How I used $200 to Furnish My Room

San W
2 min readAug 2, 2022


As a poor Grad student who depends on a meager stipend, moving to a new city and starting a new life is a big decision. Moving comes with huge costs. They can be as big as moving far away from family and friends to more minor moving expenses like “How much can I spend to furnish my room?”

I was sticking to a rigid rule that housing costs should NOT be more than 30% of my income. I am glad I found a room on Craigslist that costs $600 monthly rent, including utilities and internet. I consider that a good deal in a city with the current booming housing market! But here comes the question: How much should I spend to furnish my room? I could spend as much as $2000 to furnish a room that I don’t even know how long I would stay, or I could look for cheaper furniture in the second-hand market. After weighing the opportunity costs, I stick to the practical version of the room I want.

Here’s the room that I managed to pull together from various sources:

It’s a small room with basic furniture. The white Ikea cabinet in the picture cost $60, and I got it from Facebook Marketplace. My landlord was very kind to help me pick it up. I told him he could have the cabinet if I moved out.

The full-size memory foam mattress costs $100 from Sam’s Club. I decided to get a brand new one because I found it 50% on sale, and it really was not much different from the used mattress in terms of price. I was pleasantly surprised that the mattress was on sale for 50%!

The Ikea desk cost $10, which I got from Facebook Marketplace.

The bed boxspring is free, and I managed to get it from a researcher who is moving out of town through Facebook Marketplace.

Finally, I went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond to get a $30 pillow. I brought the blanket from home. The chair is not in the picture, but I just pulled an extra chair from the dining area (so it’s free!).

So, overall, the furniture costs $200!

For me, this is a good deal to start my Grad school journey. I am sure there will be unexpected expenses that I need to cover, so it’s a great feeling to save some money consciously. For those like me who just moved to a new place, the Facebook marketplace and other locally-based groups can be super useful to get cheaper products! Utilize them if you can!



San W

Goals: Adopt a dog | Finish my doctoral dissertation about electric vehicles | Keep learning!