The amount you spend on household items is your decision. However if you are on a tight budget there are ways you can minimise costs. Buying second-hand furniture is cheap and culturally acceptable in Australia. Remember to closely inspect second-hand goods to ensure they are in good working order. They are generally not covered by the same warranties that come with new goods. Extra attention should be paid to mechanics/electrics to ensure they are functional and safe. There are various places where you can buy second-hand furniture.
The Trading Post
The Trading Post is a weekly classifieds newspaper published on Thursdays. Furniture, household goods, electrical and white goods, cars and other items are advertised for sale. It is also available online.
Whether you’re environmentally aware, on a tight budget or frugal by nature, this is definitely the website for you. In summary, ‘freecycling’ is about recycling things that are still good to use, ie. giving stuff away for free! You will find all types of items in the online freecycle classifieds from pot scourers to furniture and everything in between. But get in quick - the freecycling community are early birds.
Furniture and household good are available for purchase from opportunity (op) and charity shops. You can pick up some good bargains.
Safety and functionality of goods
- Closely inspect second-hand mechanical and electrical goods to ensure they are in good working order. They are generally not covered by the same warranties that come with new goods.
- Establish whether they are functional and safe before you buy and take them home. Use of faulty equipment has been known to start electrical fires.
- It is compulsory for all premises to have a smoke detector fitted. If you are renting, it is your landlord’s responsibility to ensure you have a working smoke detector in the premises.
- The Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board (MFB) have further information regarding fire safety in the home.
Many noticeboards allow people to advertise their second-hand books, furniture, household goods, bikes and other items. Noticeboards are located in cafes, libraries and community centres. There are many noticeboards on-campus. A general noticeboard is located on-campus on the Ground Floor of Union House.
Markets and garage sales
Markets are an interesting and fun way to buy cheap and great food, clothing and furniture. Weekend markets are listed in the EG section in The Age newspaper on Fridays. Also look out for car boot sales, trash ‘n’ treasure markets and garage sales. The classifieds section of local newspapers and community noticeboards list times and locations of these events.
If you don't want to buy second-hand goods, you can still save money when shopping. Shops like Ikea and discount department stores like Big W, Dimmey's, Harris Scarfe, Kmart and Target often offer reasonable prices.
Check out the online Bargain Shoppers Guide to Melbourne. It lists places to go for discount prices on a wide range of goods and services, eg. clothing, furniture, entertainment and food. The hardcopy magazine can be purchased for less than $10 from newsagents, bookstores or online.
Student Financial Aid
If you are finding it difficult to balance your income and expenditure, you may like to use the resources provided by the Student Financial Aid service. They provide advice on cost of living estimates, budgeting, Government entitlements and cutting costs. A handy Shopping Guide is also available on their website.
Student Financial Aid takes applications for interest-free long-term and short-term loans and various bursaries. Student Financial Aid Advisers are also available to assist you with enquiries. Phone (03) 8344 6550 or visit their website.