A Broken Recliner Puts Frugality to the Test


Photo courtesy of le

Our family recliner has been on its last leg (literally) for some time now.  After years of use, a couple moves, and kids substituting it for an indoor jungle gym, it finally bit the dust.  The base of the chair splintered off two Sunday afternoons ago just as I was kicking back to recline and watch a little football, sending me to the floor in a heap, and sending my wife and kids over the edge with laughter.  You know you are a member of the frugal class when the first three things you think to yourself are, “Does my back hurt?  Does my shoulder hurt?  How much is in our emergency fund?”  Sad, I know, but at least I had the priorities in correct order.

Searching for a New (Old) Recliner

A brief (and I mean brief–open furniture ad, grasp chest in response to the price of recliners, and toss ad in trash can) survey of the Sunday sale ads didn’t provide many leads.  Unfortunately, we missed the window of yard sale opportunities by one day, but decided we could make do with our old sofa (which is also in need of replacement) for a few days.  I hit Craigslist and eBay (looking for local auctions), but those searches yielded nothing. Nothing on the bulletin boards at work or at the gym.

I checked back with Craigslist near the end of the week and a search for “chair” in my area revealed a yard sale on Saturday morning with a used La-Z-Boy recliner as one of the items for sale.  We woke up early and headed over to the address listed and liked what we saw from the street.  The light brown recliner matched our other furniture well (not that this was a big concern), and it appeared to be in good shape.  Upon closer inspection and test ride (or sit) proved that the chair was sturdy and lacked any stains or weird odors.  The homeowners were asking $40, and we paid them without haggling (I hate haggling over garage sale pricing).  Sure, we might could have talked them down a few dollars, but the chair retailed for a few hundred bucks, so I considered it a win-win for both parties.

Patience Over Impulse

With the back off from the base the recliner easily fit in the back of our SUV.  We carried it in, reattached the back and everyone gave it a try.  We’ve had it a couple weeks now and I can say it is a very comfortable chair.  My wife thinks I say that just because it costs us $40, and there might be some truth to that, but it really is a solid recliner.  I was proud of us for holding off on a new chair from the furniture store for two reasons.  One, we saved a ton of money, and two, we took an old chair off someone’s hands and kept it out of the landfill where it would take years to disintegrate.  I put our old chair out by the curb with a sign marked, “Needs Work–Free” and an industrious passerby picked it up and hauled it off.  I guess there is always someone out there more frugal than you!

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