Compilation of Frugal Mattress Shopping Tips + Our New Better-Than-Heavenly Bed

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First, I just want to say thanks for all the great and helpful comments on my post on trying to find a new mattress. I read every single comment, used many of them, and have purchased a new mattress! But before going into that I wanted to do a quick summary of all the tips.

Don’t go cheap. But don’t overpay, either.
Most readers, my friends, and even our parents told us not to go cheap on a mattress. People say you spend a third of your life on this thing. I agree that you shouldn’t buy solely based on price. But as you’ll see below, buying a mattress is intentionally confusing for the consumer, and the price on the exact same quality mattress can vary literally by a thousand dollars! So I respectfully disagree with “you get what you pay for”. Being frugal isn’t the same as being cheap! It’s shopping smart.

Go out to some stores and try them out.
Another good piece of advice that I got was to go out to the stores and try them all out. As reader and former mattress salesman Tim F suggests, you should wear some comfortable clothes (no skirts for women!) and spend at least 5 minutes laying on each bed exactly as you would normally sleep. You’re dropping a grand on something that’s supposed to last 10 years, so take your time and don’t let anyone rush you.

The exact same mattress can have 50 different names…
Chesterfield? Summerbrooke? Belmont? While looking at traditional coil mattresses, every single store had a different British name for what looked like the exact same bed. This is on purpose. From MattressHotline:

Why does each retailer have a different name for the same product?
This gives each retailer the opportunity to set their own unique price points and also give the perception of exclusivity.

Translation: We have huge profit margins, and we don’t want to enable you to easily comparison shop.

Check out this huge list of equivalent names just for the Simmons brand alone. I mean, I’ve heard of rebadging products, but a separate name for every store? Some brands attempt to justify this by using slightly different fabrics or designs that cover the identical mattresses. If you can figure out the name game, they also have comfort and durability guides that may be useful. (Thanks to reader John Tarnok.)

As for memory foam beds, I’m sure it’s equally hard to compare across brands. A salesperson said that Tempurpedic has a patent on their specific type of foam, so no other brand would be able to exactly offer the same product. My feeling is that as time goes by the copycats will catch up soon enough.

…so everyone can offer low-price guarantees.
You may have noticed that every single mattress store guarantees the lowest price. These names are why!! It gives them complete discretion. If they are willing to match your price, then they’ll give you an “equivalent” mattress (be careful that it is indeed equivalent). If they aren’t willing to go that low, they can simply say that it’s not the same mattress.

Our Experience – Trying to create our own Heavenly Bed

Like many people, we stayed at a Westin hotel (thanks to the Starwood American Express card) and we really liked their Heavenly Bed. In fact, you can buy the mattress and linens directly from them or also at Nordstrom’s. A queen mattress set with no linens is $1450 (including shipping). Recently there was even a 40% off coupon which someone was nice enough to e-mail me, but it’s now expired. So we had to create our own!

After some research, I found that it’s not that hard to do so. The Heavenly Bed is a Simmons Beautyrest mattress. The Beautyrest line has three tiers – from lowest to highest: Classic, WorldClass, and Exceptionale. (Some places replace the Exceptionale with Beautyrest Black.) These are clearly labeled at the foot of each mattress regardless of funky name, so it’s easy to see what tier you are in. From what I have gathered, the Heavenly Bed is somewhere in between the Classic and WorldClass tier, and is what is termed a “Super Pillowtop”, basically a thick pillowtop.

At the retail stores, the “sale” price for a WorldClass queen set was $2,000. After some brief haggling they went down to about $1,500 if we agreed to a generic box spring. Walmart has a Simmons WorldClass Pillowtop (exact details unknown) for $1,250. But then I discovered the never-advertised Simmons Outlet which sells “discontinued models and overstock items directly to the public.” If you go on the website, you can even find an additional 10% off coupon. Downsides include having limited locations and all sales are final, although you still get the 10-year warranty.

Luckily, there was an outlet only 10 minutes from my house. There is no fancy showroom since its essentially a warehouse, so you should arrive with a specific bed in mind. The first time I went there, they didn’t have any Simmons pillowtops left at all. They said they pretty much only get a few every week, and they sell like hotcakes. But I kept calling and found a Simmons WorldClass Super Pillowtop Latex mattress with matching Triton foundation for $700. (Simmons Classic version was $500.) After 10% off and $50 for shipping (you can pick up), the total price was only $680. For reference, it is pretty much identical to this $2,000 mattress advertised online. I tried to pricematch this rock-bottom price with other stores, but they refused, so I just bought from the outlet. I’ve slept on it for a couple days now and am very happy with my purchase!

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Of course, it’s not just the mattress that makes the Heavenly Bed. You also need a good down comforter – we already have one, and we love it. All that’s left is to go out now and find some quality sheets and pillows to complete the feel. I hear Overstock.com and Amazon.com both occasionally have some really good deals. Threadcounts, Egyptian cottons, Pima cottons, yet another mess to wade through…

Comments

  1. SavingDiva says:

    I agree that a mattress is extremely important. My current mattress is at the end of its life. However, I love it so much! I’m dreading forking over the cash to purchase a new one though. Also, I’m not sure what I want…thanks for a great post!

  2. That’s great! Sounds like you did good – over 65% off! I have a Serta with a pillowtop that I got over a year ago for $800, and my only complaint is that it’s now very, very hard to get out of the bed in the morning! Hope you have great dreams thinking up new posts for your blog!

  3. It’s like I should be paying you for advice! We’re about to go after a mattress ourselves. We might end up saving some big bucks, thanks!

  4. hayhehes says:

    Can you buy from the outlets without having to physically go to the warehouse?

  5. Wow, all I ever need to know about mattress shopping! Thanks for the great info. I will definitely use some of this the next time I shop for a mattress. :)

  6. Michael says:

    A little late now, but I wanted to add that we got our Simmons Beautyrest pillowtop at a factory seconds store for only $350 bucks four years ago. These mattresses are refused by the retail stores for whatever reason, most of them just having a scuff or two that are purely cosmetic. We love that mattress and intend to keep it for several more years. I’ve heard that you can get similar deals on kitchen appliances at factory second stores, but have not tried that out yet. Congrats on the new mattress.

  7. Buy your bedding at Bed Bath and Beyon. I tried several different discount stores like overstock, Marshal’s and Ross. Even though all bed sets had the same thread count (sateen etc.) only bed bath and beyond did not ball up after 6 months. You might pay a40% premium or so, but your sheets will last years. They have good sales sometimes and always their 20% coupons (which you can get in the mail by registering on their website) In any case, my last purchase was the 800 TC Sateen hotel sheets (Cal King for $80). Best sleep I ever had.

  8. Wow, you had a lot more patience for this than I did! Sounds like you got a great deal.

  9. “Can you buy from the outlets without having to physically go to the warehouse?”

    Probably, if you are willing to pay for your own shipping.

  10. toasty aroma says:

    nice. death to retail!

  11. I wish I was near one of those outlets too — and I am going mattress shopping tomorrow by coincidence. Sounds like you got a great deal — I’ll look at the Beautyrest too.

    BTW, I was in Sears yesterday taking pictures and the studio happened to be next to the bedding department. They had some high end beds right in front, and a king size of one of the beds was $3399.00! omygosh! I never knew prices got that high with beds. Oh, well, I probably won’t do as well as you — but I plan to spend less than $1500 (for a king). I use some of your tips — thanks :)

  12. Only a fool pays retail for mattresses – they’re always on sale.

    If it’s listed as “regular” price of $1400 for a set, figure on paying $650-800 on any given day. Anything below half the “regular” price is an actual sale.

  13. I also use smartbargains.com for some deals. Got a comforter set there before for a great price… and all my suits are from there.

    I bet this bed is much better than that stinky old mattress ;)

  14. Pardon me if I don’t pat you on the back for paying $650 for a dang mattress. Even if it’s “originally $1400.” Why the heck do you need a high-end $1400 mattress anyways? When me and my girlfriend were in college, we paid like $100 for a box spring and $100 for a mattress. It worked fine for years! Paying that much frickin money for a bed is just insane.

  15. biff – lol, if you read my previous post you would have found out that I paid $80 for both mattress + box spring in college and it lasted 10 years. Ha! :P

    Just like buying an ice cream cone, I’m buying some luxury and comfort with my money.

    I know this is a bit o’ lifestyle inflation, but $650 spread across 10 years ain’t going to break my back – it might even save it by providing better support for my aging bones.

  16. Glad you found such a great deal! I know you were looking at the Costco Novaform memory foam mattress early on…is there any special reason why you did not go for that one, or even a memory foam at all?

  17. great article. I hate mattress manufacturers! They are more evil than car salesmen.

  18. I was searching for something completely different when I happened upon this blog about mattress-buying, which I will be doing shortly.
    I have known about the crazy way the mattress mfg are trying to pull the wool over our eyes. I appreciate all the leg or should I say finger work you have done to enlighten us. I bought my first mattress/ boxsprings, a Simmon Beautyrest, in 1975 for $650. It’s now 32 years old, still not sagging, but it is stained and I just think it’s time for a new one. I’m now 66 years of age. I really don’t care if my next mattress lasts for 32 years as I probably won’t be around to enjoy it anyway.
    So another $650 sounds ok with me.

  19. Anybody ever try the Posturepedic memory foam pads? We’ve got a Serta pillowtop mattress but heard great things about the memory foam. Does the pad do the trick or does one have to go all out for the mattress?

  20. “Glad you found such a great deal! I know you were looking at the Costco Novaform memory foam mattress early on?is there any special reason why you did not go for that one, or even a memory foam at all?”

    That’s a good question. I really don’t have a good solid answer for that. It was a combo of things. For one, they don’t have one to test out at Costco, so even with a return policy it would have been a bit of a hassle to return it. But mainly, after sleeping on both in the stores, we decided a traditional pillowtop mattress (with foam on top) felt a bit better to us than an all-foam mattress. Very subjective, I don’t really have anything against memory foam.

  21. Has anybody found a good buy on a Sleep Number bed? The 2 people I know that have them really like them but they are very pricey.

  22. I was going to post a reply to your previous post.

    I bought a new mattress/boxspring set on Monday. It was the Setra Picturesque set. Plush Eurotop and all that fancy stuff. The tag for the set was $1870, I got it for $499 delivered.

    Discount centers works wonders! I am loving the bed!

  23. We bought a foam matress several years ago and were unhappy with it. So were a few of our friends who bought the same matress. My advice is if you want foam, by the mattress topper. It costs a lot less.

    Although there will be some people with back problems who love the foam matresses (and it is great for sleeping), the lack of spring has an impact on other things that people do in bed….

  24. Try Tuesday Morning for great deals on sheets. Recently – I bought several sets – w/450 TC – the sets cost $39 and $49 per set. They have name brands at tremendous discounts.
    Also – Homegoods has a great linen department as well.
    Overstock.com has some terrific deals on duvet sets – plus their return policy is easy – one set was stained and they sent me the replacement w/in days – and paid for the return of the stained duvet. It’s always a good idea to read the customer reviews – they help you decide which item meets your needs best.

  25. I was able to find a ‘scratch and dent’ mattress retailer and procured a KING sized Vera Wang Love Mega-Euro-Top, which retails for $6999, but typically sells for about $2,499+tax on a good day. I scored one for only $400 delivered. The only reason being there was a 1″ tear on the corner of the mattress and some scuff marks/dirt on the left side. I hand sewed the tear and bought some stain remover and cleaned up the dirt. Looks as good as new. Keep in mind these are AS-IS with no warranty. But for $400 I could literally purchase 6 or 7 of these for the price of one. So you may want to definitely see if there are any scratch & dent mattress centers near you!

  26. Geezitron says:

    I read a similar article before buying my Kingsdown mattress and am glad I did. I had the advantage of sleeping on the mattress at a friend’s house, fell in love with it, and had to have one regardless of cost.I have an injury to my back and was so impressed by the comfort of the Kingsdown that I would have paid anything to have one. Boy was I in for a surprise.I had never bought a mattress before and was shocked at how much retailers pad the prices. The top of the line, largest, softest, most heavenly Kingsdown mattress retailed for $5000 (!) at Sleepy’s. After much negotiating we ended up paying $1900 for the set. A lot of $$ for a mattress?? Heck yeah. Worth it? Absolutely. The 20 year warranty and 0% financing were the deal-sealers. It has been over a year and we are still thrilled with the mattress. It is so comfortable it is distracting :) My friends bought one and my parents are buying one after checking ours out. Folks, think outside the Sealy,Simmons, Serta box when mattress shopping. You can buy cheaper but your comfort is really the most important factor to consider.

  27. One word about the Tempur-pedic mattress, Jonathan. We had a “real” tempur-pedic when we lived in New Orleans. It was truly amazing, and I planned on keeping it until I was forty. Sadly, 2 years later, our house was flooded by Katrina, and the loss of the wonderful mattress was heartbreaking! We decided to go cheaper and buy a “Sensus” memory foam mattress, for about half the price of the Tempur-pedic. Sensus was reported to be nearly identical to Tempur-pedic. It turned out to be quite different, and not nearly as comfortable. My wife and I are both value shoppers, and we were sad to learn that the generic wasn’t as good. Maybe other generics are better now (2 years later), but our experience was disappointing.

  28. I live in Iowa and just went to Homemakers yesterday to purchase my Kingsdown mattress. I am sure I got ripped on the price of 2300. When you are in a small town it is difficult to price shop so you end up just paying what they ask. I did ask the salesman if this is the best he could do and of course he said this was the “Mat price”. Whatever that means. The Mattress is a dream though!

  29. Great post! Thanks for all the info…it was exactly what I was trying to learn about these heavenly mattresses…

  30. Interesting information about these sleep products. As a consumer it is a challenge to find a real “Deal” — scratch and dent, clearance closeouts discontinued covers, it all seems to be a farce. Shopping for mattresses is not a joy. Find a good feel, comfortable nights sleep, within your budget — it is as simple as that. I found a deal on a Restonic Comfort Care, — with a closeout cover, has better warranties than the nationally known brands, more coils, and better comfort materials, whatever that is. I have to say though, I have forgotten what I paid for it, after having it for 3 months. Best nights sleep ever — period. Best part is the company is owned by an individual, and not a big “conglomerate” I find solace in that. Happy Bed shopping…

  31. Just wanted to thank you for posting all of the information you compiled- as a I result, I found out that my husband and I live about 20 min away from a Simmons outlet. We were able to buy a NaturalComfort latex mattress set (retail price for a queen- at least $2000) and a set of sheets for less than $700!

  32. Thank you all for the good info….I’m off to shop for beds tomorrow….I’m taking all this as I go try beds. As for the temper-pedic, my neighbor loves hers. I find I get really hot on the foam mattresses. Anyone else have those issues? I’m beginning to think what I really need is the adjustable function, regardless of the type of mattress on it. I seem to sleep best in my recliner, so why not try the same thing in my bed? Any thoughts anyone? Thanks everyone!

  33. Thanks for the information…very helpful. I found that I live about an hour from not just 1, but 2 Simmons outlets! I am hoping to find a great deal within the next day or so. I slept on a “heavenly bed” about a year ago, and it is definitely an upgrade to the typical mattress set. So that is what I am going to try and duplicate.

  34. Hello all and help! I’m a tenacious and usually successful bargain hunter but the mattress industry has me crying UNCLE! I have a King Koil I bought 20 years ago that is still in good condition. I am not in good condition with my back however and need a new mattress soon.

    I LOVE the Kingsdown Cardiff @ $3,000 but I can’t afford it. There’s also a couple of nice Vera Wangs with Latex that are nice. But no luck there either. I live 30 minutes from the Kingsdown factory but do you think I can find a discount price or scratch and dent mattress? NO!

    Does anyone have any info on a scratch and dent or seconds store in North Carolina?

  35. stephanie says:

    If you’re looking for a good mattress…. Serta is having a really great sale right now, you can save hundreds of dollars on alot of different kinds of mattresses that they have, and you also get a rebate for a flatscreen TV… I believe it goes on until Sunday… check it out if you are in the market for a new mattress!

  36. I just bought a Stearns and Foster Plush Euro top thinking it would be good for my lower back and hips. I’m finding the conforming latex foam to be uncomfortable on my back. Has anyone had experience with this bed or have suggestions for one that is good for a bad back?

  37. Thank you so much for your research! I am going crazy trying to find a comparable Heavenly bed without blowing my budget. As luck would have it, Dallas has a simons outlet and I called but they of course are calling it something else then what you bought (she’s trying to sell me on a higher one)

    Can you haggle with the outlet stores? Thank you in advance!

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