1. Finagle freebies. Get as much as you possibly can for free. Friends, family, and neighbors often have old furniture that they no longer need. You can also wake up before the garbage men on trash day.

  2. Thrift shops. Now that retro is cool, there's no better place to scope out blissfully ugly '70s lamps than your local thrift shop. Knickknacks, vases, framed pictures - they're all there. It's also a great place to get furniture. Couches, for example, go for as little as forty bucks. If you don't like the idea of a used couch, get it cleaned or re-upholstered, or try covering it up with a colorful sheet to make it look like new.

  3. Garage sale. Garage sales (a.k.a. yard sales or tag sales) have a lot of the same finds that thrift stores have, and sometimes the stuff is even cheaper. You may have to haggle but it's worth it. Go early, before the crowd shuffles in and gets all the good crap.

  4. Outfit your bathroom at the 99-cent store. Dollar stores are the only logical choice for items like shower curtains, toothbrush holders, soap dishes, waste paper baskets, bath mats, etc. They often won't literally be 99 cents each (false advertising to lure you in), but they'll be dirt cheap and well worth the seedy atmosphere.

  5. Dress your windows at the discount store. Places like Kmart, Wal-Mart and Target have the best window treatments around, hands down. Whether it's curtains, rods, blinds or shades, look no further than your favorite mass-market megastore. Great selection, ridiculously low prices, and blue light specials left and right.

  6. Buy furniture you assemble yourself. Places like IKEA and the aforementioned discount stores offer an array of inexpensive pieces that come in boxes and require assembly. The quality of the furniture isn't always premium, but it will look just fine and last you a few years - which is probably the amount of time it will take you to be able to afford the better stuff. You can get dressers, bookcases, kitchen tables, and entertainment centers. If you're weary of wielding tools, recruit a couple of handy friends.

  7. Don't purchase pricey pictures. Why buy an expensive framed picture when you get the same effect for a fraction of the cost? Simply buy a print from a poster shop, then buy a frame from a discount store.

  8. Knockoffs. This is one of our favorites. Go to stores that are out of your price range and scout out looks you really dig. Nine times out of ten, you can get them cheaper somewhere else, like Target or Odd Job.

SoYouWanna know more? Check out our full-length article SYW decorate your apartment (cheaply)?