10 Things You Don't Want to Get Caught Doing in Your Living Room
by Shari Smith
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Get the Pottery Barn Look for Less
My Story: Why I Buy Estate Sale Furniture
Whoa! I'm not talking about Jell-O-wrestling in a plastic pool, unless you are into that. I'm talking about the budget bursting mistakes that people make in their living rooms. Whatever you do, don't get caught doing these things in your living room.
- Pay full price for furniture. Why don't you just make a bonfire of all your money in the backyard? Never ever pay full price; wait for a sale or at least negotiate with the salesperson. With markups as high as 600%, they definitely have some wiggle room.
- Do you just have to have a brand new set of furniture right now? Check out the rent-to-own stores. Actually, you will pay hundreds more if you go this route. Do the math. A typical room group costs more than $5,000 when all the payments are made. By then, the furniture will be worn out.
- Pay $30 or more for designer pillows. Sew your own using less than $5 in material, or go to a bed and bath store and pick up slipcovers for around $10 for two pillows for an instant makeover!
- Go for the easy pay plan for your brand new furniture. Proceed with extreme caution! Read the fine print. If you miss one payment by even a day, huge interest costs get slapped on, beginning the day of the purchase. The other thing to be wary of is the payment cycles are shorter than a month, sometimes only 22 days!
- Don't worry about leaving the lights and fan on when you leave the room. Although it may seem insignificant, the cost of unnecessary electricity can really add up. Leaving the TV on for "company" for your pets is an even bigger drain.
- Shop only at the best stores; quality furniture lasts much longer. This is the biggest line there is in the furniture selling business. You can find amazing buys at thrift stores, consignment stores, and garage sales. Plus you can score the one-of-a-kind pieces that really make the room unique, often for mere pennies on the dollar.
- Plug your television and other devices right into the wall. You have a lot of money invested in your electronics. Protect them from dangerous power surges with a $5 surge protector. This also makes it easy to fully turn everything off with just one button, eliminating the "silent drain" when TVs are off but in standby mode.
- Plaster your walls with expensive art. Your friends will think you have great taste. Instead of taking out a second mortgage to fund your art collection, create beautiful and meaningful art from your own favorite photos. Get them printed at Office Max. Sizes up to 16" x 20" are only $1 apiece. Find inexpensive frames at thrift stores, dollar stores, or discount stores. You can paint them all one color for unity or make a colorful collage of many different styles.
- Pay big money for custom drapery rods or those expensive curtain rods at the fancy department stores. I'll confess that I did this when we moved to our new home, thinking that I would get quality, sturdy rods that would last forever. Wrong! The rods are plastic, painted to look like metal. Two have already fallen apart. Instead, go to your local hardware store like Lowes and buy 1" to 2" metal plumbing pipe. It comes in copper or aluminum and they will even cut it for you for free! It costs just a few cents per foot. You can dress it up with finials on the ends, about $5 per set at bed and bath stores.
- Buy the most expensive vacuum you can find. It will clean your floors like magic! Actually, I spoke with a salesperson at a vacuum repair shop and he said that the expensive vacuums break down just as much as the more reasonably priced ones, and the replacement parts are triple the cost. Look for a vacuum that has a washable filter, so you are not stuck buying expensive replacement filters every few months.
Living rooms are for living, but you shouldn't have to spend a fortune to make them comfortable. Before your next big purchase, go over these tips and don't get caught doing them in your living room!
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