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Why You Should Be Careful When Buying a Mattress Online

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Why You Should Be Careful When Buying a Mattress Online

The days of wandering the mattress showroom in desperate hopes of finding a bed that’s at least mildly comfortable (all while a salesperson breathes down your neck) are over. Thanks to the rise of e-commerce, anybody with money to spend can hop online and buy themselves a brand spankin’ new mattress.

There are many upsides to purchasing a mattress online. These include convenience, reduced prices (in many but not all cases), freedom from sales pressure, and the ability to read reviews and comparison shop a huge number of brands and mattress types. You can also choose between direct-to-consumer retailers and online stores that sell mattresses from a variety of manufacturers. Sounds great, right? Well, yes and no. Before you hit “purchase,” you should be aware of several important factors that make online mattress shopping a little more complicated.

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You can’t try the bed.

Easily the biggest downside to online shopping is the fact that you can’t try out the bed before buying it. Given that the right mattress for you will vary depending on your preferred sleep position, health conditions, and personal preferences, buying a mattress without testing it out first requires a big leap of faith. Sleeping partners also have their own mattress preferences, and it can feel a bit like you’re Goldilocks searching for the mythical bed that’s “just right.”

Of course, this is where online reviews can really come in handy. Seek out reviews from people who mention having similar preferences or sleeping styles as you in order to help gauge if the mattress will suit your needs.

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If you don’t like the mattress after purchase, all of your options will cost you time and/or money.

Let’s say you buy a mattress online, assemble it in the bedroom, and sleep on it for a few nights only to discover that it really isn’t comfortable. Then you’re left with a couple options, and neither of them are great. You can:

  1. Purchase a topper for your mattress. While this might make you more comfortable, you’re likely to pay much more money for a mattress topper than for the mattress itself.
  2. Take advantage of a free trial. This requires some foresight, since you’ll need to enroll in the trial before bringing the bed home. Some companies will allow you to test out several mattresses over the course of 100-plus days before making your final decision. This obviously has its benefits, but the downside here is the hassle involved. Don’t underestimate the energy (and money if you hire movers) required to move various mattresses in and out of your bedroom and navigate different return policies.
  3. Return the mattress. The smoothness of this process varies greatly by company. Some companies promise a free pick up and no-fee returns, while others will require you to package the mattress and pay to ship it back to the retailer. Often times if the mattress gets dirty or is damaged during shipping, retailers stick you with the bill. In contrast, several companies offer to pick up the mattress from your home free of charge. That’s why it’s imperative that you have a crystal-clear understanding of a company’s return policy before purchasing a mattress online.

You’re likely to experience less sales assistance.

This is certainly not true for all online retailers, but in some cases buying online means that you won’t benefit from personalized attention. It also means that you won’t have an opportunity to negotiate price, which is a common occurrence in brick and mortar stores. You’re also less likely to benefit from free or low-cost takeaway of your old mattress, meaning you’ll need to figure out how to dispose of it on your own.

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Again, this is where some online sleuthing can really come in handy. Before you purchase a mattress, scope out reviews of the retailer online and monitor their social media pages to see how they respond to consumer questions or complaints. If the retailer doesn’t respond to people’s concerns, that’s a red flag. In contrast, demonstrations of helpfulness can give you confidence that you’re making a safe choice.

None of this is to scare you away from purchasing a mattress online. There are tons of great companies out there that are committed to providing high-quality, affordable mattresses and stellar customer service. However, it’s helpful to be aware of the challenges involved in online mattress shopping and to do your due diligence before you buy.

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Kenny Kline

Entrepreneur

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Last Updated on January 5, 2022

33 Painless Ways to Save Money Now

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33 Painless Ways to Save Money Now

In a difficult economy, most of us are looking for ways to put more money in our pockets, but we don’t want to feel like misers. We don’t want to drastically alter our lifestyles either. We want it fast and we want it easy. Small savings can add up and big savings can feel like winning the lottery, just without all of the taxes.

Some easy ways to save money:

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  1. Online rebate sites. Many online sites offer cash back rebates and online coupons as well. MrRebates and Ebates are two I like, but there are many others.
  2. Sign up for customer rewards. Many of your favorite stores offer customer rewards on products you already buy. Take advantage.
  3. Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs. The extra cost up front is worth the energy savings later on.
  4. Turn off power strips and electronic devices when not in use.
  5. Buy a programmable thermostat. Set it to lower the heat or raise the AC when you’re not home.
  6. Make coffee at home. Those lattes and caramel macchiatos add up to quite a bit of dough over the year.
  7. Switch banks. Shop around for better interest rates, lower fees and better customer perks. Don’t forget to look for free online banking and ease of depositing and withdrawing money.
  8. Clip coupons: Saving a couple dollars here and there can start to add up. As long as you’re going to buy the products anyway, why not save money?
  9. Pack your lunch. Bring your lunch to work with you a few days a week, rather than buy it.
  10. Eat at home. We’re busier than ever, but cooking meals at home is healthier and much cheaper than take-out or going out. Plus, with all of the freezer and pre-made options, it’s almost as fast as drive-thru.
  11. Have leftovers night. Save your leftovers from a few meals and have a “leftover dinner.” It’s a free meal!
  12. Buy store brands: Many generic or store brands are actually just as good as name brands and considerably cheaper.
  13. Ditch bottled water. Drink tap water if it’s good quality, buy a filter if it’s not. Get 
      a reusable water bottle and refill it.
    • Avoid vending machines: The items are usually over-priced.
    • Take in a matinee. Afternoon movie showings are cheaper than evening times.
    • Re-examine your cable bill. Cancel extra cable or satellite channels you don’t watch. Watch the “on demand” movie purchases too.
    • Use online bill pay. Most banks offer free online bill paying. Save on stamps and checks, and avoid late fees by automating bill payment.
    • Buy frequently used items in bulk. You get a lower per item price and eliminate extra trips to the store later on.
    • Fully utilize the library. Borrowing books is much cheaper than buying them, but in addition to books, most local libraries now lend movies and games.
    • Cancel magazine/newspaper subscriptions: Re-evaluate your subscriptions. Cancel those you don’t read and consider reading some of the other publications online.
    • Get rid of your land-line. Do you really need a land-line anymore if everyone in the family has a cell phone? Alternatively, look into using VOIP or getting a cheaper plan.
    • Better fuel efficiency. Check the air pressure in your tires, keep up with proper auto maintenance, and slow down. Driving even 5MPH slower will result in better fuel mileage.
    • Increase your deductibles. Increasing the insurance deductibles on your homeowners and auto insurance policies lowers premiums significantly. Just make sure you choose a deductible that you can afford should an emergency happen.
    • Choose lunch over dinner. If you do want to dine out occasionally, go at lunchtime rather than dinnertime. Lunch prices are usually cheaper.
    • Buy used:  Whether it’s something small like a vintage dress or a video game or something big like a car or furniture, consider buying it used. You can often get “nearly new” for a fraction of the cost.
    • Stick to the list. Make a list before you go shopping and don’t buy anything that’s not on the list unless it’s a once in a lifetime, killer deal.
    • Tame the impulse. Use a self-enforced waiting period whenever you’re tempted to make an unplanned purchase. Wait for a week and see if you still want the item.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask. Ask to have fees waived, ask for a discount, ask for a lower interest rate on your credit card.
    • Repair rather than replace. You can find directions on how to fix almost anything on the internet. Do your homework, and then bring out your inner handyman.
    • Trade with your neighbors. Borrow tools or equipment that you use infrequently and swap things like babysitting with your neighbors.
    • Swap online. Use sites like PaperBack Swap to trade books, music, and movies with others online. Also, look for local community sites like Freecycle where people give away items they no longer need.
    • Cut back on the meat. Try eating a one or two meatless meals every week or cut back on the meat portions. Meat is usually the most expensive part of the meal.
    • Comparison shop: Get in the habit of checking prices before you buy. See if you can get a better price at another store or look online.

    Remember that saving money is not about being cheap or stingy; it’s about putting money into your bank account rather than giving it to someone else. There are many ways to save money, some you’ve never thought of, and some that won’t appeal or apply to you. Just pick a few of the ideas that sound doable and watch the savings add up. Save big, save small, but save wherever you can.

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    Featured photo credit: Damir Spanic via unsplash.com

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