This post brought to you by CORT. The content and opinions expressed below are that of The Thrifty Couple.
We just discovered a massive way to save money on like-new furniture at the CORT Clearance Centers – a discount furniture source!
Have you heard of this place? I have heard of the name, but I hadn’t actually understood what it was, what they were offering and what deals I could get on high quality furniture. Generally, when I have purchased furniture in my thrifty days, it has been second hand and “furniture in a box” type. Second hand is great, but you get what you pay for. Furniture in a box is okay. It has typically been low quality and needs replacing in a few years (or less).
Over two and half years ago, we had saved up to purchase a new dining table and chairs. We are a family of eight now and needed a large dining table and chairs set. They were EASILY $1500 or MORE new. So I kept my eyes peeled in the local classifieds/Craigslist and local Facebook online garage sales for a used dining set. I would find them every-once-in-a-while to only miss the boat on buying it by a couple of hours. They are very popular used and for good reason!
So, in the end, I couldn’t wait any longer to try and nab a used set and the price I was willing to pay would only cover used or “in-a-box.” So I bought an “in the box” set.
It has been just ok. We’ve tightened the table legs numerous times (about every two-months we have to tighten the table legs) and we’ve repaired the chairs 1-3 times each and just tossed two chairs that were beyond repairable after their multiple repairs. It’s been very annoying. They are very cheap. Ultimately, they have NOT been worth the “one-third the price” of a furniture store dining set.
The dining set we owned before this was one we bought that was high quality from a furniture store in our unthrifty days (yes, the story is HERE of how it contributed to our debt-load) and the set was only made for 6 people. So we desperately needed a new/used set so our entire family can enjoy meal time together.
This was the first time we have purchased a dining set since that initial one. I didn’t have experience with “in-the-box” dining sets previously.
I have it now. It’s not worth it, unless you want it to last for a FRACTION of the time.
That brings me to our experience yesterday at CORT Clearance centers.
We discovered CORT’s furniture is affordable – but it’s not cheap. Their furniture quality is higher than other discount brands; more durable fabric, robust stitching, real wood instead of particle board, etc. But the price tag meets or BEATS that of the particle board, in-a-box, put-together-yourself furniture.
This makes us both very happy. Alex has been very disappointed in the amount of repairs and work these current tables and chairs have been. I am sad that the few hundred I spent has not been worth it and basically trashed. But CORT is where I am hoping to redeem myself in the furniture buying world.
CORT’s furniture can last a lifetime, and you don’t have to break the bank to get it. When we arrived to see what was on the floor, I was “floored” at the affordable prices. In other words, very impressed.
We talked with the gal that was working to find out why the furniture was so affordable and how it all works:
- The furniture that is sold in their clearance center is returned rentals. They ONLY put them on their clearance show floor if they are in super condition after going through a thorough cleaning and the CORT certification process (I’d like to think of it as a certified used car, the best of the best that you can get from used) to become CORT Certified furniture.
- The furniture has a number/letter coding system on the price tags. The number indicates the month the product arrived on the floor. Then the appearance is given an A, B or C letter – A = perfect condition, B=minor issues like scratches and most likely unnoticeable blemishes/scratches, etc. C= it went through a repair like sewing upholstery, buffing scratches, etc. but has been repaired to be hardly noticeable. Anything that doesn’t fit into the A, B or C category is generally donated, but you may find some “extreme values” in a category D. But regardless, the furniture is in nearly new condition.
Example of the number/letter code on the price tags
Example of a blemished/scratched product tag
Can you see the scratches? They are not bad at all, especially for $29.99 for a quality T.V. console!
- They have a guarantee policy – you can return anything within 14 days for any reason. All of the items have a 90-day warranty if something happens to it.
- The turnover rate is pretty rapid. The inventory changes nearly daily. So if they don’t have what you are looking for now, you can continue to watch the inventory online for your local CORT location, or make a request that the staff will be on the lookout for and can even send you pictures when something you request may meet your requirements.
While we were at the CORT Clearance center showroom, we found something that we both thought was quite cool – Instant Home To Go.
This is a VERY cool concept – basically furnishing your entire home with the “necessities” for less than the cost of on piece from a classic furniture store. Boy how much this concept and idea would have saved us in our un-thrifty days!
The options change often as far as the EXACT set you will get based on what inventory they have, but they typically have three different levels of Instant-Home-To-Go. I am sharing examples of the sets they had on the floor the day we went, but these can also be customized some within that category if there is a particular piece that you are not real fond of.
As you can see, these are a GREAT value for someone starting out – it is easy to save and pay cash for sets like this (if you need a jumpstart on paying cash, check out our how to get $1000 in 30 days ebook).
And then they also have sets for specific rooms for a great value as well.
Not only do they have furniture for every room, they have mattresses, including name brand and office furniture at a massive discount too!
I mean, look at this u-shaped office desk and the nice price!
Some things are sold as sets only, some as sets OR individual pieces or just individual pieces. Here’s two extreme values I spotted while we were there:
Now here’s where the even better news comes in (especially for us thrifties). Not only are you getting high-quality, CORT certified, like new furniture for much, MUCH less, they offer rewards, coupons and promotions all of the time, reducing your overall cost even more.
I played their current promotional game and got a 20% off living room furniture (I choose living room, you would pick the room you are planning to complete next).
In addition, I signed up for their email and got a $25 off coupon!
In the same CORT Clearance center website visit, they had two different promotions (games) going on to win/earn additional coupons. I played and signed up for both and received these two additional coupons:
So, you can use the $25 gift card with the coupons, but the coupons have to be used on separate purchases, not doubled on the same purchase. When I talked to the gal working at the time, she said they always have promotions similar to these all of the time. Which means that whenever you visit, not only can you get prices up to 70% off retail, but you can get additional discounts using coupons.
This is seriously the way to start looking for furniture. Many of the items on the showroom floor were cheaper than buying used. I am going to keep stalking the website and visiting the store, while putting in a request for new dining room chairs. I am looking forward to seeing what I can find for this, but also remembering this option for any future needs I have. I can’t believe I didn’t know about CORT Clearance centers until now!
Have you been to one before? What was your experience? If you haven’t or as a reminder, be sure to visit your local clearance center.