4 Things You Should Never Buy at Big Box Stores

You can pay a lot more for home decor items at big box stores.
You can pay a lot more for home decor items at big box stores.

The lack of big box stores in downtown Toronto may mean you plan your weekends around big trips to Costco, Ikea or The Home Depot in the suburbs. You may even rent an SUV or truck to do it if you are purchasing large items. However, you might ask yourself if it is worth it? Are you really getting more value or saving any money by doing this? What if you could stay home and do something you prefer on the weekend?

The truth is that these big box stores offer only the illusion of value on certain items. Here are a few items you don’t have to buy at big box stores.

1. Computers, Laptops, and Tablets

You don’t always have to buy new computers, laptops or tablets, and you certainly don’t have to go through a major chain to buy them. When you’re shopping for a new device, it helps to at least check out a number of refurbished programs. I purchased a refurbished HP EliteBook a year ago and I’m really pleased with it.

You can pay a lot more for home decor items at big box stores.
You can pay a lot more for home decor items at big box stores.

You might want to steer clear of refurbished TVs and gaming consoles, but laptops and mobile devices are often well worth your time to buy “gently used.”

2. Mattresses and Beds

This one could actually save you the most money. In this day and age, you can shop online to make sure you don’t overpay for your next mattress by buying directly from the manufacturer. This can save you hundreds of dollars and a lot of hassle.

The bed in a box craze is really gaining momentum for good reason, particularly for those who live in the downtown core. You can save yourself from having to drive out of the city, testing a dozen-plus mattresses in-store and trying to tie a mattress to the roof of your car. Simply have the bed in a box delivered right to your home and save some money while you do it.

3. Eyeglasses

This is another online market that has exploded in recent years. Most of the people who buy their glasses online will tell you that they will never set foot in another retail eyeglasses store again.

The prices and turnaround time are often as-good-or-better than you would get from a retail store. However, it’s the frequent BOGO (buy-one-get-one-free) deals that really separate the online market. Consumers are often getting two pairs of glasses (or sunglasses) for less money than they would pay in-store for a single pair.

4. Home Decor

We know that you want your home to look gorgeous, but do you really want to spend 20%–50% more to purchase a decorative accent from big box stores that you may not even love when there are thousands of unique options available online for a fraction of the price?

Online shops such as Wayfair offer a massive variety of products that you can use to enhance your home’s decor, providing a larger selection than you will find in most big box stores at significant cost savings. Or, if you want something truly unique and handmade, as well as being well-priced, check out the artisans on Etsy. Plus, shopping online provides a much faster and easier way to compare prices without having to drive (or bus) from store to store to store.

If you were planning a jaunt out of the city to pick up any of the items we’ve listed above, we just saved you a lot of money and allowed you to sleep in on Saturday. Yes, we realize that you will miss getting to taste Costco’s hot dogs and Ikea’s cinnamon buns, but think of the money you will save simply by opening your laptop.

You might be interested in reading “How to Save Money When Shopping Online“.