#FirstTimeBuyers: Debt and furniture shouldn’t mix
If you’re a first time buyer, then you are probably only just beginning to realise how expensive furniture can be. That three-piece lounge suite you’ve had on your “Dream Home” inspiration board probably seems like nothing but an unrealistic fantasy to you now. But, a little bit of financial discipline mixed with a dash of smart shopping can go a long way towards helping you achieve your furniture fantasy.
“Purchasing a property is only the first step in the journey. Finding furniture to match your new home – and your budget – is the next step in creating the home you have always hoped to have. The key to achieving this is to have a plan and the patience to stick to it,” says Adrian Goslett, regional director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
Like all good things in life, your ideal furniture is not going to arrive overnight – unless you are willing to get yourself into masses of debt, of course. So, that leaves you with one of three options: (1) hope that a wealthy relative passes away soon and leaves you a sizable inheritance, (2) give up on your dreams and settle for more affordable options, or (3) put aside an amount each month to save for what you’ve always wanted.
Save, save, save
Saving for an item can be frustrating, but that instant gratification of purchasing before you have the funds available will quickly fade into nothing more than a distant memory when you’re making the 13th repayment on an item that should have cost R6,000 and is now costing R12,000.
“The first step in creating a furniture fund is to know how much the item you want to purchase costs. Rather than choosing one specific item, shop around to find out the average price of a certain style of furniture (for example, how much oak dining room tables cost). That way you will not be disappointed if that specific item you were saving for isn’t available by the time you have enough saved to purchase it,” Goslett advises.
“Next, you need to decide how long you are willing to wait to purchase this item. In my experience, I’ve learnt that it is better to set a timeline on a saving scheme as this will push you to save the amount required each month in order to meet the deadline. After all, it is easier to wait for something when you know exactly when you are going to be rewarded for your patience and discipline.”
Finding the spare cash to put aside is by far the trickiest part of this exercise. You will have to take a close look at your budget and see where you can save on non-essential items, such as your entertainment budget.
If there is one thing you can take from this, it is that it is possible to have the house of your dreams – both in structure and in furnishings. You just need to have the perseverance and self-control to keep chasing after it. Unless, of course, you would prefer to wait for that inheritance…