face it. These folks didn’t get rich by giving stuff away. In the past, I have had much better luck with a neighborhood-wide sale in nice middle class subdivisions. Arrive early for best selection.

If you’re going the retail route, be aware that some stores are willing to match prices on identical items, even if you find them online. If they won’t price-match, they will likely be more willing to come down on prices when they know they are dealing with a serious and informed customer. So start by scoping out the store and writing down brand names, model numbers and prices of items you are interested in. Then return armed with a little online research before making an offer.

In my experience, locally owned stores have been more willing to negotiate on price than the national chains. But it’s a good idea to visit several retailers and speak with a salesman at each one so you know for sure if this is true in your area.

Online Shopping for Furniture
Yes, you can get good deals – even great deals – by shopping online. To find the biggest savings, you’ll need to be a little flexible.

For example, if you are loving the Pottery Barn Landon Armchair (left) but could settle for the Tiburon Armchair from Overstock (right), you’d save over $800. The trick is to use your Home Inspiration Book to put together the perfect look for your room, then shop the discount stores to achieve it for less.

My favorite online furniture sites:

Overstock.com
Amazon.com
Home Depot
Ebay.com

Accessories & Wall Art
Accessories are the frosting of the room. They help define your style and bring your home together. So choose them carefully and always be on the lookout for the perfect items.  This is another example of how an Inspiration Book will help you narrow your focus.

Hobby Lobby and TJ Maxx are my favorite places to shop for home accessories.  They have great prices and a wide, ever-changing variety.  Home furnishing stores can have some nice deals too if you’re willing to wait for the big sales.