Thursday, July 7, 2016

Where is the cheapest place to buy beds?

This seems to be a question people frequently message me about, as well as one that gets posted on the broke people forums. To start, I'll spare you the info that it's worth it to buy an expensive bed for better sleep and better spine health. Of course it is. But if you had the money to buy an expensive bed, would you be reading this?

First off, for the absolute cheapest, there are always a ton of free or really cheap beds on Craigslist. Creep their pictures and choose one that's photographed in what appears to be a clean, functional home. Pick it up on a sunny day and spray the mattress with Lysol and leave it in the sun until it dries. Don't use bleach, as this can ruin the fabric.

If you have allergies or just can't deal with a used bed, here are the cheapest new ones I've found. The absolute cheapest is this futon at Walmart (I know, I know...) for $79. It's also available for $98 with a frame, though it's the type where if you're using it as a bed, it's obvious that it's a folded-down couch. You'd probably be better off getting a free platform bed and using this futon on it. The bed pictured above is a similar cheap Walmart futon on a frame I built out of about $20 worth of lumber. It was three 2x6s (cut to length at Home Depot) laid left/middle/right down the length of the bed, then 1x3s (ditto) laid across and screwed down. I spraypainted the whole thing darker brown so it was less obviously homemade. I slept on it for years before I managed to buy an adult bed, then passed it down to a kid -- the height is perfect to use safely with a toddler without dealing with the enormous waste of money that toddler beds are.

For those who don't want a futon, IKEA has this $199 sofa bed that's a firmer mattress than a futon and doesn't look as much like a pullout couch when flat. It's ridiculously ugly as a couch though; I'd suggest the Walmart futon or this $89 IKEA futon if you want to primarily use it in couch mode. IKEA also has by far the cheapest mattresses you'll find anywhere. They start at $149 for a full-size foam mattress. You can try them out at the store; the cheapest one is pretty thin, but was surprisingly decent when on a bed with springy slats. The Morgedal is really nice, and on sale right now. We have one of those. We ended up buying the mattress first and sleeping on it on the floor for about a year, then eventually finding a frame we liked on mega clearance. If you absolutely need the whole thing now, the cheapest IKEA mattress plus the cheapest frame ends up being $239 for a full, which is really pretty ridiculously amazing. I actually thought when I tried out the beds that the pillowtops made the biggest difference. Not surprisingly, they cost almost as much as the damn mattress -- from $89 to $279 for full-size. It might make sense to get the cheapest mattress, then the frame, then the pillowtop as you can afford them.

If you're not into foam mattresses, there are some low-end spring mattresses, and you can put them on the floor without any foundation. This queen at Sleepy's is $199 for the mattress and $299 with a standard boxspring. There are also discount mattress places around the city. I haven't heard great things about them, but if you want cheap, maybe worth checking out. I know there's one on Columbus Ave near Jackson Square.

If you're looking for twin beds for kids, Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless provides beds for any child in Massachusetts who doesn't have one. I'm can't recall what their criteria are, but I believe it's fairly broad (maybe having Masshealth?) rather than requiring that families are completely destitute.

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