9/6/15

SAVING MONEY: Know Your Budget

Last week I kicked off my 5-week SAVING MONEY blog series discussing the importance of having a plan before you start shopping. Naturally, the next step in the process is shopping! Shopping can be fun and other times it can be frustrating. The first and most important step in shopping is to determine your budget. Creating a budget will save you money in the end.



Find Stores Within Your Budget

I have my favorite home decor stores. I love them because the furniture in those store are my style. The downside to my favorite stores is that the prices aren't in my budget. Is it realistic for me to shop there? Of course not (unless they are having a major clearance sale). So I need to stick within my budget and shop at stores that I can afford. I broke down 32 stores to find the average prices of 3 common home items: sofas, floor lamps, and throw pillows. Knowing the stores that have items in your price range will making shopping easier on a budget. Here are just a few stores that represent the average costs of items:


BUDGET #1


Sofas $249-1,000 [Average $625]
Floor lamps $8-120 [Average $64]
Throw pillows $4-20 [Average $12]

Sofas $600-1,000 [Average $800]
Floor lamps $40-200 [Average $120]
Throw pillows $15-25 [Average $20]

Sofas $700-900 [Average $800]
Floor lamps $100-200 [Average $150]
Throw pillows $10-30 [Average $20]

URBAN OUTFITTERS
Sofas $400-1,450 [Average $925]
Floor lamps $90-169 [Average $130]
Throw pillows $15-100 [Average $58]

PIER ONE
Sofas $700-1,200 [Average $950]
Floor lamps $70-300 [Average $185]
Throw pillows $10-50 [Average $30]


BUDGET #2


Sofas $600-1,400 [Average $1,000]
Floor lamps $75-800 [Average $435]
Throw pillows $14-80 [Average $47]

Sofas $360-2,000 [Average $1,180]
Floor lamps $9-760 [Average $384]
Throw pillows $10-100 [Average $55]

Sofas $700-2,000 [Average $1,350]
Floor lamps $200-550 [Average $375]
Throw pillows $24-40 [Average $32]

Sofas $1,000-1,400 [Average $1,200]
Floor lamps $100-500 [Average $300]
Throw pillows $19-80 [Average $50]

Sofas $1,000-2,000 [Average $1,500]
Floor lamps $100-300 [Average $200]
Throw pillows $20-80 [Average $50]


BUDGET #3


Sofas $1,000-3,500 [Average $2,250]
Floor lamps $170-500 [Average $335]
Throw pillows $30-70 [Average $50]

Sofas $1,000-2,700 [Average $1,850]
Floor lamps $200-800 [Average $500]
Throw pillows: $50-150 [Average $100]

Sofas $1,000-3,000 [Average $2,000]
Floor lamps $100-440 [Average $270]
Throw pillows $30-150 [Average $90]

Sofas $1,100-3,600 [Average $2,350]
Floor lamps $500-1,700 [Average $1,100]
Throw pillows $50-100 [Average $75]

Sofas $1,900-3,500 [Average $2,700]
Floor lamp $300-2,000 [Average $1,135]
Throw pillows $58-225 [Average $141]


BUDGET #4


Sofas $875-4,300[Average $2,588]
Floor lamps $300-2,000 [Average $1,135]
Throw pillows $49-130 [Average $90]

Sofas $900-5,000 [Average $2,950]
Floor lamps $150-500 [Average $325]
Throw pillows $20-100 [Average $60]

Sofas $1,000-7,000 [Average $4,000]
Floor lamps $170-550 [Average $360]
Throw pillows $30-150 [Average $90]

Sofas $1,500-4,500 [Average $3,000]
Floor lamps $300-1,000 [Average $650]
Throw pillows $50-200 [Average $125]

Sofas $2,600-4,500 [Average $3,550]
Floor lamps $700-1,200 [Average $950]
Throw pillows $120-500 [Average $310]

Sofas $2,500-4,400 [Average $3,450]
Floor lamps $400-1,200 [Average $800]
Throw pillows $40-150 [Average $95]


BUDGET #5


Sofas $2,500-4,000 [Average $3,250]
Floor lamps $130-2,800 [Average $1,465]
Throw pillows $100-500 [Average $300]

Sofas $1,800-5,900 [Average $3,850]
Floor lamps $230-500 [Average $365]
Throw pillows $130-200 [Average $165]

Sofas $1,700-6,300 [Average $4,000]
Floor lamps $325-1,500 [Average $915]
Throw pillows $38-300 [Average $169]

Sofas $1,700-9,000 [Average $5,350]
Floor lamps $575-1,800 [Average $1,188]
Throw pillows $50-800 [Average $425]

Sofa $2,000-9,000 [Average $5,500]
Floor lamps $300-2,500 [Average $1,400]
Throw pillows $50-200 [Average $125]


EVERY BUDGET STORES


Sofas $260-3,000
Floor lamps $7-1,500
Throw pillows $5-1,000

Sofas $300-10,000
Floor lamps $30-7,000
Throw pillows $10-400

Sofas $400-3,000
Floor lamps $30-900
Throw pillows $15-400

Sofas $450-2,000
Floor lamps $10-1,000
Throw pillows $20-100

Sofas $600-7,000
Floor lamps $50-2,000
Throw pillows $15-1,000

Sofas $600-4,000
Floor lamps $70-1,300
Throw pillows $20-200


Shop Around

So you love the look of the furniture at the more expensive stores but can't afford it, don't get discouraged! The wonderful news is that you know what style you like and what you want in your home. Look for pieces that are comparable at stores in your budget. I will give you some examples:


[Source: One Kings LaneWalmart]


[Sources: HorchowRugs USA]


[Sources: AnthropologieTarget]


Do Your Research

Don't assume just because a piece of furniture is less expensive than the higher end stores that is isn't good quality. Prices can be affected by material, size and colors of the piece which don't always mean the inexpensive one is a bad quality. Investigate why a piece is more inexpensive compared to the other. 

Is it the color? Some colors are more popular than others which means the least popular colors might be less expensive than the most purchased colors.

Is it the material? Some materials cost more than others, obviously. Higher quality fabrics are nice but sometimes the maintenance is hard because they need special care. 

Determine which qualities are important to you and which qualities you can be flexible about.

Read the Reviews

I wanted to buy a certain piece of furniture from Walmart because it was the exact color and size that I wanted. The piece was rated only 2 stars out of 5 so I held off on buying it. I searched and searched online for a piece with those exact dimensions I wanted but couldn't find anything. So, I kept going back to that badly rated piece from Walmart. I finally sat down and read all the reviews on it (which was about 30). A large number of reviews were 5 stars but the other reviews were 1 star. All of the 1 star reviews argued that the piece was too hard to assemble out of the box. Some of the 5 star reviews said that assembling the piece was easy and not a problem. My husband is a pro at putting together furniture out of a box so I chanced the review and bought it. He put it together without a problem and now I have the exact piece I wanted for the price I wanted.

Moral of the story: Read the reviews! Not every piece will work for everyone so that is why people give good and bad reviews. If my husband wasn't good at assembling furniture, then I wouldn't have bought it. Reading the reviews will help save you money by helping you make good, researched purchases.

Mix and Match

Although my budget isn't always at Walmart prices, I chose to shop there because I wanted to save money for more prominent pieces in the room from higher budget stores. Lets say if you really love a piece from Anthropologie, save your money by shopping at lower budget stores in other parts of the room so you can afford that piece you love. If you are going to buy that showstopper piece from Anthropologie anyways, you can save money by knowing where to shop cheaper for the rest of the room. For example, take a look at the mini makeover below:



TOTAL = $502.93

For this mini corner makeover, I picked an item that I absolutely love, regardless of price. I chose a light fixture from Anthropologie that is more than I would normally spend on lighting. The budget was $500 which made the light half of the budget and made me pinch pennies on the rest of the makeover. Even though the light was expensive, it doesn't matter because I still didn't go over budget with the entire makeover.



TOTAL = $1,530.93
For this bedroom makeover, I chose to splurge on the comforter. Again, $549 is a lot more than I would spend on a comforter but I wanted to show you that you can have those "must have" expensive pieces with budget shopping everywhere else in the room.

So there you go. Shopping can be fun when you know what you want, at the stores you want, and for the price you want. Now go shop around and save some money!

Come back next week for week 3 of my SAVING MONEY series!


Don't forget to read week 1 of this blog series HERE