Moving in together for the first time is a thrilling experience, but it can be an expensive one, especially if neither of you has lived independently before. If you’re on a tight budget, how can you assemble all the things you need without putting your finances under strain? Is it possible to kit out your home cheaply and still make it look good? The answer is yes – but only if you think before you act. These tips will help you set out a plan.
Get your priorities in order
There are some things it makes sense to spend money on and others which you might not need at all early on, even if you think of them as part of the normal fabric of a house. Generally speaking, the expensive areas are the kitchen and bathroom. Good quality white goods will save you money on fuel and won’t need to be replaced for a long time. A good shower is also a long term investment. You might dream of getting a big TV for the living room, but in the meantime, you can watch movies together on your laptop. Though you might like the idea of a fancy bed, a good quality mattress will do much more for the quality of your sleep.
See what you can get for free
For most people, moving to a new house means having to get rid of a few things, and pieces of furniture gradually get replaced by better quality items over the years. That means if you ask around, you will almost always be able to find useful items that people are happy to give you for nothing – everything from sofas to kitchenware to carpets. If your family and friends can’t help, try Freecycle. Many charity shops also deal in low-cost furniture and homewares, even if they don’t have them on display. Remember that as long as what you get is still in sturdy condition, you can usually cover up superficial damage at a trivial cost.
Search the sales
Buying new doesn’t have to mean buying at full price. The internet makes it easy to keep track of where there are sales and to get good deals on delivery. If you see an item you like online, search on it to see if it’s cheaper somewhere else. If you find a company selling lots of things you like, browse its social media channels and sign up for its mailing list – you may well be able to get hold of discount vouchers. If you don’t need something immediately, take your time and shop around until you find a really good deal.
Think outside the box
Often you can get wonderful things for your home by using a bit of imagination. Nice curtains can be expensive but cheap plantation shutters will always look stylish and provide great insulation into the bargain. If you can’t afford a three piece suite, giant beanbags are wonderful for lounging around on and help to create a sense of fun. If fitted carpets are too expensive, rugs can be found at low prices and layered to create a striking look that also keeps rooms nice and warm.
Exercise your creativity
When you have less choice about what you buy, it’s harder to make a place feel like it’s really yours. This is where getting creative can make all the difference. Consider repainting pieces of furniture or using varnish or woodstain to give them a consistent look. Use fabric remnants as throws, runners or bedcovers. Buy old paintings from charity shops and use the frames for your own art or for images you’ve found online and printed out. It’s the little touches that enable you to stamp your personality on a place.
Be smart about your skills
Can you sew, paint, do a bit of carpentry or fit tiles on a wall? Skills like those can save you a lot of money but be careful not to over-reach yourself. Ask around to see if friends have useful skills and are willing to help or at least to get you started. Look online for useful tutorials and watch them all the way through before you take on tasks you haven’t tried before. If you’re patient and make an effort to learn, you might be surprised by how much you can achieve – and by how much that reduces your costs as you set up home.
Your first home may take some time to live up to your dreams, but you can have a lot of fun kitting it out together. If you’re willing to put in some work, then you won’t need to spend a fortune to have a place you feel really proud of.