A SAVVY student has furnished her entire house – shared by two people – for nothing save the cost of new mattresses, after blagging everything from furniture to crockery, yoga mats and houseplants for free.
Slovak student Eva Kupčová, 20, who is studying computer science at the University of Glasgow, has combined her two top priorities – saving money and saving the environment – by using other people’s cast-offs to kit-out every room in her rented house.
Scouring websites like Gumtree, Olio and Facebook Marketplace, where people advertise unwanted items for nothing to people willing to collect them, she estimates she has saved her household at least £2,000.
Eva, who moved into her house share in Glasgow, in September 2020, said: “I was inspired by a documentary I watched on sustainability and have not looked back.
“By furnishing our house with things other people want to throw away we are saving money and helping to save the planet, too.
“I particularly like using Olio, which specialises in furniture and food. It’s great. I have got furniture worth around £1,500 through Olio.
“We all bought new mattresses, which cost us £100 each, but beyond that, we must have spent a maximum of £50 throughout the house on extras. All the main furniture – and many decorative items, too – were free.”
Starting her second year of university in September 2020, after spending her first year in a furnished dorm, Eva was horrified when she realised how much it was going to cost to kit her room out.
She said: “The house we are renting isn’t furnished, so we went to IKEA first, but it was just too expensive on a student budget.
“So, I started looking at all the websites that advertised unwanted items going for free.
“We found some amazing things and managed to get all the basics we needed within a month.
“We have everything we need and plenty of extras now, but I still keep checking the websites, as if I see something I like, I can upgrade to it and give the item it’s replacing away.”
By furnishing our house with things other people want to throw away we are saving money and helping to save the planet, too.
Snapping up everything from chests of drawers to clothing rails, floor lamps, photo frames, a laundry hamper, a dining table, chairs and a book case, to a sofa and armchairs for nothing, she has even bagged decorative fairylights, kitchen equipment and a full length mirror for nothing.
Soft furnishings, extension leads, alarm clocks, bins, candles, a mixer, a food blender and a juicer have also been amongst her booty.
“I estimate that I’ve had at least £2,000 of free furniture, kitchenware, general homeware and soft furnishings,” she said.
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“My favourite item is an IKEA armchair that would have cost us £250 new.
“But I also got a bike worth £200 from Olio. I had to spend £20 on repairs, but it was worth it.”
And, from September she started collecting free plants, too.
She said: “Houseplants cost a lot. Nice ones are upwards of £8.
Eva’s five top finds
– Red IKEA armchair from Olio worth £250
– Vintage bicycle from Olio worth £200
– Dining table and two chairs from Gumtree worth £150
– Bed from Olio worth £150
– Houseplants from various places worth £500
“I reckon I’ve got about 50 for nothing, so I must have saved at least £500,
“During the March lockdown I got absolutely addicted to finding free plants.
“I’ve got so many now, it might be tricky if I go on vacation but, hopefully, they will survive!
“Bargain hunting is such a way of life now that if I meet someone new, one of the first things I talk about is what apps they’ve got and the ones they should try.”
With her house fully-furnished, Eva is now looking into ways to bag more of life’s luxuries for nothing.
She said: “The next big thing for me will be Christmas. We’ve managed to find a Christmas tree and festive decorations for free already.”
Eva’s five top tips for finding things for free
– Get to know the websites you are using and all their features, so you know how to find the best things.
– Be patient and keep looking – do not just hunt for a specific item. Be prepared to get the best item you can, with a view to upgrading it if the ideal thing comes along.
– Remember, you, too, can put something you no longer need back on to a website if you find something better, so you keep the circle of recycling going.
– Recruit your friends – make bargain hunting a fun activity you can enjoy together and look out for items for each other.
– Share information – that way you can keep up to date with the best places to search for stuff
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