I’ve been blogging for a spell now, and thought it would be prudent to share one of my larger financial mistakes. Take my advice: if you are young and single (male or female) do NOT buy furniture in your twenties. Or at least, the expensive designery-kind. Borrow furniture, haggle for something on craigslist, pick up something off the side of the road or make your pad an enclave of Ikea. Especially do not buy “nice” furniture or those cute little decor items that are so hard to resist. I say this because, the chances are if you are single (or even in an unmarried cohabitating couple) chances are you will move several times in your twenties due to job opportunites or continuing education or moving in with someone you care about. Or you may just have the misfortune of having to move apartments between towns or something because the landlord sucks, or the house wasn’t what you thought. Are you going to carry that furniture you paid so dearly for with you each and every time?
Reasons for not buying furniture in your twenties
Also-consider the wear and tear each item will get every time it is moved. My dresser has a huge gash in the back of it from the time I moved apartments in NYC. Everything I had shipped here has a layer of typical New York City dirt on it.
You may have heard me harp on this before in this post a little bit, about having nice furniture and how keeping it was such a dilemma at the time. Well folks, the jury is in and I have decided it is one of the biggest (and costliest) financial decisions I’ve ever made. Purchasing expensive furniture in the first place? Stupid. Taking it with me across the country? Double stupid. Guess where that furniture is now? A storage unit in backwoods Alabama. Guess what it’s doing? Keeping my stuffed animals, angsty teen journals, and 25 years of sh!t company. My mother ardently believes one day (whenever the magical day comes) I will settle down and be thankful for those pieces I carried with me from New York, because they are really quality and nice. Perhaps she is just trying to make me feel better, but in all likelihood my tastes will have changed and it might not even fit into the space of my first home purchase.
I could have sold it in New York, but I knew I would never have gotten what I paid for it back out of the sale and I just couldn’t bear to lose that much on an investment. So I do what most people do when they are emotionally tied to an investment and throw good money after bad.
It stings because of these numbers:
The furniture was 3600.00 total for a chaise, a dresser, a mattress, frame, and seven foot mirror (that someone will have to pry from my cold, dead hands one day because I love it so much). Courtesy of Sirs Raymour and Flannagan.
Shipping the furniture? 1500.00. Ouch.
That is a total of 5100.00. 3600 to feel like I was a big, big girl finally making her way in the world and then another 1500 to hold on to my old lifestyle. Even though the furniture, my friends, (and my hot, hot boyfriend) are really all I have to show for the time I spent there, what did I need that furniture for? I should have just gotten a few items off the street or from Ikea and then I wouldn’t have felt guilted into paying to take them with me. I know it’s just money, but at the end of the day that’s 5100.00 I could have used for retirement or for my student loan. Or for a pair (or five) of Louboutins.
When we lived together my dear friend Ivan the Great had a habit of dragging anything in semi-decent condition left for trash on the sidewalks in Harlem back to our apartment. Some of the pieces were completely awful, but some weren’t-like the dressers he found for his bedroom, a great over-the-toilet storage rack and the wooden block kitchen table that still sits in the apartment to this day. We finally had to put the kibosh on his dumpster-diving ways when he brought home a dingy, fabric covered chair during the height of the “bed bug” scare. Everyone was too scared to sit on it, and it was smelly. So we put it back on the curbv vowing to purchase anything we might need that had fabric on it (couches, chairs, pillows etc.)
His heart, mind and wallet were all definitely in the right place. So the moral of the story is be a little bit more like Ivan, and a lot less like L. Bee when it comes to your furniture decisions. Don’t buy NICE furniture (three hundred per piece or more) until you get married. Or buy a home. And maybe not even then unless you can truly afford it. The exception to this rule (I think) should be to spend money on a really great mattress and cheap your way out of the rest. A mattress is where you spend the largest percent of your time, so of course it should be comfy and awesome.
How do you feel about buying furniture in your twenties?