Posted September 12, 2012 by Jen in Finance

Shopping Tips: We bought a couch!

We bought a couch! I know, not the most news-worthy statement in most households, but significant for us because we tend to over-analyze and research larger purchases to death.

We decided, a few months ago, to repurpose our office. In the age of laptops and tablets, there is no longer a need for our bulky desk and desktop. We never used this office anyway, which was a shame given it is the room with the best natural light in the entire house.  So, we decided to turn it into a lounge room where we could all gather (without television) to play, read or nap in the sun.

First things first: we needed a couch. This involved flipping through every glossy flyer left on our porch, perusing online flyers and speaking to many salespersons in many different stores about various models, all while trying to get the inside scoop on upcoming sales. After approximately four weeks of shopping, we found the one for us! We chose a dark brown, microfiber couch with built-in recliners. I think it will be perfect for its intended purpose. I can already feel the warmth of the sun on my skin and hear the rustle of the weekend newspaper (note: this daydream does not include the incessant interruptions from little children).

Tips when couch shopping

  1. Consider your needs: Take the time to identify exactly the purpose of the couch. Will it mainly be used as decoration (pretty and magazine-worthy but barely sat on) or will it become the mainstay of all family members, taking a beating of spills, crumbs and perhaps the occasional vomit?
  2. Choose wisely: Once you have identified your needs, choose a piece of furniture that suits. Do you have young children? Or pets? If so, think about fabric, colour, etc to ensure that it can withstand the wear and tear. We chose a microfiber couch because it is easily washable but cozier than leather. Also, opt for one with a hardwood frame (not softwood) and high-density foam so that you are not left sinking into the springs six months later.
  3. Shop around: No need to harp on about the importance of shopping around so I will simply remind you. You do not know what is out there if you do not go looking for it. No need to spend every spare moment running from store to store. Start by whittling down your list of finalists online to avoid wasting time physically going into the store. Gather your top five and go into stores for a test drive, so to speak.
  4. Negotiate: Not all stores accept bargaining nowadays but most will price match so be sure to do your homework and bring proof. That is, carry the flyers around with you and show the stores what their competition is offering. More often than not, they will match competitors’ prices when the product is comparable.
  5. Forget the free tv: The biggest attraction for customers who are furniture shopping is often the promise of a free tv when a certain amount of money is spent in store. But NOTHING IS FREE! The price of that tv is built into the price of the couch (or whatever else you are buying). The ONLY time this is advantageous is if you were already planning to buy a tv. The reason being that the price of the tv is often reduced before being built into the cost of the couch. Meaning that you are getting a deal on the tv – but only if you were already planning to buy it.

Happy shopping!