New furnishings! To some, this is a thrill, but for many, the thought makes their teeth shudder. The costs of equipping a home can be astronomical. However, if you're a savvy spender, you can stretch your dollar and reduce household expenses. Here are some helpful ways:
* Buy good sheet sets on sale to use for tablecloths, chair covers, pillowslips, or curtains.
* Decorate your home with versatile pieces that can be used in different rooms. Bring the outdoors in; cut ferns, wildflowers, and small tree branches make for interesting (and free) arrangements.
* Frame greeting cards, pictures from old calendars, or your favorite church bulletin as unique and clever art for your walls.
* Invest in furniture that is versatile, such as a sofa bed, day bed, or stool that doubles as a storage unit.
* Construct your own furniture. For example, wooden crates can be stacked to hold your home entertainment units. Lay an old door across two opposite bricks or sawhorses to serve as a table.
* Get appliances and furniture bargains at auctions, garage sales, thrift stores, and warehouses.
* Discover usable furniture or home decor at the curb on garbage collection day. Remember, one man's trash is another's treasure.
* Haul it home yourself. When you purchase new appliances and furniture, the cost of "free delivery" is often built into the price. Negotiate down the price by offering to take it home rather than schedule a delivery date.
When you get your treasures home and the house is decorated, protect your investments. Here's how:
* Cover wood tabletops with clear glass, plastic, or a vinyl tablecloth to protect them from liquid spots, scratches and dents.
* Clean and polish wood furniture with olive oil.
* Remove shoes before walking on any flooring.
* Vacuum daily. The quickest way to wear out carpet is to allow dirt and grit to get imbedded in the nap.
With a little ingenuity, you can get more for your home furnishing dollar and have a home that is uniquely you.
Copyright 1996 - 2004 "The Dollar Stretcher, Inc." Used by permission. All rights reserved.