Whether we’re taking on a new place or it’s just time for a refresh, new kit around the place be can be a real treat.
A new sofa can give us a real lift… and not just because the springs still go boing. And sometimes it’s all the sweeter for not breaking the bank along the way.
We all know that feeling. We’ve just passed the shop and there in the sale is the prize purchase we shelled out for last week. If only we’d waited.
Bad luck (or bad timing) is annoying but we can’t always know when prices are about to be slashed. The sad truth, though, is that thousands of us miss out every week and when it comes to giving our homes a lift. Cheap and even free stuff is passed on all the time, including sofas, TVs and even carpets.
The worse news is that many of us still pay through the nose when we think we’re
bagging a bargain. Take the ‘Bargain of the Week’. That’s just one example of how weekly payment stores (like Brighthouse) lure us in. Looks great, right? But wait a second. They say the sofa only costs £805 and those payments last 156 weeks. That’s £1,716.
The add-ons and cost of paying over three years more than doubles the price. It’s totally legal but it feels like a scam. The goods are often way cheaper elsewhere. And they even come with finance on hugely better terms.
Housing association or council tenants might find their landlords have schemes in place to help. Start with their website or by talking to a housing officer to see what support they offer. Some work in partnership with suppliers.
They ensure tenants have access to great deals and decent terms on any finance required to purchase goods. They also offer fair delivery costs, the right insurance advice and lower interest on loans.
- Want or need?
There is nothing wrong with anyone wanting to feather the nest a bit, no matter how tight the budget. It doesn’t need to cost the earth but be clear what’s a need and what’s a want. If it’s a true need, like a working fridge or cooker, a cost may be unavoidable. Don’t only compare prices, think about the cost of credit if you’re going to need to borrow or pay it off in instalments.
- Ask around
Tell everyone you see and everyone on Facebook what you’re looking for. You never know who’s upgrading their own place. Something pre-loved could be just the ticket, freeing up cash for something else
- Grant Permission?
People on benefits or low incomes may qualify for a grant. Turn2us.org.uk have a grants checker but it’s also worth speaking to a welfare officer for those of us who rent from
a housing association or council. The help on offer varies. It even depends if we’re in England, Scotland or Wales. Sometimes interest free advances or loans are available to claimants
- Re-use Recycled
With climate change hitting the headlines, how much we waste is in the spotlight. Local furniture recycling firms do a great job keeping furniture out of landfill. They take in unwanted goods, do them up and offer them cheap to people on a tight budget. Contact The Reuse Network to find a store near you at reuse-network.org.uk or call 0800 085 8339
- Free Yourself
Freecycle, and its rival Freegle, host online groups of local people offering up furniture and all other sorts of stuff for free. They want to save their neighbours money and save the planet at the same time. Quids in! did a quick local search for sofas like the one sold by Brighthouse and found no less than twelve on offer. For free. One was worth £2,500 when new and just needs a wash and some TLC. Go to freecycle.org or ilovefreegle.org
- If Only New Will Do
Always shop around, which is easiest to do online, taking the legwork out of the legwork! If only new will do, try not-for-profits like fairforyou.co.uk or smarterbuys.org.uk, which is backed by some landlords. They offer weekly payment options but the goods are cheaper and the cost of credit can be lower than on the high street.
- Insure to be Sure
Some sellers push customers into taking insurance just for the one product. This is usually unnecessary if home contents insurance is in place. Sometimes it’s just as cheap (if not cheaper) to cover our whole home. Some landlords have a deal in place that tenants can take advantage of, so it’s worth speaking to them or checking their website first.