Setting up a home on a budget

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Whether you’re moving out for the first time or moving back from a long stint overseas, setting up a home can be a costly exercise. And while you may have dreams of perfectly styled interiors, if you’re on a budget you’ll probably need to hold off on the décor until you’ve sorted out the basics.

When you’re starting completely from scratch your shopping list will be huge, covering everything from furniture and whitegoods to bin bags and dishwashing liquid. Not to mention stocking the pantry! But even though it’s a big job, getting yourself sorted doesn’t have to break the bank. If you have a budget to stick to, here are some ideas to help you save.

The essentials
Working out what you need rather than what you want will help you cut down on your initial set-up costs. The best way to do this is make a list of all the items you think you’ll need for every room in the house. For example:

Living Room:

  • Lounge
  • Coffee table
  • TV
  • Lamps

Then, once you know what you want in each room, go through the list and circle only what you’ll absolutely need on day one – things like the fridge , couch, bed , etc. These are the items you’ll want to buy first. Everything else on the list – like cushions, side tables, etc. – can be acquired slowly over time. By prioritising your essentials you’ll significantly reduce your initial set up costs, allowing you to slowly save for the rest.

Where to start?
When you’re just starting out, the first things you buy don’t have to be the best; they just need to get you through while you’re finding your feet. One way to stick to your budget is to get as much as you can second hand:

  • Friends and family: Friends and family love to help, so don’t be afraid to ask. You’d be amazed by how many couches, TVs and other items are just sitting around unused in people’s garages (that they’re probably glad to get rid of!)
  • Social media: Don’t underestimate the power of your social networks. Let people know what you need and you never know who might be looking to unload a few items
  • Gumtree: Of course, for anything you don’t find from friends and family, you’ll always be able to find great second hand deals on Gumtree

Setting up a new home can be costly but there are ways you can cut down on costs. By focusing on the essentials and getting as much as you can second hand, you can probably get sorted for less than you think. So take your time, ask around and graciously accept any items you’re offered. It may not look like the house of your dreams in the beginning, but you can always redecorate a bit further down the track.


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