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Why You Should Be Careful When Buying a Mattress Online

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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Published on September 17, 2018

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

2. When you want something big, wait

Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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So, you get the itch.

You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

Here’s where you have to take a step back.

Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

3. Live smaller than you can afford

You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

4. Practice smart grocery shopping

Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

Create a grocery budget

Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

Make a list… and never deviate

Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

Eat before going grocery shopping

It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

5. Cancel your gym membership

Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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