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1.13.2009

Saving on Large Ticket Items


My first piece of advice on buying larger items- Don't buy new! It is so easy now to find something online that is quality AND cheaper than new, and it helps the environment- in effect you are recycling! Since it is so much easier to sell items now more and more people are selling unwanted large items instead of sending them to the landfills or (worse!) dumping them illegally in some ditch somewhere. Easiest and most obvious places to look- craigslist.com, ebay.com, and freecycle.com (freecycle isn't great for finding high quality items, but it's worthwhile to check it out once in a while- you know what they say about trash and treasure!).

My sister is the queen of craigslist- actually, I believe it is more her husband. Just in the past eight months they have found a house, a car, a TV, a sectional, and a washer/dryer combo on the classifieds website. I use it when I can, but in all fairness I haven't been in the market for that many large items lately. However, my 2 1/2 year old daughter just outgrew her crib/toddler bed (actually, we needed to re-crib it for the baby!) so we were in the market for a reasonably priced twin or daybed, preferably with a trundle for extra sleep space in our tiny house.

After a little browsing I found a solid wood (really, not particle board I swear!) daybed with a trundle and two mattresses for $100. The only real problem with craigslist is that sellers seldom update when things sell, and often I have inquired about items and recieved no response at all. I really liked this bed and didn't find much otherwise, so I really hoped for a response. Thankfully I got one right away, and the seller was super nice- even offered to deliver it for me for $10 more dollars! After talking to the seller and re-examining the photos of the mattresses I decided I didn't want them and he knocked the price down to $80 ($90 after delivery). Although he got lost on the way here and was a little late- no big deal because I had nowhere to be- the transaction was totally pleasant and I love the bed. It smelled like smoke a little (obviously came from a smoker's home), but I aired it outside for a few weeks and cleaned it will orange oil and it's fine.

Then I needed bedding and a mattress. What I SHOULD have done, since I didn't want secondhand bedding, was look on Etsy.com for something handmade. I love supporting makers of handmade items and smaller businesses in general. However, have I mentioned my immediate gratification problem? Plus, I would imagine that a handmade quilt or comfortor would have cost me a little more than what I found- the cutest Circo brand quilt and sham set for under $50 (it was on sale a little, but cheap to start with) and Circo sheets for $15. I know Target doesn't need my help, but I can't help but love them, and they are a lesser evil. I also got a pillow (bamboo cover- wasn't really looking for that, but she needed a flatter pillow and it was the flattest one they had!) and a mattress cover for about $20.

In case you're not keeping track, that's $175 so far. But one very important part is still missing- the mattress. Again, I didn't want to go secondhand on this (I really should have, though, but I didn't want to take the chance of getting something nasty for my daughter to sleep on). I really wanted to go organic, but that is SOOO expensive. After searching the internet and not finding much under $250 I happened to stop by a Mattress Discounters that's across the parking lot from the Joann's that I go to, and I found a base model Serta on sale for $147. Definately not something an adult would want to sleep on regularly, but I think it will serve my now 30 lb two year old at least through her grade school years.

And even better, I saw a similar daybed from with the exact same trundle setup at the mattress store- for over $700 (not including mattresses!). Made me feel like like I'd done a pretty good job.

So grand total for bed, trundle frame, bedding, and Mattress- just a hair under $375, and all of it is decent quality and attractive stuff. I still need a second mattress for the trundle eventually, but that can wait until we need it! And that mattress may very well end up being a second hand mattress, since it will only be used for company.

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