5 min read

How to Furnish Your First Flat on a Student Budget in New Zealand

It’s tempting to spend money furnishing your entire flat when you first move in, but in reality, there are only a few things you need straight away.
By · February 24 2022
How to Furnish Your First Flat on a Student Budget in New Zealand

Moving out of home and into your first flat can be expensive, especially on a student budget. Taking your time to furnish your flat can be worth it. Here are some creative ways to furnish your new home on a tight budget.

Decide what items you need first

It’s tempting to spend money furnishing your entire flat when you first move in, but in reality, there are only a few things you need straight away.

If you are moving into a flat, consider which areas you need to furnish straight away. You’ll likely need a bed, desk and drawers as well as furniture for any shared living spaces. You can get by without a television or coffee table straight away, but you might want to prioritise buying couches and kitchen utensils so that you can cook at home and have somewhere comfy to sit down.

Make a list

Make a list of all the items you need in order or importance. If you share a flat with other students, ask your flatmates what items they will supply. You may strike it lucky and have a flatmate who has a spare set of couches to furnish your lounge.

Don’t be too fussy about where your stuff comes from. Trust us when we say it won’t last more than a few years anyway. You don’t need a matching couch and chair set or a desk that matches your bed frame. 

Finding and buying your furniture

Buying second-hand furniture can ensure you get quality items at discounted prices. Good quality second-hand items can last longer than cheap store-bought furniture, as they don’t require assembly and are often very durable.

Here are some places you can source second-hand furniture:

Family and friends

Furniture removal is often something people put off. Before you move into your first flat, ask your family and relatives if anyone has furniture they plan to throw away. Ask if you can have it to furnish your flat and offer to remove it for them. Many people would jump at the chance of free furniture removal.

Online market places

Facebook marketplace has many affordable items, and sometimes sellers give away furniture for free. Trade Me is also an effective way to pick up furniture. Set a budget to make sure you don’t have to outbid too many other people for the items you want.

Second-hand charity stores

The Salvation Army has charity stores in practically every major city and town in New Zealand. Here you can pick up furniture and household goods at a discounted rate. All the items they sell are in good condition, and profits support their community work.

Ask your landlord

If you’re about to move into a student flat, ask your landlord if there is any furniture the departing flatmates are selling or would like to leave behind. You might find yourself a bargain and save both yourself and the departing flatmate's money on furniture removal costs.

Visit your local tip

Many landfills have tip shops where you can source items for free. These items are usually good quality and still have years of use left in them. By shopping here, you are also helping to reduce waste. Search for your local tip shop online.

Scour garage sales

Garage sales are still a great way to pick up items for your flat. Rather than advertising these sales in newspapers, many people post their events to specialist Facebook pages. Check out sites like Garage Sales Wellington for events, locations and times.

How to buy new items when you are on a budget

There are some things you may wish to buy brand-new before you move into your first flat. In particular, bath towels, linens, pillows, duvets, and even mattresses are worth buying brand new.

Ask for gifts from your friends and family

If you have a birthday, Christmas, or special occasion coming up where your family would usually buy you a gift, why not ask for items for your flat or gift cards to a home goods store?

Shop the end of year sales

If you are a student, you will likely be moving into your new flat at the start of the school year in February. Get organised and shop the sales in December. Briscoes always has major discounts on items like towels and linens right after Christmas. These sales can be even better than the school year sales and deals that take place in February, and you’ll get a better pick of the stock.

Shop at discount stores

Cheap stores like The Warehouse and Kmart can be your best friend when you are a student. Sure, their stuff isn’t built to last, but it’s good enough quality to get you through a year or two. Shop here for specific kitchen utensils that are hard to find at second-hand sales.

Don’t forget; you may also want to think about buying electronics like vacuum cleaners and microwaves for your first flat.

Furniture Movers

Pick up address
Delivery address
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Booking a moving company

If you need second-hand furniture delivered to your student flat, Wise Move can help you get it there. We can put you in touch with a wide range of affordable and trusted movers who can pick up your new lounge suite, bedroom furniture or refrigerator and deliver it securely to your door.

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