MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - There's nothing like shopping at an IKEA.
Your jaw drops when you walk through the entrance: four-dozen furniture showrooms, a warehouse of accessories, even a 300-seat restaurant with some of the best Swedish meatballs you've ever put in your mouth. It's all coming to Memphis Dec. 14 when IKEA Memphis opens its doors in the Wolfchase area off Germantown Parkway.
So armed with insider strategies from Kyle James, founder and blogger of RatherBeShopping.com, I visited IKEA St. Louis to identify five killer ways to save while shopping at IKEA:
* SHOP THE AS-IS DEPARTMENT FIRST. James recommended the very minute you walk into IKEA, shop its "as is" department first. That's where you will find discontinued furniture and accessories, returned items or slightly dinged merchandise (some already assembled -- many IKEA accessories and fixtures come disassembled) at drastically discounted prices. We found kitchen tables and desks marked 24 percent off, 40 percent off, 50 percent off. "You typically save 30 to 40 percent off retail (in the as-is department)," said James.
"I always come here first," said shopper Chanel Horton of St. Louis. "I have found a lot of great stuff for 60 to 70 percent off."
IKEA's Daniel Gerrard said the best days to score the deals in IKEA's as-is department are Tuesdays and Wednesdays. He said that's when employees are adding inventory to it.
* JOIN THE IKEA FAMILY PROGRAM. Either online or right inside the store, you can join the IKEA Family program. It's free. Members get a free cup of coffee on each visit, 30 minutes free in the children's Småland play area and exclusive discounts and coupons. Arguably the best benefit of IKEA Family: a 90-day price protection on every purchase. "If the price drops within 90 days of your purchase, you can go back in, and they will refund you the difference," said James.
"That's good to know because I didn't know that," said IKEA Family member Samantha Kennedy of St. Louis. "We managed to get a lot of things at Christmas for our kids at a very inexpensive price (under the IKEA Family program)."
* TAKE ADVANTAGE OF HOME DELIVERY. If you don't have a truck or van of your own, you can take advantage of IKEA's home delivery service. Starting as low as $59 for a third-party vendor vehicle, you can rent a truck or van and haul that stuff home yourself. You may have to pay additional fees for mileage or fuel, based on the distance of your delivery.
* SIGN UP FOR THE IKEA MOVING PROGRAM. If you're moving, you can sign up online for IKEA's free moving program, using your current address and the address where you're moving. "They'll email you a coupon for $25 off $250 or more, and IKEA coupons are kind of hard to come by, so that's a pretty good one if you are moving away or moving a child to college or something like that," James said.
* DOWNLOAD THE IKEA APP. You can use IKEA's free app to make shopping lists, track the latest discounts...it will even tell you the exact spot in the warehouse where you can find that very item you're hunting. That's a big deal because the IKEA warehouse is huge. Having that information on an app will save you time as well as money.