When students are moving out, they often throw pieces of furniture to the curb, giving thrifty shoppers the opportunity to snag used furniture for free. Credit: Sheridan Hendrix | Oller Special Projects Reporter

All we needed was a couch for our office. Nothing flashy, nothing fancy. Just a place to sit and study and take the occasional nap. My well-intentioned roommate found what seemed like a steal –– a practically new couch for only $30!

Upon her return with our new couch, the rest of my roommates and I were instantly disappointed by its sight. Tattered and worn, the couch smelled of cat pee and cigarettes.

Three full bottles of Febreeze couldn’t diminish the stench. After debating for weeks about what to do with the cat couch, we eventually decided to toss it and begin our next search.

Furniture is expensive, especially when on most days you can afford only Ramen noodles. To help take some burden off your budget, here are some tips on how to furnish your new crib.

Take advantage of social media

Facebook isn’t just for sharing cat videos and pictures of last weekend anymore. Last October, the social-media giant launched Facebook Marketplace. The platform has been described as “a friendlier Craigslist” and lets users browse for items by category, price and distance. There’s even an option to search only for items in your area that are listed as free.

Before blowing your whole budget on that seemingly awesome TV, a few notes of caution.

One, make sure you check which filters you have selected before making an offer on something. It’s a real bummer when you find a great deal and realize it’s a two-hour drive away.

Two, read up on all of the details the seller lists with the item. Does it come from a nonsmoking home? Pet-free? Double-checked for bedbugs? Do you have to pick it up or will they deliver it to you?

Don’t get stuck with a cat couch.

There are also a number of apps like OfferUp and LetGo that you can find deals on.

Curb alert

People throw out the weirdest things. If you’ve ever driven through the alleys around campus the week before students start moving into their new apartments, you know what I mean.

Lamps, bulletin boards, bookshelves, dressers, rugs all stacked by the dumpsters. The possibilities are endless.

There is no shame in picking up something someone left on the curb. I snagged the coolest antique mirror that someone was getting rid of and it still hangs on my wall today.

Be wary: not everything should be taken into your home. You have to take into account why someone might have tossed that sofa. My rule of thumb is don’t take anything made of cloth –– like a couch or mattress –– and only take things from neighborhoods you feel safe in.

Happy hunting, campers. Go forth and furnish your homes.

Visit the thrift store

They aren’t just a hot spot for ugly Christmas sweaters. Thrift stores are a treasure trove of things for your home.

From bed frames and coffee tables to waffle makers and silverware, almost anything you could need, the thrift store has it at super discounted prices.

Last year, my roommates and I started losing all of our spoons. Don’t ask me how, but it was a problem. A quick trip to the thrift store and we had 20 new spoons that only set us back $5.