While many people are cutting back their living expenses at the moment, bargain-hunting has become an applied skill and the good news is, businesses are responding. If your new home or rented apartment has set you back more than you thought, there are now more ways to save on furniture than ever: online freebies, second-hand stores and clearances sales are just a few you could try.
Many people head straight for the internet for all their shopping needs and with good reason. The ad pages of your local newspaper used to be the one-stop shop for cheap goods but new listings appear every minute on online ad sites and with web communities like Freecycle, you can kit out your pad for nothing and help save the environment in one go. Even items that seem a bit scruffy can be easily upcycled with a throw or a coat of paint.
Auction sites are another good bet for all pieces of furniture, from sofa beds to vintage carriage clocks but don't rule out the traditional auction house either. The good thing about this option is that no prices are fixed. Similarly, second-hand shops allow leeway for a little bartering, especially if you approach the assistant with a smile.
Specialist charity furniture shops are popping up everywhere now and as your good deed for the day, you can come away with some quality used items for very little cash. If you do fancy something new, look out for discount outlets and clearance stores which are replacing other high street retailers. By offering factory prices, such companies are doing a roaring trade in these recession-struck times.
Bargain-hunting, as with any purchase, is all about shopping around and leaving no avenue unexplored. Not all sales represent a good bargain, so compare prices and see what you can find by way of used furniture if the cheap stuff seems unlikely to last. Popping along to the local auction or car boot sale at the weekend can be fun in itself and you never know what treasures you might find.