My Story: The $150 Living Room

by Tamela G.

We just bought our house a year ago (wartime house with original hardwood floors) and I wanted to decorate it keeping with the theme of the era. The war era was all about rationing and making do.

I despaired of ever finding living room furniture and a nice area rug to complement the wood floors. Looking in the catalogues and stores was depressing. A living room set for $1,000? A rug for $300 to $400? You've got to be kidding!

Then one day we looked in the local classified ads. Someone was selling their furniture (sofa and love seat) for $135 (Canadian). I was doubtful, but decided to go and have a look. I was amazed. It was a nice area of town and the people were about to have a house full of wedding guests--no room for this extra set that had been used by their kids in college.

It was a nice subtle blue floral, in great condition except that she had had to patch some of the cushions. I promptly flipped them over so the patches couldn't be seen. The lady said, 'Why hadn't I thought of that?'. Just then her husband came home--in a half-ton truck. Putting on my best smile, I asked if he wouldn't mind delivering the set. He did, with no extra charge, and even helped us carry them into the living room.

Then the rug. We were looking in a large department store and saw some we liked. The sales person said, you can't buy that, it's discontinued. What we were looking at were demonstrator models--rugs cut in half just to show you what the full-size ones were like. I asked her if I could buy one of the demonstrators. She said no. Then I reasoned with her. If the rugs are discontinued, then you won't be needing these to sell them, will you?

She went to check with her supervisor. He let us buy 4 of the demonstrators at $15 each! You wouldn't believe the feeling of wheeling out those rugs in carts, having people look at you thinking, they must be rich. And anyone could have done the same thing.

Now our only problem is, which one to use in the living room, and the bedrooms, etc.? I'm really sold on the idea of not paying full price for anything.

My Story is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story to share please send it to with "My Story" as the subject. You don't need to be a writer. Just someone who's learned about saving money and is willing to share the information with others.

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