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How to Save Money on a New Mattress

Published October 10, 2019

4 minute read

By Jim Greene

Considering the average person spends about a third of their life in bed, a good mattress is one of the best investments you can make. If you’re like most people, though, you’ve experienced an episode of sticker shock when looking at the price of a quality new mattress. How can some foam and some springs cost so much? A good bed is surprisingly expensive, at least if you pay the showroom price. The good news is there are many ways to lower it.

Understand the Nature of the Mattress Industry

The mattress industry is set up to make it difficult for consumers to perform direct price comparisons. Most mattress stores only keep “exclusive” products in stock. That makes it functionally impossible to travel from store to store to see who offers the best deal on a specific product. However, it’s pretty difficult to keep these types of things under wraps in the internet age. Do a bit of research ahead of time, and you’ll be able to properly compare features and prices.

First, identify the features you’re looking for in terms of size, coil count, firmness, and comfort profile. Then, search up mattresses that meet your requirements. Do a little online digging to get an idea of a price range. That information will put you in the know when you walk into your local mattress store, which is exactly the position you want to be in.

Buy Online

Purchasing your mattress from an online vendor is another excellent money-saving strategy. Physical mattress showrooms have to pay for a lot of frills and extras, like fancy lighting, decorative accessories, and sales staff. Internet-based retailers have far fewer overhead costs, enabling them to pass those savings on to you in the form of a better price. Companies like Endy (Canada only) and Casper, who deliver your mattress in a box to your front door, have exploded in popularity lately.

Haggle

One advantage of shopping in person that can’t be replicated online is the opportunity to haggle. Like new and used cars, mattresses are flexibly priced. Consumers can usually negotiate a little with salespeople. It’s a fact that many people aren’t aware of. As a general rule of thumb, aim to negotiate the actual price down to about half of the retailer’s listed MSRP. Mattresses carry some of the most generous profit margins of any consumer product on the market. Vendors will still earn healthy profits even after giving you a steep “discount.”

Angle for Free Add-Ons

If you’ve hit a wall in your price negotiations, or if the mattress you want is already on sale for the retailer’s best price, you may be able to score yourself some freebies or bargains in other areas. For example, you could ask the salesperson to throw in a free box spring or bed frame in order to close the deal immediately. You might also be able to talk them into free delivery, free bedding, or free pickup and removal of the bed you’re not using anymore. It doesn’t hurt to ask. The worst thing they can say is “no.”

Buy The Mattress, Not The Box Spring

If you’re planning to buy a new bed that’s the same size as your current one, you can also save yourself some cash by buying the mattress by itself and skipping the box spring. Really, box springs are little more than pieces of plywood nailed together in a frame anyway. Your old one is pretty much as functional as the new one, at least if its wood is structurally intact.

The one exception to this tip applies to memory foam mattresses. They actually have specific support requirements in the form of slats that are separated by no more than four inches. If your current box spring doesn’t fit that profile, you’ll need to buy a new one. However, you can always haggle and negotiate on the price of that too.

Don’t Pay Extra for Fancy Cover Materials

The lone source of a mattress’s quality is found on the inside, not the outside. Don’t be fooled by exotic or luxurious cover materials. They don’t actually add much in the way of value to your mattress. They also didn’t contribute much to its manufacturing cost. In most cases, these bells and whistles simply act as justification for higher sale prices.

Armed with that knowledge, you can negotiate the price of your new mattress down or research alternatives. Choose a mattress with similar functionality but less in the way of shallow surface glitz. If you really want to improve the look and feel of your mattress, you can buy a slip cover after the fact for a fraction of what you would pay for the privilege of an overpriced built-in option.

Limit Your Budget When Shopping For Kids

Mattresses for toddlers and children are smaller and thinner. That means they should be significantly less expensive. Many insiders even say you shouldn’t spend more than a couple hundred dollars on a child’s bed. However, don’t skimp on safety needs, especially for your child’s first real bed. Make sure it has security features that make it effectively impossible for your toddler to accidentally roll or fall out. Of course, that’s more about the bed frame itself than the mattress.

Wrapping It Up: Read the Warranty and Sleep Easy

Some mattresses, especially those sourced from questionable vendors, may have had their warranties invalidated. Some don’t actually offer much in the way of consumer protections. That’s you should always read and understand all the terms and conditions attached to the warranty before you buy. It’s also worth noting the retailer’s refund and exchange policies.

If you’re dealing with an online vendor, insist on getting these policies in writing so you have more legal leverage in the event of a dispute. Along similar lines, you should always ask about consumer protections for accidents and errors made during the delivery process, since you shouldn’t be on the hook for mistakes made by a delivery person.

Jim Greene

Contributor

Jim Greene is a freelance writer based in the Toronto, Canada area. He has been writing professionally since 2001 and has an extensive professional background in consumer research, personal finance and economics.

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