I’ve wanted a new couch for at least the last decade. The problem is, I paid so much for my old (i.e. current) couch, that I’m hesitant to do it again!
And I really do like it…or at least I did, before it got so old, stained and saggy.
As my hunt for a great value couch continues, here are some tips I've picked up along the way for how to save on furniture!
1. Factor in ALL costs before deciding you can afford it
If you have a budget of, say, $500, the last thing you want to discover is that you owe an extra $200 for shipping!
What to calculate before buying:
- Cost of the furniture.
- Warranty cost (if desired).
- Any treatments you want (stain-proofing, weatherizing, etc.).
- Shipping charge.
- Delivery charge.
Bonus tip: Any retailer offering free shipping and delivery deserves a second look—this feature alone can save you $100-$200 or more!
2. Shop online and use price alerter tools
Not only will online retailers often be able to offer lower prices (on account of having lower overhead) but you can also use price alerters to nab the lowest price.
If you feel you can't buy furniture without seeing it in person first, check out the retailer's return policy and/or find the piece in a brick-and-mortar store and go there to see it.
Try these 3 great price alerter tools:
- PricePinx: An online tool that monitors across hundreds of retailers to alert you.
- Price Grabber: Online and mobile tools to monitor and alert you 24/7.
- Pinterest Price Alert: This great KCL post teaches you how it works.
3. Head for the thrift stores
I will be honest. About half the furniture I've had (and loved) over my four decades has come to me secondhand. I've made great finds in locations as diverse as local boutique charity stores, Goodwill, Salvation Army, estate/garage sales and Craigslist.
A major advantage here is you don't pay the overhead you would when you buy furniture new in a brick-and-mortar store. A major disadvantage is that, in most cases, you do need to get the piece home yourself (some thrift stores now offer shipping service though, so ask before you assume!).
Note: If you are seeking a "new to you" piece, it can be worth it to put the word out to family and friends. I can't count how many times I've casually mentioned to a friend that I'm looking for a new "this or that," only to hear them say, "Oh I wish I would have known—I just donated one of those last week!"
4. Shop during certain times of year
Here, I don't just mean Black Friday or Memorial Day weekend sales. Traditionally, there are certain months of each year when prices are just lower on most furniture items.
- December 26 through January 31: Year-end sales to make way for new pieces.
- May 1 through August 31: Summer closeout sales to make way for new pieces.
5. Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate
Furniture experts (and my mom) swear by the simple question, "Is this the very best price I can get?" and often, this innocent-sounding question will yield happy news—and an extra discount!
Also, if you can find a dent, nick or scratch on the piece you like, pointing it out can often lead to a price drop.
Here are other negotiating tips to bring with you:
- Couches/chairs: Opt out of pricey cushion materials and treatments.
- Brand names: Don't be swayed by name alone—in most cases, the core materials remain the same and you pay for the name.
- Floor samples: Ask if the floor sample is for sale and what the discount would be!
- Visit the clearance area: Scratched, dented and nicked pieces are often placed in a special area and marked down. With the help of a handy friend, you can make them as good as new after you get them home!
- Free extras: If you can't get the price down, ask about other freebies and perks (examples: free delivery, an interest-free payment period or bundled savings if you buy another item).
6. Shop outside for inside
While it doesn't typically work in the reverse, right now I have a wicker couch with weather-treated cushions in my living room that serves as my second "guest couch." It matches my old saggy couch in color, has much firmer yet still comfy cushions, and I never have to worry if a visitor spills something on the white cushions (they wipe right off!). Best of all, it was a fraction of the price of my other couch.
Today's patio furniture is so sophisticated often the only way anyone will know it was supposed to go outdoors is if you tell them (and because it’s treated and stain/weather-resistant, it’s especially great for kids' rooms, play areas and pet areas).
7. In a word: IKEA
I just can't close out a post about furniture savings without mentioning that bastion of fashionable, functional furniture—IKEA.
IKEA is wonderful. IKEA has a play area to park your kids while you shop with sanity. IKEA has fabulous rewards and perks for frequent shoppers. IKEA has cheap furniture that looks great. IKEA has everything—from whole room sets to art and candles—so you can do all your shopping in one place.