Where to Find Cheap or Free Stuff for your Apartment in the Greater Lafayette Area

27 Aug

Lauren Walker, Purdue alumna

With August closing in and the new year of leases starting soon, it’s time to start prepping for your new place. Whether it’s in the Purdue housing or an off-campus apartment, you most likely need to buy a few things. It’s easy to create a huge dent in your summer savings if you buy everything at full retail price. So, buy used!  I’ve always been able to easily find furniture under $50 a piece every year I’ve been at Purdue. I’ve even gotten some stuff for free. Where, you ask?

clothes rack

Clothes rack at a thrift store

1.      Thrift Stores    

PROS: It’s a one-stop-shop for small items like cooking utensils, dining ware and picture frames at a reasonable price.

CONS:  If you’re looking for something very specific, they can be hit or miss. Furniture and other large items are in slim choice at Goodwill.


Trinity Thrift Store

1224 Union Street 

Lafayette, IN 47904

West Lafayette Goodwill – First Saturday of every month is ½ price everything in the store

907 Sagamore Parkway West

West Lafayette, IN 47904

salvage yard

Searching for building materials

3815 Fortune Dr.

Lafayette, IN 47905

2.      Garage Sales 

community yard sale

A group of people shopping at a community yard sale

PROS: Extremely cheap prices. I’ve found many household items for less than $5 at garage sales. Furniture can be harder to find, but when you do, it’s very cheap. In addition, you can haggle with the owner for a lower price. I rarely have someone turn down a lower offer.

CONS: Again, if you are looking for a very specific item, you might have trouble finding it. You also might have to drive all around town hitting up different sales to get everything you need, and we all know gas isn’t cheap.

WHERE: Check out Tippecanoe CraigslistYard Sale Search, or pick up a Journal and Courier on Friday or Saturday morning for the classifieds.

3.      One Man’s Trash is Your Treasure

one man's trash is another's treasure

A person going through garage

There’s a special kind of Senior Week here at Purdue. As graduating students move to full-time jobs in distant cities, there are countless free scores waiting by every dumpster, trash can, and curb side in West Lafayette.

PROS: Well for one, it’s free. But don’t worry; you won’t have to jump inside a dumpster. Many considerate movers will leave their perfectly useable unwanted furniture and appliances in a clean spot beside the dumpster.

CONS: Hey, if you’re willing to jump into a dumpster to dig deeper, I’m not stopping you. You just might get a little messy.

WHERE: Take a stroll or car ride around the student neighborhoods and see what you can find. Large apartment complexes will be overflowing with treasures.

4.      Craigslist

craigslist store front

craigslist store front

PROS:  You can shop in your pajamas at home and the seller might even deliver the goods to you. Performing a quick search through the listings is the fastest and easiest way to find a very particular item for cheap. Remember to haggle down the price!

CONS: Setting up a time and place to meet someone for your purchase can be a bit of a pain, especially if they cancel at the last second. “Oh yeah, I forgot had dinner with the in-laws tonight. Can we do tomorrow?”

WHERE: The Lafayette/West Lafayette Tippecanoe Craigslist.

5.      Purdue Surplus

Ever wonder where all those abandoned bikes from campus go? They get shipped off to the Purdue Warehouse & Surplus Store in Lafayette! They specialize in old furniture from Purdue buildings, bikes, computers and monitors, and student lost-and-found stuff.

PROS: The prices are extremely cheap. I’ve gotten an exercise bike for $10 and a coffee table for $5 from the warehouse in the past.

CONS: The Purdue Warehouse & Surplus Store has odd operating hours – Mon-Fri  12PM-4PM. So if you’re only free on weekends, this option is out.  You also might be purchasing something you once owned.


Purdue Warehouse & Surplus Store

3601 Sagamore Parkway North  

Lafayette, IN 47904

6.      Auctions

world's largest car auction

Kruse Auction panel

PROS: Bids on small household items are typically auctioned off by the box-full. Larger items like furniture are bid on individually, usually under $50, as long as it is not an antique.

CONS: Auctions can take up an entire afternoon if the item you want is at the end of the bidding schedule. Many auctions have expensive antiques for sale, making them useless for our purposes.

WHERE: Search online for auctions in the Greater Lafayette area or check the Journal and Courier classifieds section.

7.      Freecycle

Freecycle is an online email community to which you subscribe. Members post free items they have up for grab, from couches to clothes. How it works, you email the member who posted the item to set up a time and place to pick up the item. As a member, you can ask items you need and you will be emailed free offers from other members.

PROS: It’s completely free!

CONS: Freecycle works only through Yahoo! Groups, so if you don’t like to use Yahoo!  E-mail, you can’t use Freecycle. Since everything is free, things go fast. If you don’t have time to keep a watchful eye on the Freecycle emails, you might not move fast enough to get something.

WHERE: The Freecycle Network

It may seem tedious to think through every avenue to save some money on household items. But if you were to save even $100, you’ve paid for at least one textbook.

7 Responses to “Where to Find Cheap or Free Stuff for your Apartment in the Greater Lafayette Area”

  1. Solavei December 4, 2012 at 8:29 AM #

    Wow nice list, very good work on this. Keep it up!


  2. I’m finding it hard to locate a high-quality television cabinet that doesn’t have drawers etc at
    a child’s level. I’d like something high enough to ensure that sticky fingers cannot touch the screen along with a little something decorative on the empty space.


  3. Eugene June 28, 2013 at 7:15 PM #

    That is a very good tip especially to those new to
    the blogosphere. Short but very accurate info… Thanks for sharing this
    one. A must read post!


  4. MyMoneyPurdue June 22, 2016 at 1:03 PM #

    Reblogged this on MyMoneyPurdue.



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