Affordable university digs makeover


If you’re the proud parent of a child starting university this year, congratulations! By now you've had many thoughts and emotions about how they'll cope with life and studies, and how you'll cope with paying for it; especially if they're moving out to a dormitory or flat.

Have you given much thought to how you’re going to kit out your child’s new home away from home? These things can be enough to drive your account balance into a panic. But take a breath; here are five tips to help furnish your child’s new digs without breaking the bank.


If your house is stacked to the rafters with extra odds and ends, take a quick inventory of the items you have around the home. Old back-up appliances can find a useful second, if temporary, life in a student flat or digs. TIP: If you have an aging kettle or toaster in the kitchen, get yourself the upgrade and let the youngster take the old one. Let them think of it as "a reminder of home".

Start putting a little extra aside

The best way to deal with any big expense is to save a lump sum of capital. There’s no better way to avoid getting yourself into debt than having cash at hand. Achieving this takes some planning and time, so it isn’t a quick fix. But if you do need an immediate solution in order make large purchases, plan your acquisitions from smallest (now) to largest (later) to allow your savings to catch up.

Go thrift shopping

Consumers nowadays are quick to rush out and purchase items out-of-the-box. Rather than going to a shopping centre, why not do some research and buy items second-hand? There are multiple websites, outlets and yard sales around South Africa where you can find everything you might need for your child’s new digs. Remember, nearly everything sold second-hand is negotiable, so go into the purchase with a lower price in mind and barter.

Look to visit an auction house

These are not as popular here as they are in the USA, but there are good deals to be had at auctions. Many auction lots around South Africa feature repossessed items from businesses, so you might get large quantities of things (lots of coffee cups, for example). The upside is that they’ll be in a good condition for a fraction of the price. So remember to stick to your budget and don’t be tempted to overbid on items.

Just rent the items

Rent-to-own (RTO) contracts are increasing in popularity and are an alternative to credit agreements. RTO is a rental agreement, so no debt to deal with. A local company that offers furniture, household appliances and electronics is Teljoy. Extra bonuses of taking this route are, renting a television includes a TV license, risk cover is included, installation and delivery are also part of monthly fees. A big benefit is that you can cancel at any time, which can help hugely if you are struggling to make payments. You won’t find yourself stuck paying interest as you would on items you purchased on credit.

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