Who Knew Buying a Mattress Could be So Much Fun?

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buying a mattress

The following is a guest post from my lovely wife, Mrs. Frugal Rules. Let her know what you think about our mattress buying experience in the comments!

When you’re married to Mr. Frugal Rules, everything, including your bed, is considered along the continuum of “want” versus “necessity.” I had felt for awhile that it was time for us to consider buying a mattress but it took a coil unfurling and hitting my husband in the back for him to agree with me. After all our research was done, and the time came for us to start buying a mattress, I was surprised at how entertaining and enjoyable the whole experience was. Hopefully, by the end of this post, you’ll agree with me.

Why Buying a Mattress Couldn’t Wait

Mr. Frugal Rules and I have slept on the same mattress for the duration of our marriage, which at the time we purchased our new one numbered just over 12 years. The mattress was about 15 years old total by the time we traded it in as I had used it for a few years before we were married. I think we flipped it about four times in the decade and a half that we owned it. It had served us well but it was about two-thirds its original width, had lumpy parts and popping coils and was starting to cause me to wake up with numbness in my arms and hips (I’m a side sleeper). Add to that uncomfortableness the fact that Mr. Frugal Rules snores like a freight train (an aspect of reality he will firmly deny) Editor’s note: Of course I do. 😉  and I knew it was time for us to be buying a mattress. Between the numb limbs, snoring and nightly wakings from one of our three little ones, I was in sore need of a sound night’s sleep and I thought buying a mattress might help.

Sweetening the Deal with Shareholders’ Discounts and Credit Card Points

I am immensely thankful for the thoroughness with which Mr. Frugal Rules approaches life. While it stands in stark contrast to the whirling dervish way I live mine, he definitely helped us get a better mattress at a better price than I would have on my own. The first thing he did when I finally got him on board with the idea of buying a mattress was to research mattress brands, mattress discounters and local furniture stores. Consumer Reports was cracked open, the internet was scoured and the best time for buying a mattress was considered. There’s not much that gets Mr. Frugal Rules more excited than saving good money on a major purchase and what with talk of $175,000 mattresses floating about, he was eager not only to avoid being hoodwinked, but also to get a good deal on a solid mattress. I still remember the morning over breakfast when my husband realized he could save more money and earn credit card reward points by buying a mattress during the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting; the words spilled out of his mouth before his cereal had emptied it and I ended up with cheerio dust and milk droplets on my face and over my toast. “We can get an awesome deal buying a mattress and fund our trip to Vegas all at the same time!” he beamed. “That’s great,” I said. “And as a fringe benefit, we may actually sleep better, too.”

Four weeks later, we walked into Nebraska Furniture Mart with our budget in mind and Consumer Reports magazine in hand. It was absolute pandemonium in the furniture store. Shoppers from as far away as Mississippi crowded the aisles looking for everything from chandeliers to sectional couches to tow home. The salesmen were sweaty and the mattress area was packed. The first thought I had was “Why in the world didn’t I bring my own pillow, or at least a hand towel?” As I pushed thoughts of lice and bed bugs out of my mind, ‘Rob’ walked up. The first thing I noticed about Rob was his greasy jet black hair. The breath mint on his tongue and pack of gum in his pocket couldn’t quite cover the scent of sweaty, stale cigarette smoke pouring out of him. “What can I do for y’all?” he smacked between chews. “We’re buying a mattress,” I said. He led us to a $3,700 monstrosity and directed us to lay down. After examining it for gold leaf and not finding any, I politely informed him that I wasn’t going to lay down on that.

The Art of Selling a Mattress

I whipped out my Consumer Reports magazine and showed him the model I was looking for. “Oh,” he said “you’ve got the Consumer Report with you.” He led us over to another selection of mattresses. “These are what you want,” Rob said. “I’m going to go look for another associate to help you.” Figuring our commission wasn’t going to be worth Rob’s time, Mr. Frugal Rules and I started perusing the mattresses that were in our price range. Just as we were about to lay down on one, ‘Pete’ approached. “Hi, folks. If you’re thinking about buying a mattress, you’re not going to be happy with that one. I’ve got one that costs less but is a better value right over here.” As we walked with Pete back toward the showroom floor and brighter lights, he explained mattress technology to us and asked lots of questions about what type of mattress we were looking for. “Now, here comes the hardest part,” Pete said. “If you can agree on this, I can get you into a mattress you’re going to love.” He directed us to lay down on a mattress that was firm on one side and soft on the other. He told us to lay there for three minutes and then switch sides and lay there for a few more. He backed away and yet remained in sight, which I was grateful for. We agreed that we both liked the firmer side better. He then led us to three or four mattresses which were in our price range, once the shareholder discount was factored into the equation.

We learned a lot from Pete and never felt pressured. As we were narrowing down our decision between our top two choices, I heard someone call my name from a few beds over. Some friends of ours had the same idea we did and were also bed shopping that day, trying to take advantage of the awesome discounts. After a pow wow, a snack break and lots more laying down, we finally picked our mattress. We even had enough money left over to get our daughter a new mattress as well. We headed home happy. I was pleased to have a new bed. Mr. Frugal Rules was elated to have saved 50% and earned a night’s stay at a hotel in Vegas to boot. It’s been a few months now since we went through the whole experience of buying a mattress together and every time I sit down on our bed, I smile. I sleep better too.


When did you take advantage of a great discount to get something you needed for your home? Do you have a mattress buying experience to share?


Photo courtesy of: Matt Chan

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I'm the founder of Frugal Rules, a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. I'm passionate about helping people learn from my mistakes so that they can enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. I'm also a freelance writer, and regularly contribute to GoBankingRates, Investopedia, Lending Tree and more.


  • I have a much smaller example of when I got a big discount on something I needed for a home: a wardrobe to store our extra clothes. It was originally like $250 then went down to $80 – it was definitely a great deal!

  • When I was shopping for a mattress a few years ago, I went into the mattress store and used their computer analyzer to tell me what mattress I should be looking for. Conveniently, it pointed me right to the $3,000 mattress. I couldn’t believe mattresses cost so much! I ended up going to another store where they were having a “friends and family” sale along with 0% financing for 18 months. I found a much lower priced mattress that I liked, got the discount, and took the 0% for 18 months.

    • Nicole says:

      Ha, ha. That’s funny. Thanks for sharing Jon. I am not surprised that it pointed you towards a high-priced mattress. How convenient for them 🙂 Your experience shows that shopping around is worth the time and effort because it can equate to smart savings.

  • When we bought our last mattress 10+ years ago, we were financial idiots and went straight for comfort, regardless of price and made no effort to make a deal. But the $1500 bucks was still totally worth it. We’re only now slightly less happy with our mattress. So glad you guys found something you loved and saved a bunch of cash too!

    • Nicole says:

      If you are still happy with your mattress 10 years later, I’d say you made the right choice. Thanks for making me laugh too with your comment 🙂

  • Matt Becker says:

    I don’t have a great mattress-buying story, but I’m going through a similar research process for a new car. Haven’t found “the deal” yet, but I’ve learned a lot about how and where to look. It definitely helps to do your research first.

    • Nicole says:

      So true. You can totally overpay for a new car. On the flip side, the research will be worth it and I think you’ll end up saving yourself a few thousand dollars. John wrote on here about how we saved a few thousand dollars on our last car purchase by shopping around, using the online/email quote system that our local dealers offer and by getting Consumer Reports’ report on the car we were interested in purchasing. It gave us so much leverage when we walked into the negotiating room. Also, remember when to go – end of month, or better yet, end of quarter or end of sales year is when car salesmen are most motivated to move inventory off their lots.

  • We got a great deal on our tv by buying the store demo, although I might not want to do that with a mattress! Having a plan always saves money, even if it means a few more nights of sleeping on lumps. It always amazes me how when people make up their minds, they HAVE to have it right now and spend way too much. We see that with people buying glasses all the time. Theirs were broken for 6 months. But they pay whatever to have them today.

    • Nicole says:

      So true, Kim. It’s always better to walk away, take a break and come back when your emotions have settled about whatever item it is that you’re considering buying. I’d totally buy the floor model too on a TV. They make those things well enough that the risk seems pretty low compared to the savings you can net.

  • My shopping-for-a-new-mattress tip: get a babysitter and leave the kids at home. It’s about impossible to focus and make an informed decision while simultaneously trying to keep the kids from turning the mattress store into their own private jungle gym. 🙂

    • Nicole says:

      All I can say is… AMEN! That is totally what we did and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone else. It was SO chaotic there that day that I can’t imagine having been able to maintain a shred of focus if we’d had our brood with us. 🙂

  • anna says:

    We bought a mattress a couple of months ago, but I mostly just remember it as him steering me clear of the thousand dollar ones (which were oh so comfy, but definitely not something I would actually consider). I think we ended up getting one on sale, which I think was the only exciting part. 🙂

    • Nicole says:

      Hopefully the mattress is giving you a good night’s sleep 🙂 I think if we had gone on an ordinary day and not the Berkshire Hathaway convention weekend, our experience wouldn’t have been all that exciting either.

  • Wow, 50% off. That’s great! Our mattress is about 5 years old. It’s a memory foam mattress and it works pretty well for us. I’ll have to shop for a bed for our kid soon though. Not sure what I would get him yet.

    • Nicole says:

      Take this for what it’s worth but the salespeople told us that if you get a good firm mattress for a child with waterproof protection on the mattress itself, it’s one they’ll be happy using until they’re out of high school 🙂

  • Kendal says:

    Sounds like an awesome deal! My husband slept on the floor for a couple years before we met. He finally broke down and bought a mattress, spending more than he intended but ending up happy with his purchase. 10 years later, we’re still sleeping on it and have no complaints!

    • Nicole says:

      Wow! I can’t imagine sleeping on the floor for a few years! I think my hips would be in agony. Glad you are still happy with your bed 10 years later.

  • LOL! I can absolutely see John being more excited about the prospect of saving money than getting a new mattress. 🙂 I love how “Rob” decided he wasn’t going to earn enough commission from you and actually sent a far better salesperson (and way more deserving off the commission) to you. He is the kind of salesperson that makes people not want to shop! Glad you’re enjoying a new mattress and hopefully John is snoring less too!

    • Nicole says:

      I’m glad the post made you laugh Shannon 🙂 Yes, I too am thankful that we ended up with “Pete” 🙂 “Rob” looked, smelled and acted like the stereotypical used car salesman. I wish I could say the new mattress quieted John’s snoring but sadly (for me anyways) it continues 🙂 However, he did just help his little brother move to Kansas and got to share a hotel room with him for a few nights. Apparently he got a little taste of my nightly experience as his brother snores worse than he does!

  • LIke Matt I don’t have a great mattress buying story either, but pretty much my entire apt (sans mattress and a few other items) was donated. In fact I just got a great condition 42″ flat screen TV for free because other people want to upgrade apparently more than I do…and often times they just give things away. OK at some point I need to update some old/falling apart furniture…just now now.

    • Nicole says:

      Wow Tanya, that’s awesome! I say as long as it’s not family that’s giving you their old stuff (we’ve had a bad experience with that) that’s great that you can literally turn “someone else’s trash” into your “treasure.” For now though, you’re getting to enjoy all that savings by contenting yourself with what you have, which hopefully gives you more money to spend on what you want/need.

  • We bought a new mattress a few years ago because I thought that our old one was causing me to have backaches. I was right and our new mattress is soooooooooo comfortable. It was definitely worth the money.

    • Nicole says:

      That’s great Holly! I’m glad your back is better. Just goes to show that a good mattress (or at least the right mattress for you) can make a difference!

  • Our mattress buying experience have be horrible to say the least. Not that we can never find deals but my wife and i just completely disagree on the type of mattress we should get. She likes the soft pillow tops but because of a rear end car collision I need firm. Pete seems like my kind of guy!

    • Nicole says:

      Yes, I wish you could benefit from his advice and knowledge! He said the number one hardest factor when he helps couples buy a bed is finding a mattress firmness that they can agree on. I know they cost a ton but maybe you guys would be happy with a Sleep Number bed. My parents got one because they are like you and your wife – my mom likes very soft and my Dad could just as well sleep on their stone floor. They have their mattress set on each side to their specifications and they really like it.

  • Catherine says:

    A good mattress is worth the money!!! I don’t have a story but when we were shopping for a new one after ours was ruined in a flood the salesman who approached us (young guy in his 20’s) had a look that could only be described as mortifying on his face. Apparently the couple we had just passed in the aisle we’re ”practicing positions” on the floor models. Yeah.

    • Nicole says:

      Oh that’s just wrong. And sick. And did I mention wrong? Man, save that for your bedroom. Seriously, people. Uggh. I wonder how often mattress salesmen see that…..

  • I get really bent out of shape when I’m feeling “herded” to the expensive options when I’ve shared my budget with sales people. I’m more likely to walk out and buy something somewhere else on principle alone (not that I’m super budget winner person, I just don’t like to be pushed). It has served well in the past because they tend to be a lot more cooperative when they sense you’re going to bail.

  • Nicole says:

    I have done that too and you’re right, it works!

  • Greg @ says:

    I have to say, I don’t mess around with mattresses. My wife and I got a king bed after living together for only a few months. I am way too used to the extra space to be in less. We did our research online and actually bought that way. I know it is risky without actually testing them out, but we really like our mattress.

    • Nicole says:

      That’s good feedback, Greg. Honestly, I wouldn’t have thought about buying a mattress online. Not just not being able to test it out but also because of the shipping. It’s good to hear that it worked for you!

  • I bought a queen sized mattress when I moved into my house. Went to multiple stores and tried out a bunch of different brands. Finally found a pillow top one that I like and bought it. I definitely got suckered though into thinking I got a “good deal”. They had it for a few hundred dollars off their normal price, but their normal price was just extremely high lol. I found the same one a month or so later for much cheaper then where I got mine, doh!

  • pauline says:

    I hate pushy salesmen. If they were able to listen to what costumers want like Pete they’d probably sell more any way. Wishing you many nights of blissful sleep! Oh no, that’s impossible until your kids turn 18 haha…

  • Nicole says:

    Good for you, Daisy! I love getting good deals too. If I lived farther north, I’d have to consider driving across the border into Canada on Boxing Day 🙂

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