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Top tips when you’re setting up home for the first time

14th July 2020

Money is tight if you’re moving out of home for the first time (unless you’ve recently had a lottery win, of course). So how can you spend your money to get the best value when you’re making big purchases?


Here are some top tips for three big purchases you might be thinking of making in the coming months:


1.  A new mattress


Buying a new mattress is an area where you can feel pressured to spend a huge sum of money. Sales people will point out how many pennies per night you’ll be spending over several years rather than highlighting the amount which will be disappearing from your bank account today.


The two main types of mattress are foam mattresses and sprung mattresses. Most of us sleep on sprung mattresses but memory foam mattresses are popular too and can offer a good level of consistent support.


If you’re getting a spring mattress, the most important upgrade you can make is to get one with pocket springs rather than an ‘open coil’ mattress. Ideally you want 1000+ pocket springs on your mattress but even a low quality pocket spring mattress will be more supportive than an ‘open coil’ mattress.


Don’t get sucked in by the ‘retail price’ of a mattress as many of them are inflated to make you feel you’re getting a bargain. Instead, look at how thick a mattress is, how long the guarantee lasts for, whether it uses breathable natural materials (if it’s a pocket sprung mattress) and whether it comes with a trial period so you can try it out at home.


2. A new sofa


Sofas are an area where you can potentially spend thousands on a designer masterpiece. Equally, you can get something very cheap which probably won’t last long. I’d aim for something in the middle unless you’re on a very tight budget.


If you want a sofa that lasts a long time, pick one with a hard wood frame and a long guarantee. Many of the best sofas are made in the UK and most of them use springs for support rather than something called ‘webbing’ which is a bit cheaper.


However, even if you are working to a tiny budget there are plenty of good sofa brands out there and you can learn a lot from reading customers reviews both of the brand and of the particular sofa you’re interested in.


A cheaper sofa made with a soft wood frame or a metal frame won’t hold its shape as well but it will do the job if you just want something cheap to keep you going for a few years.


Of course, buying a second hand sofa is another option if you are able to transport it. Sofa styles often change but if you don’t mind not having the latest on-trend design then you can pick up a bargain.


3. An engagement ring


If you’re planning on getting engaged anytime soon, don’t feel pressured to blow your budget on an engagement ring which costs thousands of pounds. You may have heard old traditions about spending a month’s salary on a diamond engagement ring but these ‘traditions’ were dreamt up by marketing people from diamond companies and should be ignored.


If you are set on a diamond ring, have a search online for cheap retailers which are often much more affordable than high street jewellers. Alternatively, consider buying a second hand diamond ring as engagement rings devalue faster than a new sports car leaving a showroom.


Diamonds are graded according to their cut, clarity, colour and carat. The carat determines the weight (i.e. size) whilst the other three determine how dazzling the diamond will be. If it won’t ruin the surprise have a chat with your partner about what’s important for them before you spend a huge amount on a massive diamond when they would have preferred something subtler. You might also decide that you’d rather save money on the diamond ring to pay for a more expensive honeymoon or wedding.


You could also consider an alternative to a diamond such as a ruby, sapphire or emerald which are much cheaper. Finally, save some money by choosing nine carat gold rather than 18 carat for the setting which holds the diamond. It looks very similar but can cost half the price.



Posted by Mark at 9:36am

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