The Best Times to Buy Appliances, Mattresses and Other Home Goods, Plus Expert Money-Saving Tips
Learn how to make the most of your home goods budget.
So, you’ve just moved and are in the market for new furniture and home decor. Or, perhaps, you simply enjoy adding unique items to your home on a regular basis. Whatever the case may be, knowing when and how to shop to make the most of your money is key. We reached out to interior designers and money experts for their tips on the best ways to stretch your dollar when it comes to purchases for your home.
Styled Eclectic Bar Cart with Red, Gold and White Accessories
“Cake stands are a fun way to add height and layering,” says interior designer Jade Joyner, co-owner of Metal + Petal in Athens, Ga. She then tied the red in the cake stand to the bottom level with Asian foo dog statues. For texture, use plants and glassware, like these vintage hobnob glasses. Don’t forget the greenery, either, with houseplants and low-maintenance plants, like the bird’s nest fern on the bottom level and a glass cloche terrarium with a succulent.
Graham Joyner, Metal + Petal
“The best time to buy new home furnishings and equipment is all dependent on the time of year — even appliances have seasons,” said Phoebe Oetting, a junior residential designer at Metal + Petal. Generally speaking, new appliances launch in the winter, while new grills and lawn equipment tend to become available in spring and summer. “As these new items are rolled out, the last season's models generally become dead weight they are looking to get rid of, which sets you up for some savings,” Oetting explained.
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While mattresses, bedding, kitchenware, decor and other home goods aren’t as seasonal with their launches, they, too, get marked down when new models debut. Additionally, WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez says that these items tend to get marked down the most ahead of the holidays and during holiday-centric sales like Way Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Presidents Day, Memorial Day and Labor Day. Beyond that, you can get an idea of when things will go on sale based on the seasonal utility of the good. For example, grills aren’t in high demand in fall and winter, so they tend to be less expensive during those off-season months.
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Of course, when shopping for your home, it’s not always realistic to wait for a holiday. “While it might save you money to wait until the end of summer to buy a new grill, this could mean missing out on months of joyful summer grilling. Similarly, if your mattress needs replacing, ask yourself if saving a few hundred bucks is worth losing weeks or months of good sleep over,” said Brooke Lang, principal designer and owner of Brooke Lang Design. That said, keep reading for more than a dozen money-saving tips when it comes to shopping for home goods all year long.
13 Money-Saving Tips to Consider When Shopping for Home Goods
Shop with a design plan in mind.
Shopping intentionally is key to making the most of your home goods budget. In order to do so, you have to think about your overall design goal. “Intentional buying means every piece of furniture or decor has been thought through and has a purpose,” Lang shared. With that in mind, before going shopping, brainstorm your ideal home aesthetic and only buy items that fit within that style and overall vision.
Neutral Living Room With Pop of Purple
Purple velvet chairs and pillows add texture and color to this neutral transitional living room. Layered rugs lie under a rustic coffee table. A silver floor length mirror reflects natural light, making the room appear larger.
Brooke Lang; Page Photography
Another part of shopping intentionally and with your design plan in mind is taking measurements beforehand. “Dimensions and scale are the number one mistake when buying furniture,” Lang said. “When buying impulsively, you may think a piece will fit in your home, but you may end up returning that item to the store.”
Make a list of what you need.
“As a designer, I’m a fan of proper planning to ensure I get the most out of upcoming sales throughout the year — that means being prepared with a list of items that I plan to purchase on sale, setting up price alerts for items I want and also putting reminders in my calendar for bigger sale seasons, like Prime Day and Black Friday,” Lang shared. “If it’s an item that I’ve been eyeing but don’t need immediately, like a standing mixer or a side table, and I’m confident it will be in stock later in the year, I’ll definitely wait.”
Make a budget — and stick to it.
A great way to save money on home buys is to start with a budget. That way, you’ll have hard parameters of what you can spend so that you don’t go overboard and shell out too much. “Impulse buying happens a lot and it can be fun, but it can also lead to hundreds of dollars spent each month that you hadn't planned for,” said Brooke Lang. “If you want to stop impulse buying and keep from overspending, you should start by making a budget and of course sticking to it.” When making a budget, Gonzales suggests including “a reasonable and affordable amount for 'fun spending' that will satisfy your impulse buying urge.”
If window shopping is too tempting, shop online.
An urge to impulse shop can strike at any time. As such, think about when you feel most compelled to randomly add things to your cart. If you’re more likely to buy things on a whim while shopping in person, perhaps avoid home goods stores while out and about and reserve your budget for online shopping. “It may not be as experiential, but starting your shopping process online will save you from untold impulse buys,” Oetting said. “When shopping online, we are more skeptical, look at details more frequently and have a better grasp on what we actually need.”
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Shopping online also makes finding and using coupons and getting cash back easy. Programs like Rakuten or Honey, both of which have mobile apps as well as browser extensions, aggregate recently used coupon codes and offer various percentages of cash back. Often cash back offerings for specific retail sites may only be 1-5% back, but on large purchases like mattresses, furniture or vacuums, even that can translate to significant savings. And the cashback offerings change frequently and can be as high as 10-20% back, especially during shopping events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so it's worth the extra few seconds to check.
Pro Tip: If you’re shopping for furniture online, Oetting recommends purchasing a small swatch of the fabric before buying anything. “This allows you to get the full picture and know what you will be buying,” she said, noting that many companies offer free samples of their fabrics. By testing the fabric out ahead of time, you could potentially save yourself from a big purchase if it turns out you’re not a fan of it in real life.
Wait a day or two before checking out online.
If you feel more inclined to impulse shop online, Gonzalez suggests exercising patience before actually moving forward with a purchase. “Online shopping has made impulse buying a lot easier,” she admitted. “Every time you find yourself wanting to click on a purchase, just wait a day or two before you go through with it — if you're still interested in the item and you know you can afford it, then you can add it to your cart."
Ask yourself one very important question.
On the fence about whether or not you should buy a new piece of furniture or decor? “The main question you should ask yourself is, ‘Do I need this or do I want this?’” said April Gandy, founder and principal designer of Alluring Designs Chicago. “This usually helps identify if an item will actually bring value or if it’s just nice to have.”
Take stock of what you have.
Another great way to save money on home buys is to take stock of what you already own before going shopping. “Do you own any items that can be repurposed or upcycled, or will some rearranging of a space provide you with the update or refresh you desire?” Lang asked. If your answer is no, then it’s time to come up with an intentional shopping plan.
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Consider reupholstering before selling.
If when you ask yourself Lang’s question you find that you could, in fact, reupholster or repurpose an item, do so — and have fun with it. “Using vintage hand-me-downs and recovering them with a new fabric that is in line with your design can bring new life to old furniture, and be a source of savings,” Oetting said.
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Before immediately heading to West Elm, Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn or another high-end furniture store, remember that you can often find diamonds in the rough at secondhand stores. “When it comes to furniture pieces like dining and coffee tables, dining and accent chairs, stools, and decorative accents, I love sourcing these from vintage furniture sellers, estate sales or secondhand stores because they’re often better quality than some of the more modern mass-produced furniture items you see on the market today,” Lang shared. “However, there are certain items I would never purchase secondhand, no matter how ‘gently used’ they are — this includes mattresses, bedding, and couches.” The reason? Hygiene. Lang’s only exception to this rule is if it’s a beautiful vintage couch or chair that could be re-stuffed and reupholstered.
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Only buy what you love.
In a world where so much furniture and home decor exists, Lang has one very helpful tip: Only buy what you truly love. “In most cases, purchasing items you’re unsure about will result in a return, or worse, wasted money,” she said.
Splurge on the big things — save on everything else.
It’s not necessary to splurge on every single home item you buy. “I always tell clients to splurge on things that matter, and be a little more frugal with things that aren't a big deal,” Gandy said. "Splurging on solid furniture is a good idea so you can have it for a while. Things like decor, rugs, window treatments and wall art can add up very quickly, so take the less is more approach.”
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When shopping for bedding, kitchenware and decor (and even some furniture pieces), stores like Home Goods, Homesense, T.J. Maxx and Marshalls often have trendy mirrors and vibrant wall art, high-quality linens, name brand cookware and pantry organization (hello, OXO) and more, all marked at more approachable prices. Since these stores don’t have set stock, though, designer and HGTV host David Bromstad suggests buying everything you like and returning anything that doesn’t work out in your home thereafter.
Another place to find unique home finds for less? Etsy. “Etsy is a great place to find items at a lower price point that can be customized to create unique pieces,” Gandy said. “One of my go-tos are digital downloads for wall art. I can find images for less than $10, print them at a local pharmacy for around $20 (depending on size), and then buy a nice frame for around $30 (depending on size).”
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Out with the old, in with the new — but not in that order.
A good way to make the most of your home shopping budget? Offset any big purchases you make by getting rid of something that no longer serves you. Just be smart about how you do so. “We never suggest selling old pieces before you have bought your new ones — the last thing you need is to be without a fridge for months waiting for your new one to arrive,” Oetting said. “Instead, purchase the new pieces that will make up your design, then while they are on order and tracking, work on selling some old pieces to make a little money back.”
Get a travel credit card.
Last but not least, if you have a major home renovation coming up, be smart about how you prepare for it financially. “If you and your family are doing a large renovation and need to vacate the house for a week or two, consider getting a travel credit card for some points back on your home purchases, and put those towards a family vacation to enjoy the time away from home,” Gandy suggested. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a great option.
One More Thing
As great as it is to save money where you can, it’s important to remember that not all items are mass-produced — and even if they are, they may only be available in limited quantities. Oetting shared, “A great rule of thumb is that if you love it, get it before it's gone.”