Almost Forgot A Mattress: My Crazy Week Of Last-Minute Apartment Shopping

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Gumby, Pokey, and the Blockheads

Only a “blockhead” would think oven mitts are more important than Gumby figures …

I would love to tell you that since I’ve been home, I’ve been doing very well with my finances. In fact, I’d probably be lying through my teeth about it if it weren’t for the fact that the editor of this blog caught me splurging on a seafood platter last Monday night.

But after a long few weeks of trying to remember everything I need to get before moving into my new apartment (oven mitts were largely overlooked), I think I deserved it. Here’s what I’ve learned about saving money while apartment shopping.


Don’t Always DIY

I am the queen of DIY. From painting furniture to making my own lights, I love arts and crafts. I’ve made my own doily lights and reupholstered a couch for this apartment. More than anything, I’ve learned that DIY and cheap aren’t always the same thing. Consider the price of the supplies before you jump in.

I came very close to buying doilies for my DIY light fixture. They cost $8 each at the craft store. Even if I just used $5 per light, that’s a $40 light fixture. I would have been better off buying something nice from somewhere else.  Luckily, I found a whole box of doilies at a yard sale.


I got a TV table, an antique desk, copper pots and pans, two mirrors, about 30 doilies, and some Gumby figurines (don’t judge) for $40 at a yard sale. Considering how much all of these things cost separately, even at an antique or second time around store, it was a huge steal.

The good thing about shopping at yard sales is you have the opportunity to barter. and Craigslist are both great sites to find yard sales in your area that are selling things you actually need—and maybe some nostalgic items.

Department Stores Are A Doozy

I always assumed that Target and Walmart were the cheapest options. It turns out that that’s not necessarily the case.

I realized while shopping at Ikea that some items are extremely cheap while others are outrageously expensive. I bought several 99-cent curtain rods … and a $30 wicker trash basket because I loved it.

I was also lucky enough to go with somebody who could tell me if I was sacrificing quality for the price—unfortunately that person (who happens to be my boyfriend) also gave me a little more opinion on the aesthetic of the furniture than I would have liked.


What’s next? I need to figure out how to move from Kingston to Hyde Park on the cheap.

Have tips for Sasha? Share them in the comments!

(Photo: Alec Couros)

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  1. Ryan Lane August 21, 2013 / 10:52 am

    To be fair, you avoided the more expensive lobster plate (though it was a steal at only $15!).

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