Swedish meatballs! ! Crazy-cheap picture frames you didn't even know you needed! It's easy to get swept up in the excitement of IKEA and fill your cart with 264 things you hadn't planned on getting. But there are also ways to avoid that — and to actually get some decent savings at your favorite assembly-required home store.
1. Keep your eyes peeled for the shortcuts.
IKEA is literally a maze of inexpensive and decorative temptations. So here's a surefire way to keep impulse items out of your cart in the first place: Instead of following their meandering path (which, you guessed it, ), take as many shortcuts as possible — you'll see them marked in signs hanging above the pathways.
And come armed with , too — it lets you can access a map of your store whenever you need it.
2. Or, just skip the maze entirely.
If you really can't resist temptation, use the IKEA website to find the exact warehouse location of the furniture you know you want – you can literally create and print with all the info you need. Then, enter through the exit and skip the Marketplace section entirely (the cheap kitchen accessories section especially is many shopper's Kryptonite!)
3. It's free to join their loyalty program — and it comes with a bunch of nice perks.
The program gives members special access to discounted prices on a rotating array of products every month. "Right now, there's a great comforter that's usually $69, but members get it for $59, just because," says Lori Felix of& .
Members also get free coffee or tea, extra time at Småland (the kiddie play area), regular chances to win gift cards, buy-one-get-one frozen yogurt (yay!) and . Not too shabby for a free program.
4. The Family program also ensures you'll always pay the lowest price.
(for free, remember!) and you'll also get IKEA's 90-Day Price Protection guarantee. So if a previously purchased item goes on sale, you'll get a price adjustment if you bring in your receipt.
5. Take those "last chance" tags seriously.
Those yellow tags emblazoned with the words "last chance," are legit warnings. They're used for items that are discontinued or for the last products in a limited edition collection (sad face). But the good news is that a discount usually comes with the tag. "The amount of the discount varies, and is set by the local store," explains Janice Simonsen, an IKEA spokesperson. "The typical range is 15% to 50% off."
6. Tell them you're moving.
IKEA has , which gets you a $25 discount on a $250 purchase (so really just one or two pieces of furniture). You'll have to sign up with some information (your old address and your new one) and then you'll also get access to shopping lists, checklists, and inspiration boards.
7. There's likely an optimal day to visit the "as-is" room.
Stuff in the "as-is" room has been returned, used as display products, or is slightly damaged. But all that gentle use translates into better savings. We've seen people get sofas for just a couple hundred bucks, tables for half off, and $5 slipcovers — some stores even have .
Even better, stores typically run bonus specials one day a week — it's often Wednesday, but that could vary by store, so ask employees for the scoop. For example, the store in Draper, Utah, cuts anything priced $20 or higher by 25% on Wednesdays. The same day, the Canton, Mississippi, store knocks off 50% from built and boxed as-is items.
You might also ask what day the "as-is" room gets replenished. For instance, some report that heading to the section on a Monday will get you the best of what's been returned over the weekend.
8. Research location-specific deals before you head to the store.
Live within driving distance of two IKEAS? Before you pick one, head to each store's to see what specials are being offered. For instance, when this article was reported, the Brooklyn, New York, store had holiday decorations marked down by up to 50%. And the Paramus, New Jersey, store was offering a TV unit for almost $80 less than regular price. IKEA Family specials also differ by store.
9. Try to hold out for the kitchen sale.
IKEA typically throws a big kitchen sale three or four times a year, and you can get up to 20% off during it. "Savings depend on the size of the kitchen, but we would see our clients saving anywhere from $500 to $1,500," says Matthew Hamel of , which specializes in Ikea kitchens.
Unfortunately, recent sales have been canceled, but Simonsen says they're not going away for good: "While we don't have an update on when we will have the next kitchen sale event, you can check-in with your local IKEA store or check your local IKEA website to stay in loop."
10. It's not that pricey to let IKEA handle the delivery.
Don't have a truck (or the muscle) to carry a BJURSTA sideboard? No biggie. IKEA offers same-day delivery, starting at just $59. Prices only go up based your home's distance from the store — not the size, weight, or number of your items. "My daughter moved into an apartment last summer with two roommates and they bought a lot of furniture at IKEA,"says Felix. "They had all the furniture delivered for $59. Divide that by three and it's a very good deal." Even divided by one, it sure beats dealing with cumbersome boxes yourself.