Perusing the selections at a department store recently, I was surprised at just how expensive towels—excuse me, "bath sheets," as the longer, more plush ones are known—were. Even solid-colored options cost upwards of $30! Needless to say, spending over $200 just to stock two bathrooms in my home wasn't an option.
Instead, if you're in the market for new towels, consider these tips to save money while still getting quality towels you'll use for years to come.
1. Buy during a "white sale"
Typically, retailers (brick-and-mortar and online) discount bed linens, pillows, and towels during what they label as a "white sale." Most often, these happen during January (for a list of other "when to buy" items, read this). To save the most, follow the KCL practice of pairing a sale like this with a store coupon. For instance, use Bed Bath & Beyond's readily available 20-percent-off coupons or $5 off a $15 purchase (available through email sign-up here.) Take your husband and teenager to the store, let each use a coupon per item purchased, and you'll have a linen closet full of new towels in no time!
2. Don't buy a matching set
Admittedly, matching sets that include a bath towel, hand towel, and washcloth—especially with a monogrammed design or bit of lace—can be gorgeous. But sets come at a high cost! Instead, buy a solid color bath towel, and then buy "accessorizing" towels. I wanted the look of a Pottery Barn Kids style in my young son's bathroom, but instead of buying a total match, I purchased simple navy blue towels on sale at JCPenney and splurged on the high-quality striped Pottery Barn hand towels and wash cloths. The contrast of a solid color with a pattern actually looks very chic—like they belonged together in the first place!
3. Shop closeout stores
Fun, embellished hand towels and wash cloths to pair with basic colored bath towels can readily be found at closeout stores like Marshalls, Ross and T.J. Maxx. Don't worry about being too matchy-matchy. Just look for colors in the same family (for example, all pastels, all primary colors, or all with a floral embellishment). Know when new merchandise hits your closeout store to score the best quality (for other closeout store shopping tips, read this). And if you do notice something less than perfect about the towels (like a loose string or a dirt stain), ask the manager for a discount. Some stores—yes, even closeout stores—will offer a 10 percent courtesy discount for merchandise with a defect.
My favorite closeout store for home goods is Tuesday Morning. Their selections of eclectic bath items is like no other. Towels, like these 100 percent cotton bath sheets discounted to only $9.99, are a steal. Need more? How about this three-piece hotel-inspired set for $16.97? Check weekly in-store as well for other high-end close-out deals.
4. Head to the craft store
Jo Ann's isn't just a place for crafts. This store has a rotating selection of bath towels online and in store. Two years ago, my sister bought two large Royal Velvet bath sheets for $7.99 each, and they still look new. Check out these cute summer patterns on hand towels marked down from $9.99 to $2.99. And with Jo Ann's 40-percent-off coupon, you can save even more.
5. Look for Peruvian cotton
Egyptian cotton is king, and it's the industry standard for soft, luxurious towels. But did you know that Peruvian cotton is the second best in global quality? In fact, with towels made of 100 percent Peruvian pima cotton, you'll swear you've got something even higher-end. So in addition to checking cost, get used to checking the label as well to verify quality and know know what you're getting.
6. Consider a beach towel
For a kid's bathroom, using a beach towel in a brightly-colored pattern can add a fun pop to an otherwise bland area. But don't dismiss the use of beach towels in adult bathrooms. Not only are beach towels larger than standard towels, but they are often made to be more durable. And you don't have to be stuck drying off with a shark or a surfboard motif. Last week, Lands’ End had a stately Damask-patterned beach towel available in their NQP department for only $14; this week, they have lots of clearance styles for $24.99, like this Suzani-patterned towel I have my eye on (regularly $34!). For more information about the NQP department and other Lands’ End savings strategies, read this.
7. Follow the instructions
Have you ever read the care instructions of the towels you currently own? You should! For most 100 percent cotton towels, you should wash them in warm water (to really eliminate body oils and synthetic liquids that find their way onto towels like hairspray), tumble dry on low (too hot can weaken the threads), and use minimal fabric softener (too much can over-saturate the towels and, over time, cause them to be less fluffy). Line drying them can make them scratchy, but if you love to line-dry, pop the towels in the dryer for 10 minutes on low with half a dryer sheet for a quick softening.
Soft, pretty towels don't have to cost more than your weekly grocery bill. Use these tips, and you'll enjoy reasonably-priced, high-quality bath towels for years to come.