A simple trip to Ikea can end up being much more time-consuming than you anticipated—the giant retail store is packed with all kinds of furniture and features, so you'll want a solid plan before you step into the iconic blue and yellow building.
Below are just a few tips and tricks you'll need to master your next trip to the Swedish retail giant, including ways to get discounts, what to skip, and solutions to shopping at Ikea with an impatient kid. Good luck!
1. Skip the marketplace.
No, you don't have to weave through the maze that is Ikea's marketplace to find out where you can find your new desk in the warehouse. Instead, make your shopping list online, then print it off and skip ahead to the boxes and checkout line.
2. Save money with an Ikea Family card.
This is literally just a free way to snag as many deals as you can. Signing up for the card is no cost, and it'll provide you access to exclusive discounts all year long, tons of extra benefits—more on those below.
3. Shop without impatient kids.
Anyone can drop their kids off at Småland (aka daycare) for a free hour. And when you're an Ikea Family member, you get an extra 30 minutes on top of that, which hopefully means you can avoid waiting in a long check-out line with tired youngsters.
4. Score free coffee or tea.
Shopping at Ikea is not for the faint of heart, which is why a little bit (okay, a lot) of caffeine is necessary. Family members get a free hot beverage of their choice every time they visit.
5. Take advantage of big sales.
About three of four times a year, Ikea throws a kitchen sale where shoppers can get up to 20% off. Curious about when the next one will take place? "You can check-in with your local Ikea store or check your local Ikea website to stay in loop," says Matthew Hamel of Kitchens by Design, which specializes in Ikea kitchens.
6. Use 90-day price protection.
Nothing's more frustrating than realizing the cabinets you just bought are on sale. But Ikea Family members are entitled to a refund on the difference if they notify to the store within 90 days and still have their receipt.
7. Snag a moving discount.
Ikea understands moving is expensive. That's why they have a program where you can get a $25 discount on a $250 purchase when dealing with this major life change. When you sign up you'll also receive shopping lists, checklists, and inspiration boards from the store.
8. Shop the "as-is" section wisely.
On Mondays you'll find the best loot, according to one Reddit user, because most returns happen over the weekend. But Wednesdays are when most locations run bonus sales on these items; however, this may vary by store and date.
9. Save big on shipping.
If you don't live near an Ikea and want to avoid shipping costs, you can look to Amazon for hundreds of products and Prime members can even take advantage of free two-day shipping. But sometimes Amazon prices are higher, so you might want to cross compare before buying.
10. Make returns in the morning.
The best way to dodge long lines when bringing an item back to Ikea is to beat the crowd and show up when the doors open. This will help you avoid waiting behind people with more complicated issues to discuss — like broken furniture pieces (the worst!).
11. Take advantage of the "Spare Parts" section.
Ever open a brand new package of Ikea furniture and realize you're missing an extremely important piece of hardware? You can just head over to Ikea's "Spare Parts" section located near the returns and exchanges to pick up the pieces you need.
12. Have missing parts sent to you.
Alternately, if you realize you're one screw short while making your coffee table, you don't have to travel all the way back to the warehouse to get a replacement. All you have to do is call your local store and they'll mail it directly to your doorstep.
13. Know what's new.
The newest pieces in every Ikea store will have a "NEW" tag on them—this way, you can easily track down the newest editions of your favorite furniture items.
14. Bring your own bag.
You won't be able to keep Ikea's iconic blue and yellow bags after your shopping trip unless you pay for them, so be smart and bring your own. It'll make your life and your shopping trip much easier.
15. Grab a free meal for your kids.
That's right, kids eat free in the Swedish-style cafeteria every single Tuesday with the purchase of an entree.
16. Sign up for mobile alerts.
Once you sign up for the mobile notifications, you'll be updated every time Ikea has a sale going on.
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