Thursday, December 18, 2008

Furniture is not a necessity

I was reading a recent copy of the AARP Magazine (showing my advanced age) and read a column supposedly giving advice on money matters. The question came from Utah and asked about a problem with renting furniture. That wasn't what caught my attention. The person with the problem mentioned that they had rented furniture in Texas, a bedroom set, and "we had paid $4,976 and had only five payments of $254 to go until it was paid off." Maybe I don't have a real good grip on reality, but simple arithmetic, using a calculator, shows this person paid $6,246 for bedroom furniture. What is interesting is that the furniture was rented, so they were paying interest on the furniture. Now if this amount doesn't faze you, then you probably don't worry about a budget.

One thing I have learned in my life is that used furniture has almost no resale value. I am not talking antiques or collectibles, just ordinary house furnishings. A quick check online shows 6 piece bedroom sets from Costco Furniture for about $5,500 without a mattress or box springs. Apparently, some people place a great deal of importance on furniture. However, $6,000 is close to what I have spent on furniture in my entire life. A further check online showed Queen Bedroom sets starting at under $500 from other vendors.

I would guess that many people, however, are caught having purchased or rented expensive furniture and are now feeling the pinch. My point is that furniture is not a necessity. We can get along quite nicely with a very minimal amount, perhaps a chair or two, enough for each one in the family, and a table. Beds are nice, but not absolutely necessary. If you are thinking about your financial priorities, particularly in these chaotic financial times, perhaps you need to reassess your attitude about what is a luxury and what is a necessity. Maybe $6,000 is a lot of money to you, I know it is to me, especially for furniture. For me, being prepared for hard times probably doesn't mean going out an spending money on furniture.


Tiffany said...

I agree that going into debt or paying $6000 for a bedroom set isn't necessary, wise, or prudent. There are many less expensive sources for good furniture. But, sometimes you do have to pay some money to get something you need. :) You can only sit on folding chairs for so long. Beds are quite nice. I'd say they are a necessity. Maybe not a $6000 bed, but a bed is nice. I guess it is like anything--if you have the resources to buy a bed and are prudent about it there isn't anything wrong with buying a bed or a few chairs. :)

Anonymous said...

I think the last few generations have just been spoiled and feel "entitled" to the same conveniences as their elders, without the effort.

Anyone spending $6000 on furniture obviously is either deranged, hopelessly in debt, or not planning for the present or the future.

I fear for the future.