Thursday, May 23 2013 7:31 PM EDT2013-05-23 23:31:22 GMT
The pastor and members of a Jefferson county church make the gruesome discovery of a body on the way to Bible study Wednesday evening. Sheriff Peter Walker said a woman's body was found just before 6:30More >>
Jefferson County Sheriff Peter Walker has identified the woman found dead in the cemetery of East Mount Olive Baptist Church Wednesday night.
We all want our living spaces to be comfortable, inviting and pleasing to the eye. Whether you have just moved into an apartment and made all of the costly deposits, taken out a mortgage to purchase a home, or just want to make your current living space a little homier, these decorating tips can spruce up your place without breaking the bank or going into debt.
1. Don't make a purchase until you've made a move.
Moving? You may be surprised how well (and how different) your current possessions will look in your new space. Try placing furniture and artwork in different rooms from your previous living arrangement. Place the bookshelf from the family room in a bedroom, or try the lamps from your bedroom in the study. A room swap for furnishings can work even if you are not actually moving.
Make a list of immediate needs, like a bed and new sheets. Separately, list wants, such as a different set of dishes. Include a budget for each item and go shopping for only the essentials. Take the "want" list with you -- not because you are buying anything on the list, but as a reminder that, even if you see a great deal, your money needs to go toward buying immediate need items first. The wants can wait.
3. Go second-hand.
Someone else's unwanted furnishings may be perfect for your home. Today, there are many ways to find high-quality used items including couches, artwork, area rugs and appliances for a fraction of what you would pay if buying new. Garage and estate sales can be starting points. Craigslist (where you can post requesting needed items while also checking out what others have to give away or sell), FreeCycle and eBay are good online choices. Thrift and consignment stores (even for furniture) include upscale options. These are also great ways for you to sell your unwanted items and make extra cash to purchase replacements. Do not be shy about telling others about your search, too. Perhaps a neighbor or relative has a dining table that would look great in your new place.
4. Don't finance furnishings.
Big furniture retailers often offer interest-free financing plans. But that bedroom set of your dreams could become a nightmare if you fall behind on a payment. Not only will the interest rate spike -- to as high as 20 percent -- but many lenders make this penalty retroactive. That means the interest rate could apply to the entire original balance even if you have already significantly paid it down. Some furniture stores will negotiate a better deal if you can pay with cash. Avoid "rent-to-own" stores. These companies charge sky-high rates. What looks like a bargain is likely to cost you much more than full price.
5. Shop by the calendar.
Retailers tend to follow a set calendar when determining when to mark things down. If you can wait a little bit, you can time purchases to coincide with great sales. For instance, bedding and towels typically are on sale during the winter months of December and January. February is a good time to go furniture shopping, while March might net you a great deal on a new TV. The spring months of April and May are a perfect time to restock the kitchen with new dishes and appliances. You can replace worn carpeting with deals in June and spruce up the inside and outside of your home with new furnishings in July and August. Stores offer great deals on college dorm-room décor (which may look great at your place) in August and September. End-of-season closeouts on outdoor patio furniture and grills happen in October and November. Fall is also a good time to find sales on televisions and electronics.
Remember, you don't need to overhaul your entire home to create a new look. New bedding and towels can add flourish to bedrooms and bathrooms. Affordable window treatments can change the look of a room in an instant. And if you don't have an eye for design, ask for help from a friend or family member whose home has some flair. Who knows? You might build a stronger relationship along with a new look (at low cost) for your home.
Andrew Housser is a co-founder and CEO of Bills.com, a free one-stop online portal where consumers can educate themselves about personal finance issues and compare financial products and services. He also is co-CEO of Freedom Financial Network, LLC providing comprehensive consumer credit advocacy and debt relief services. Housser holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Stanford University and Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College.
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