As the cost of living continues to rise in France, many people are looking at ways to serrer la ceinture, or tighten their belts, and spend less.
One potential way to help save money is through shopping at ‘bargain’ stores, which you can use not only for stocking up on household basics but to buy a whole range of items including fresh food, personal hygiene products, and even clothes.
Alternatively, visits to charity shops, surfing online sites where people donate old items, and even renting products – instead of buying them – are all great ways of sourcing non-perishable items such as furniture.
Below we list some of the shops and methods you can use to help you save money this year.
Noz is a chain with over 300 shops that buys and resells stock at a discount price.
The items they buy are often last season, end of sale, or from companies that have gone into liquidation.
Recently, Noz bought more than 130,000 items from liquidated UK Brand Made.com to sell at a knockdown price in France.
Other large clearance stores (déstockage in French) can be found across the country, often selling imperfect or out of season furniture for up to 50% off.
Hema is a Dutch discount department store found across France that sells a variety of items but is best known for its cheap household products.
Prices in Hema are rounded, so for example something will cost €3 instead of €2.99, helping give you a more straightforward bill when you reach the checkout.
Hema also rotate their stock heavily with seasonal items, and sections of the store are dedicated to products related the closest big holiday (currently they are selling delicious tiny chocolate eggs for Easter with a wide range of different flavours)
Online donation and community sale sites
There are a number of websites where people donate or sell their unused items instead of throwing them away, sometimes for free.
People often donate old electronics, kitchen appliances, and furniture, alongside items like clothing.
These websites promote the idea of a ‘circular economy’, where people try to waste as little as possible.
Online flea market sites
If you’re lucky, you might live in an area where there are still collection days for heavy items (called Collecte Encombrants) and can go searching for items on the street the evening before collection day.
You should be able to find collection timetables on the local mairie website.
For those of us who do not have strong friends to help us, nor enjoy waking up early on Sunday mornings to go to real puces (flea markets), there are websites dedicated to selling items you would commonly find at these places online.
It is even possible to find furniture and houseware items on Emmaüs, if you do not live close to one of their charity shops.
Renting items instead of buying them
If you are looking for something short-term, it is even possible to rent items and furniture (and even the entire contents of a room) for a select period of time, which can come in handy if you are only going to spend a few months in a location.
Delivery and installation of the furniture may even be included, leaving you with nothing to do except enjoy relaxing on your rented furniture.