Tips for Buying Furniture Affordably

In the mood for some redecorating or simply replacing that rickety old coffee table? Whether it's new home furnishings, decorations, kitchenware, table linens, glassware, dishes or flatware, here are some hints on getting what you want at a price you can afford.

  • Thumb thru your local papers (including supermarket publications and posting boards) for items being sold by private parties. Summer's garage sale season may be in the future, but house and estate sales still yield wonderful bargains. You can pick up used furniture at half their original prices.
  • If you're an urban dweller, take a weekend ride out to more rural settings. Small towns often present a variety of wonderful shops, some featuring inexpensive, local crafts, others ''older stuff.'' Look for charity resale shops as well.
  • If the suburbs are as far as you choose to venture, hit the big department stores on their special discount days (most have certain percentage savings one or two days every season; call the customer service departments to find out more). Also look to see whether the larger stores have a ''discount floor'' (often the lower level) or an ''as is'' section (for items with small imperfections).
  • College folks, members of community centers or those frequenting homey coffeehouses can check out ''for sale'' posting areas.

Last, check out iVillage's Home & Garden channel for more good ideas. Happy trails! Until next time, I remain ... Sue, your ''thrifty shopper.''

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