So your new home is ready, and you’re happy to finally have a place to call your own. You feel like a real adult for the first time in your life.
Now, in order to make your new pad habitable, you’ve also got to buy a ton of home furnishings, appliances and supplies unless you intend to sleep on the floor and cook your meals by campfire.
But before you hit up Ikea, Courts, Harvey Norman, Best Denki and co, here are some tips that can help you save a bit of cash:
1. Sign up for credit cards that will rewards you handsomely
You’re going to be spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars to kit up your new home. Don’t let all that spending go unrewarded.
Look for credit cards that offer cash back or air miles at a good rate when you spend on home furnishings or appliances, or just big purchases in general.
For instance, the American Express True Cashback Card will offer 3% cashback on up to $5,000 of spending in the first 6 months of card membership. That means you get a $150 discount on your first $5,000 of spending.
Another card to consider is the OCBC Best Denki Credit Card, if you’re planning to spend a lot at Best Denki. The card offers 12% BEST rewards, equivalent to 3% cash rebate, when you shop at Best Denki. You will also receive an additional 2% rebates if you spend $10,000 in a year at Best Denki, or 2.5% rebates if you spend $20,000 and above.
Finally, don’t forget that you can still order some of what you need online using a credit card that rewards you for online spending, like the DBS Live Fresh card, which gives you 5% cashback on all online shopping subject to spending at least $700 in a month.
Of course, you don’t always have to get a cashback card, and you can check out our review of the best air miles credit cards as well to see what suits your purchasing needs.
2. Buy cleaning supplies and kitchen staples in bulk
The first month or so at your new home, you will be shopping at supermarkets like never before.
You’ll have to buy a ton of supplies like sponges, dishcloths, floorcloths, cleaning fluids, detergent, kitchen towels, aluminium foil, plastic wrap, ziploc bags, tissue paper and so on.
Expect also to spend a lot more on food, as you’ll need to stock up on things like rice, noodles, pasta, salt, pepper, cooking oil, spices, herbs and sauces.
This gives you the perfect opportunity to meet the minimum spending requirements on your credit cards and get rewarded while you’re at it. So shop around for the best deals, select the best credit cards and then buy everything in bulk for maximum savings.
3. Don’t be too quick to buy gadgets
While you should go all out and buy consumable items in bulk, the opposite applies to gadgets. Hold off on buying gadgets in the first few weeks/months after you move in.
That’s because you need to settle into your new place and the new rhythm of being a homeowner before you know which gadgets you really need or have the time to actually use.
For instance, before moving in, you might be coveting a Nespresso machine as well as a home entertainment system for your living room.
But in reality, you end up never having time to have coffee in the morning before rushing off for work, and prefer watching movies on your laptop in bed.
4. Source for decorative items online
Unless you enjoy staring at white walls all the time, you will probably start looking at buying decorative items to spruce up your new home.
And unless you’re shopping at Daiso, you should avoid buying decorative items at retail stores as you’ll almost certainly end up paying more than you would for a similar item online.
If the main function of an item is just to look pretty, head to websites like Taobao (or, if the Chinese text is too much for you, Lazada’s Taobao collection), where you can buy good-looking items that cost mere dollars.
Whether you’re looking for vintage stackable suitcases that look like they belong in some hipster lifestyle store or a psychedelic wall hanging, you’ll find it on Taobao at some of the world’s lowest prices. Thank you, China.
This article was first published in Moneysmart Singapore.