Monday, 7 January 2013

Saving on Big Ticket Items - Kitchen Table + Chairs

When it came to furnishing my first house I wanted a really good kitchen table.  I also didn't want to spend an arm and a leg on them.  (And let me be honest, I didn't have all that much left to spend on them.)  While in the strictest sense I didn't NEED a table and chairs, the idea of sitting at my desk on the one chair that I owned every night for dinner was even worse than the idea of being 23 and still sleeping in a twin bed that is part of a bunk bed set.

I did a bit more looking and research for the table than I did for my bed frame.  A new set was pretty much out of my price range, so I started my search in the scratched and dented section of some furniture stores.  While I did find some tables marked down for some minor cosmetic scratches there wasn't a whole lot of variety, so I expanded my search.

Enter Kijiji.  Truthfully this was the first time that I looked for something to buy on Kijiji, and it took a little getting use to.  I was tentative and not quite sure I was up for the idea of going to strangers' houses to look at furniture.  However, I was even more put out by the idea of paying lots of money for a table, so I sent out half a dozen inquires.

A few days later I went to check out one of the tables that I had asked about. (With my Dad-even though it was a perfectly respectable neighbourhood, you can never be too careful.)  I walked away with a solid wood table and four chairs for $75.  (Incidentally, the set was made the same year I was born, which is the same year my house was built.  What can I say?  1989 was a good year.)

I have since compared the table to what a new set would cost.  A similar new solid wood set would cost about $490 after taxes.  Which means that my set was about 85% off with plenty of wear left in it.

Lessons Learned

-Send out lots of inquires.  Make sure you are polite though; when you find what you need send an e-mail out to all those you had contacted and let them know that you are no longer interested.
-Be patient.  The best time to look is long before you need it, that way you can wait for the right one to come along and you won't feel like you are settling.
-Set criteria for what you want, it may be price, size, colour.  Have a good idea what you want.  At the same time don't be overly restrictive.  If you want a solid wood dark brown table that seats 8 and was built in the last 5 years for under $100 you are probably going to be waiting for a while.
-Safety first.  When it comes to furniture, obviously you can't meet the seller at the local Tim Horton's, but be sensible.  Go during the day, bring a friend, make sure people know where you're going and when you're going to be back, and for goodness sake, if any thing about the situation seems off make a quick exit.  A good deal isn't worth getting in harm's way.

I would use Kijiji again to find furniture: I had a great find with my table set.  Follow some common sense, do some research, and I'm sure that you will have the same satisfaction.

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