I know that buying a new home can take pretty much all the money you have, leaving little left to decorate it the way you’d like.  So the big secret is to substitute some imagination and creativity for $$$$.  Here are 10 tips that can help you furnish and style it and stay within your budget:

1.  SCRATCH & DENT – Some furniture/appliance stores have big discounts on items that have a couple dings or scratches, and the damage may be hardly noticeable.  So ASK what they have and don’t be surprised if you can save a bundle. 

2.  LIQUIDATION SALES – If a store is going out of business you can get significant discounts on the furniture or appliances.  Or they might just be liquidating a certain brand or model and they only have one or two left and want to move them.  This can mean BIG savings for you.

3.  TIMING IS EVERYTHING – Furniture stores typically get new inventory around Memorial Day and Veterans Day, so watch for the best sales then.  Right before Christmas and the 4th of July are two other good times to save.

4.  DISCOUNT STORES – Try Big Lots or even K-Mart or Wal-Mart for inexpensive furniture.  Sure, maybe the quality isn’t the best, but with care, it can get you through until you can afford better stuff.

5.  ONLINE – Check out Overstock.com and online membership sites – these sites can have a wealth of inventory and you can find some wonderful deals.  Be sure and see if you can find an online coupon for the site you are visiting to help you get an even better deal.

6.  RESALE/CONSIGNMENT – It seems like there are some great consignment or resale stores all over the place now, and you can find some nice, gently used and unique items there.  Sometimes you can hardly even tell something has been used, but the price will be way less than you would pay at a retail store.  Be sure and go back regularly to check it out since inventory can change daily.

7.  CRAIGSLIST – This is a mecca for those on a budget and you can get some amazing deals from people who just want it GONE and they have priced it accordingly.  Be sure and check the “free” section too – you never know what you might find there.  But be quick about it, and check back several times a day - you can even get apps for your phone that will notify you when an item comes up for sale so you can beat your competition.

8.  YARD AND ESTATE SALES – These can be great places to find inexpensive furniture and other décor items.  Be sure and get there early – the best items sell FAST!

9.  GOING, GOING, GONE!  Do you have a weekly auction in your area?  Or an auctioneer who does estate or liquidation auctions?  These can be great places to get things for your home.  But be sure to carefully look over any item you are considering bidding on to make sure there is no damage that reduces the value.  And have a maximum amount you are willing to bid on an item firmly in mind so you don’t get caught up in the excitement and pay more than you plan to.

10.  THRIFT STORES – With their ever-changing wealth of inventory, thrift stores can be a super-cheap source of great décor or furniture items.  Ask someone who works there when they put out new items so you can get first pick of the new stuff.  But, again, be sure to carefully “vet” whatever you are thinking of buying – quality can vary widely.

11.  RE-PURPOSE IT!  Use your creativity to repaint or remodel something that you already have and are tired of, or items you find at yard sales or thrift stores.  You can spend pennies to re-purpose something and turn it into an item that looks like a million bucks!  For some great ideas, join me on Pinterest and see some fun and creative things you can do in YOUR home. 

What good ideas do you have for creating a nice home on a budget?  I’d love to hear them!