The Desired Sofa at a Desired Price

contributed by Anita

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I just purchased a new sofa, extra pillows and hassock and saved over $1100.00 from the list price - no pocket change here. List price (including tax) was $2693.19 and I paid (including tax) $1582.53.

First, I decided what size and color I wanted. My room is small so I couldn't get anything too large. I am also a short person and sofas that are too large just aren't comfortable for me.

Then, I took a small notebook and started visiting furniture stores in the area. I went to the more expensive stores as well as the bargain ones. I told the salesperson that I just started shopping and had yet to find the sofa I wanted. I sat in lots of sofas and made notes of which sofas I liked best, listed the manufacturers and style numbers, and the stores where I found them. The salesperson usually will tell you the name of the manufacturer (especially if it is a good one). If the tag in the showroom didn't have the style number, I asked the salesperson for it and, if he seemed hesitant (which one did) I asked to let me look at the books by that manufacturer and found the numbers there. I finally decided what manufacturer and style I wanted.

I picked out which fabric I wanted and wrote down the grade of the fabric (usually marked on the back of the fabric samples). I now had everything I needed to so I could shop for price.

Next, I went on the net to find dealers of sofas made by that manufacturer just to make sure I hadn't missed any nearby dealers. I found one located near where my sofa was manufactured and got a price from him. Even though I lived about 250 miles away he would deliver it for a charge (which I added to the cost of the sofa beside his name).

Finally, I went back to all the stores that carried the brand I wanted and told them I was ready to buy and that the store that gave me the best deal would get my business. I also told them it would be a cash deal. By cash, I meant NOT a credit card. A check was OK. They can give you a better deal if they don't have to pay credit card charges and with large ticket items they add up. It is important to tell them the truth and even let you know all the stores you have visited. That way they know you are serious. I said, "I want a (brand name) sofa in style (style number) in grade (grade number) fabric. I also want an ottoman (style number found in the manufacturer's book) in the same fabric. The person who gives me the best price gets the sale." All the local stores gave free delivery within 50 miles but make sure you ask that and add it to the price if they charge anything. I also wanted a couple of extra throw pillows in a different grade fabric to contrast with the sofa so I gave them that grade number. I also asked them to add the cost of fabric protection (there is something out now that some say is better than Scotchguard) and to itemize each item (sofa $0.00, ottoman $0.00, pillows $0.00, fabric protection $0.00 and delivery $0.00). I asked them to write their quotes on their business cards. Two (with the lowest total) quotes were within $15.00 of each other so I think I got the lowest possible price. The price I got on-line was actually less until I added the delivery charge. If I had a truck and could have picked it up (which I don't) I could have saved a little more. However with gas for the trip added in, I don't think I would have really saved anything.

I now have a better quality sofa with the fabric I want, a great warranty (all hardwood frame has a lifetime warranty, pillows have warranty against breaking down for 8 years and all the fabric has a lifetime warranty against stains), and I saved 41% off list price! It took some shopping but if think about it as a job and divide total saved by the hours spent you will find that your hourly pay is considerable. I may have spent 10 hours shopping and saved $1110.66. That works out to be $111.07 per hour!!!

"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money please send it to

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