Frugal Finds – A Bargain on a Big Boy Bed

There was a lot of excitement in our house last week when our son looked out our front window and saw the delivery truck pull up to our house. Inside was a mattress that will one day serve as his “big boy bed”, as he likes to call it.

Our son is nearly two and a half, so FM an I have been preparing ourselves to encounter a major milestone for a toddler for a while now.

So far he hasn’t made even the slightest of attempts to escape his crib. But after he successfully made it through the night in a regular bed when we stayed with family over the holidays (which he was extremely excited about), we decided a few weeks ago that we may as well keep an eye out for something to move him into once he inevitably decides crib rails are no longer a deterrent.

During the annual ‘Boxing Day/Week Blowout’ season we all endure as consumers, we decided to head over to a store not far from our house to get a sense of what type of mattress he (aka FM and I, since we’ll likely end up spending some time with him on it over the years) wanted and what kind of dollar figure we would need to expect to pay.

We were completely upfront with the salesman (who barely allowed us to get five feet into the building before descending upon us) that we weren’t looking to purchase anything and just wanted to test out some beds and get a sense on pricing.

Once we made it into the actual showroom area, sticker shock set in almost immediately. I had completely forgotten how bloody expensive mattresses are!

We spent about 30 minutes testing out a variety of beds. And by “testing”, I mean FM and I taking turns laying down and trying to convince our son to pretend to sleep next to us rather than jump up and down like he was on a trampoline.

Most of the price tags made us either gasp or laugh. Anything that we liked was in the $1,000 and above category, which was way beyond what we were willing to spend. We knew from reviewing advertisements through the Flipp app that we could easily find something of the quality we wanted for about 40% lower than that.

Of course, the salesman couldn’t let us go without a fight. He does have a living to make after all. He asked if he could check the store’s internal system to see if they had a better price available on a couple of the beds we seemed to like.

Truth be told, he was actually very respectful of the fact that we were just there to browse and didn’t want any kind of heavy sales push put on us, so we decided to hear him out.

He took us over to his desk and started punching in model names and numbers. Sure enough, the first two beds we found comfortable remained way out of our price range, even with some substantial discounts available.

The third bed came back at just under $750, which was the absolute maximum budget we had set for this purchase. With this being the first store that we visited, we weren’t swayed at all – we wanted to continue shopping around to get the best deal we possibly could, and this just didn’t feel like it.

We were about to say our thank yous and goodbyes when the salesman got all excited and insisted that he show me something on the screen.

He explained that an order of the very same mattress had been cancelled by a customer at the last second and the company’s nearest warehouse was stuck with a mattress they needed to move out as soon as possible.

The company operates on a just-in-time delivery model. They take the order and a deposit from the customer, place an order for the bed with the manufacturer, receive it at their warehouse a few days later, and ship it out to the customer as soon as they possibly can. This sales model means that they don’t have a lot of warehouse space of their own and don’t want product sitting around.

In situations like the cancellation the salesman discovered, they tend to discount the mattress to get it out the door right away.

In this case it meant that the bed could be ours for $555 plus tax, for a total of just over $625. That’s 45% off the sticker price!

This changed our tune to be sure, but FM still wasn’t convinced. It didn’t change the fact that we were still at the first store we had visited, we had committed to doing research and legwork before making this expensive of a purchase, and we weren’t 100% ready to move our son out of his crib since he hasn’t made an effort to escape it himself.

The salesman came up with a solution for us: put down a fully refundable $100 deposit to hold the mattress, take a couple of weeks to do our research, and make a decision on whether or not we wanted to go ahead.

So that’s what we did.

With a bed on hold, we spent many of our evenings over the following week doing more research. We also had a lot of conversations about when our son would move into the bed and what we’d do with it in the meantime if we did go ahead and finalize the purchase of the one we had on hold.

In the end, we decided we couldn’t turn down the deal we discovered that first day of looking since no other similar mattresses could meet that price.

Listen, I get it. To many of you, spending over $600 on a bed for a toddler isn’t much of a bargain. But to us, this is still a frugal purchase. That’s because to us, being frugal means making the most of our money by making purchases that we believe get us the best bang for our buck over the long-term.

We don’t view this as buying a bed for a toddler. It’s buying a bed that should last toddler through his pre-school, grade-school, and eventually teenage years.

Spending this much now and not having to spend it again for 15 years is a much better option to us than spending $300 on cheaper mattresses that wear out every 5 years, or buying a bed shaped like a car that our son probably won’t want to be sleeping on in his teenage years.

We also came up with what was a pretty obvious solution for “storing” the mattress until it was time to retire our son’s crib.

Our daughter is still in our room with us, so the mattress will go into her future bedroom for the time being. Once she moves over there, the new mattress will either stay in her room for us to crash on in the likely event that she needs some assistance in getting comfortable in her new surroundings, or it will go to our son’s room for him to sleep on if he decides to make the great escape from his current sleeping quarters.

In the end, we’re really pleased with the end result of our research and shopping efforts and we’re looking forward to making our son’s transition from crib to big boy bed as seamless as possible when that day finally arrives.

How do you handle higher-priced purchases like a mattress? Do you research it like crazy or jump on the first deal you think is worthwhile?

Let me know by leaving a comment below, sending an email to, or by connecting on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

Also remember to check out the info below on our Random Pile o’ Recipes Reduction Project!

Until next Saturday, thanks for reading!

Frugal Father

Random Pile o’ Recipes Reduction Project

Last week’s recipe: Chicken and Onion Tagine.

I found the dish to be really tasty, but it failed from a simplicity perspective. FM is an admittedly picky eater and if it’s something outside her usual comfort zone, she really needs to be in the mood to try something new. That wasn’t the case last Saturday night when I made the dish, which called for curry as a key ingredient – something FM isn’t a huge fan of and wasn’t in the mood for. I had to modify my cooking plans, basically creating two separate versions (one with curry, one without) to make sure we could each enjoy our meal. We’ve done this countless times in the past, but with kids to tend to now, it isn’t feasible to be doing this on a regular basis. The final verdict on this dish: send it to the recycle bin.

This week’s selection: Baked Cabbage Roll Skillet.

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