The excitement of receiving the keys to your new apartment can quickly fade once you realise just how financially-taxing homeownership is. Between repaying your home loans and parting with large sums of money for renovations, your wallet is bleeding enough as it is. But then comes the cost of furniture, which can add up to another S$5,000-S$30,000. Undoubtedly, busting your budget on home furnishing is hardly an ideal way to start enjoying your new home. So, how can you minimise the damage to your already-dwindling savings? We explore 3 helpful money-saving tips below.
Sign up for Credit Cards That Reward You for High Spending
You’re going to be spending thousands of dollars decking out your new home–don’t let all that spending go unrewarded. Instead, you can sign up for credit cards that offer cashback or air miles at a good rate when you spend on home furnishings, appliances, or just big purchases in general. There are two ways you can get cashback and rewards based on the credit card you use. First, you can take combine different cards to maximise your rewards. For example, you can combine the American Express True Cashback Card with the Citi Cash Back+ Card. You can take advantage of Amex's 3% introductory cashback offer to get S$150 cashback for your first $5,000 of furniture and then use the Citi Cash Back+ for the remaining ‘overflow expenses’ and enjoy an above average cashback rate of 1.6%.
Another option to consider is using a credit card that partnered with a furniture store to receive special discounts and promotions. For instance, the OCBC Best Denki Credit Card offers 12% BEST rewards (i.e. 3% cash rebate) for every dollar spend and an additional 2.5 % rebates if you spend S$20,000 in a year at Best Denki. While you may end up saving more by utilising a store-specific card, you should be aware that this makes your options rather limited. Thus, the second option may be suitable for people who are planning on outfitting their entire apartment from one store.
Time Your Purchases Right for Major Discounts
Why pay full-price for an item when you can have it for a discount? When furnishing your new home, hold off your purchases and get to shopping when the annual key shopping events hit. For next year, the main shopping events to keep an eye out for are: before the beginning of the Chinese New Year (12 Feb 2021), 618 (18 Jun 2021), the Great Singapore Sale period (Jun and Jul 2021), and 11.11 (11 Nov 2021). If you are able to time your shopping to a major promotion, you'll be able to save thousands of dollars in total as many stores provide 40-55% discounts on furniture. In the event you can't plan your shopping around promotional periods, you can still save on your purchases by checking out a store's clearance or sales section. Typically, these sales will run every season as stores try to get rid of their stock before the new season's furniture comes in.
Cross-Check Prices Between Retailers to Avoid Overpaying
Have your eye on a particular piece of furniture? Don’t just pay for it immediately–take your time to pore through all other retailers’ stores to ensure that you’re paying the lowest price possible. Certain stores may offer first-timer discount codes, bundle deals, or discounts once you hit a minimum spend. Also, if you’re particular about the design of your furniture (and not necessarily the quality), you can find more budget-friendly options by shopping around, especially when it comes to online retailers who compete on price. For example, stores such as FortyTwo, Ikea, and FurnitureSG are known for selling cheaper versions of designer furniture. This allows you to create your style vision without pushing you into debt.
Perhaps Most Importantly, Don’t Forget to Insure Your Home
While it's easier to just buy the first thing you see, comparing furniture prices at different stores can be worth the hassle. The extra time you spend can end up saving you thousands of dollars. You may also discover a new favourite store you haven't even considered before. However, while saving money on your furniture is important, it is just as important to keep it protected. There is nothing worse than seeing all the money you’ve spent on furnishing your new home go to waste because of unexpected dangers like fire, flood, or even theft. So, if you haven't gotten yourself home insurance, there’s no better time than now.