October 29, 2021 update: It’s been NINE years and we still love this mattress (affiliate link). We bought this thing in September 2012 and it’s still going strong!
Check out my seven year update here:
Note: this post contains affiliate links.
And now, please enjoy my original 2017 post:
I’m here to report on our Amazon mattress. Nearly five whole years ago, Mr. Frugalwoods and I bought a king-size mattress. From the internet. For $279. We named it Internet Mattress.
Since we’ve been snoozin’ on this bed for half a decade, I figured it was high time for an update on how the relationship is going. The summary: Internet Mattress is amazing, it’s still in great condition, it’s still under $300, and I still highly recommend it.
Frugality Works For Just About Everything
Before discovering Internet Mattress, Mr. FW and I expected we’d have to cough up four figures for a bed. What we didn’t know then is that frugality can be applied to almost every aspect of life. There’s an assumption that things like mattresses (and cars and babies) must be expensive, but that’s nothing more than a trope of our consumer culture designed to intimidate us into doing obscenely ridiculous things like purchasing beds on payment plans. Questioning the mainstream expectation that in order for something to be good it must be expensive is why we frugal weirdos win even when we buy something new (which, as you well know, I’m loathe to do… I am the person who went three years without buying clothes). As I’ve been known to say, don’t fear the cheaper.
Week in and week out, I aim to prove there’s an economical way to live that good life. After college, I slept on a yoga mat because I couldn’t afford a mattress. I saved up and bought one (with cash) three weeks later, because let me tell you what, sleeping on a yoga mat is not a good way to save money. Internet Mattress on the other hand? A very good way to save money.
When we bought Internet Mattress, we honestly had no idea if it would work out or not. But here’s the thing: we reasoned it was so cheap that it didn’t matter. If Internet Mattress didn’t pass muster, we’d simply move it into the guest room and buy something different.
Plus, you can actually return a mattress to Amazon if you totes hate it. Thus, we felt we had nothing to lose by trying out this ultimate frugal option. And since our frugal bet paid off, I’m here to regale you with the tale! Don’t worry, I also would’ve regaled you if it hadn’t paid off.
Why We Wanted A New Bed: A Brief History
In 2012, after five years of living together–and being consistently 6’2″ and 5’7″ and kicking each other all night long–we decided we (and the longevity of our marriage) were ready for a king-sized bed. We graduated our double bed (which cost us a whopping $600 from a ye olde mattress shoppe in 2007… growl) to the guest room and began our quest. Really, really quickly we discovered that beds are stupid expensive.
We were frugally appalled and we weren’t even the Frugalwoods yet! It seems mattress stores thrive on desperation. Nobody window shops for mattresses–by the time you walk into a mattress store, you need a foam rectangle to sleep on that night. Hence, they can charge you whatever they want. There’s some sort of cabal around mattress buying and we’re brainwashed into thinking: 1) a mattress must be expensive; 2) a mattress must be purchased in person. Fie to both these thing, I say! Fie!
In light of our appall over traditional mattress prices, we did what we always do in times of frugal turmoil: we began researching our conundrum on the internet. And the internet recommended this mattress. And the internet was right. Since Mr. FW and I prefer a firm mattress, we have the 8″ option. However, Internet Mattress comes in other firmnesses (a word? perhaps not… ) so if you prefer a softer touch, you can select for that. If you’re wondering how it feels, it’s basically a knock-off Tempur-Pedic. Since it’s foam, it doesn’t require a boxspring, but you do need something for it to rest on–we have this bed frame from IKEA, which is equipped with wooden slats to support Internet Mattress. You can also buy the slats separately if you already own a bed frame.
How Internet Mattress Joined Our Family
Amazon delivered it to our house. For free. Wait, Mrs. FW, are you saying Amazon actually delivers this gigantic thing? For free?! Yes, oh yes they do. And I have no idea why because it’s freaking huge. Traditional mattress stores relish charging ludicrous amounts for mattress delivery, so we were thrilled with Internet Mattress’ gratis conveyance. Thrifty trucking. Sans cost shipment. Freebie distribution. Complimentary dispatch. Ok I’m done.
I kinda think Mr. FW wanted to buy Internet Mattress just to see how it would arrive in the mail. Well, arrive it did. Internet Mattress was rolled into a tube inside a plastic bag in a long cardboard box, which we were able to lift together and drag into our bedroom.
As the instructions hilariously and emphatically point out, you MUST open this thing in the room where it will be slept on. It, uh, basically springs–in every sense of the verb–to life when you cut off the plastic bag and ain’t nobody rolling it back from whence it came. It’s worth ordering just to watch it unfurl itself. Note: unlike us, be sure to watch out for overhead light fixtures…
Condition Of Mattress After Five Years Of Nightly Use
Internet Mattress is trucking along quite dandily. No dents, no divots, no sagging–basically no indications of wear whatsoever. I guess that’s because it’s composed of foam layers? Not sure, but I’m impressed. In other good news, the foam does not make us hot in the summertime–so, hooray!
Before Babywoods was born, I bought this waterproof mattress pad, which Mr. FW made fun of… until the first time Babywoods threw up in our bed. So, if you have kids (and especially if they’re pukey like mine… ), it might be worth it to enclose the mattress in waterproofedness because I don’t think the foam would take too kindly to being cleaned. The mattress does come with its own zip-on cover, but it’s not waterproof.
Breaking News: Is Internet Mattress The Deal Of The Century?
Probably not. But it has turned out to be a darn cheap bed for us–and it continues on! This thing just keeps getting cheaper. For the purchase price of $279, divided out over its five years of life (thus far), we’re at an expenditure of $55.88 per year. I mean, please.
For fun mathematical comparison, I would like to point out that Tempur-Pedic brand mattresses can cost as much as $4,999. Also, there are a bunch of “trendy” “millennial” online mattress companies that, while cheaper than the aforementioned Tempur-Pedic, still cost circa $750, which is more than double the cost of Internet Mattress.
Internet Mattress does not mess around with fancy, put-a-bird-on-it branding adorned with hipsters artfully perched on the mattress, drinking lattes while growing ironic beards. However, I can offer you this picture of a dog on Internet Mattress, so you’re welcome.
What About Used Mattresses?
As the author of The Myth Of The Gross Used Things, and the owner of far more used things than new things, I can tell you right now that I have zero qualms about used mattresses. However, I could not find a single used king-sized mattress when we needed one in 2012. I scoured Craigslist. I haunted online garage sales. None to be found and not for lack of trying.
We once bought a used twin-sized mattress, boxspring, and bed frame for our second guest room–a bed that’ll likely become Babywoods’ when she graduates from her (hand-me-down, used) crib. There’s nothing inherently wrong with getting a used mattress–all you need to do is source it properly. I personally wouldn’t take a mattress off the side of the road since it’s impossible to determine its provenance and the bug/detritus situation therein. I also wouldn’t buy a mattress from a thrift store for the same reason (although, I don’t think they actually sell them?).
But from Craigslist or a garage sale? Absolutely! For things like mattresses, couches (yes, we also sport a used couch), and other fabric items, I like to enter the home they’ve been living in. That way, I can assess the general state of cleanliness, the lack of smoke/pet hair, etc. The bed we bought, for example? It came from empty nesters in a wealthy suburb of Boston from a house that was easily worth $2M. Let me just say: it was a lot cleaner than my own home. The bed was their college-age daughter’s childhood bed and they were redoing her room. A win for us and a win for them! In sum, if you’d like to source a mattress used and are able to find one in good condition that’s cheaper than Internet Mattress, you should go for it!
The Lesson Of Internet Mattress
Extends far beyond foam. For truly, Internet Mattress is a lesson to us all to never grow lazy in our frugality. To never assume we must pay top dollar and to rage, rage against the endless, pulsing tide of consumerism that threatens our bank accounts and our very sanity. Don’t be a mindless consumer. Don’t surrender your cash to support ludicrous marketing campaigns designed to make you think there’s something wrong with living a simple, frugal life (there’s not). The old adage warns: never cheap out on anything that separates you from the ground: tires, shoes, or mattresses. But I gotta tell you, I think the adage got it wrong on this one.