After the TSP, I invest my money in Betterment and Vanguard. I track all of my investments with Personal Capital. I also wrote a short, 2 hour book summarizing this site. You can buy it here.
Update for January 2017: After sleeping on my Bed in the Box for a few months, I started experiencing dead arm, back problems, and other issues. I no longer sleep on it and eventually gave it away. I went back to a cheap inner spring mattress. It gave me less issues than the memory foam mattress, but I still would get better sleep in hotel rooms.
On Dec 27, 2016 I ordered a Purple mattress. The “bed in the box” mattress industry has grown immensely since I wrote the article below, almost 4 years ago in Jan 2013.
Casper, Leesa, Ghostbed, and Purple are just a few of the large players in the multi-billion dollar mattress industry. I will write a review of my Purple after a few months of sleeping on it.
I read a great maxim the other day:
Never skimp on things that separate you from the ground.
Now that’s some great advice. I don’t believe that just because you pay more for something you’re going to get a better quality product. But I do believe that spending the extra money for a quality product or service is noticeable and can even be better for you in the long run (e.g., buy a widget for $1000 that lasts 5 years versus buying a $500 widget that lasts a year).
To me, this maxim implies that you should invest in high quality shoes, socks, tires, airplanes, and beds. Today, let’s talk about beds.
One third of your life will be spent sleeping. Shouldn’t you invest in a bed that you find comfortable and supportive, that doesn’t cause back, shoulder, or neck pain? I’ve always thought so. But after living in college and military dorms for 6 years, it was never something I really had to think about.
Growing up, I was fortunate enough that my parents bought me a Sleep Number from Select Comfort when I was in high school. I remember it being very comfortable and supportive. Fast forward 6 years…
Sleep Number versus Bed in a Box
In July 2012 after our recent PCS, I bought a Sleep Number c2 Bed from Select Comfort. We paid almost $900 for it. After using it for a month, I started developing neck and shoulder pain and stiffness when I’d wake up in the morning.
The bed was so uncomfortable that we would never lie in it other than to sleep at night. It was not working for us.
I called Select Comfort and their solution was to send me a 2″ thick egg crate cheap foam mattress topper. Thanks…I guess? They even charged me $60 for it. It didn’t help the situation at all.
Bed in a Box Review
So now we had an overpriced air mattress and were not getting comfortable, restful sleep at night. I thought I wanted a Tempur-Pedic. I mean, after all, if you pay $3000 for a mattress, it better be the most comfortable mattress in the world right? But right now we are in no financial position to be blowing 3 grand on a mattress.
What to do? Go to the Internet, of course! (What we should have done in the first place…)
Sleep Like the Dead is an awesome site to see how beds compare in terms of customer satisfaction, price, durability, whether the bed is good for sex, and over a dozen additional categories. I noticed right away that memory foam mattress category had the highest level of satisfied customers, at 81% satisfied.
One company, BedinaBox.com, had the highest customer satisfaction of all mattress companies at 86%. And I had never heard of them before! After poking around on their site, I came away with the following:
- The company is real, has great customer service, and offer a well reviewed product at an affordable price
- They offer a 120 day no hassle, $0 return policy that is absolutely necessary for buying an untested mattress online
- They offer fast (4 days at the most) free shipping anywhere in the US
- They offer Tempur-Pedic quality mattress for 50-75% off of the price of Tempur-Pedic
I was intrigued. Was this the Holy Grail of mattresses? A low cost, low risk, memory foam mattress?
My Bed in the Box Experience
So I gave it a shot. I figured if the bed was crap, I could return it for a full refund after 120 days.
Bed in a Box only produces one type of mattress: the PacBed. It’s a memory foam mattress which has between 6-8″ of base support foam and 3″ of topper foam, which can be regular or gel infused.
I ordered the queen sized PacDown with the gel infused top for $919, free shipping and tax free (because I’m not a Tennessee resident). The PacDown is just their PacBed with a down fitted sheet on top to aid in keeping the bed cool. I thought this was the best value for the money. I also picked up two Earth Pillows, which are much nicer to sleep on than our $2.50 AAFES pillows.
It arrived in a large, 100 pound box after only a few days of shipping. It was definitely a two man operation getting it upstairs. After carefully cutting it from the plastic wrap, the bed began to inflate to it’s full size. It took about 10 minutes for it to completely even out and fully inflate.
I let it air out for a bit before testing it. My initially reaction upon laying down was “oh my goodness…”
It was so soft and yet also supportive. It sleeps very cool and I notice that I don’t toss and turn as much at night now. Even after just a week of having it my shoulder and neck pain are 10x less than they were previously on the Sleep Number.
Conclusion – was it worth it?
Yes. For the price you pay and the product you get, I would say that the PacDown from Bed in the Box was definitely worth the price I paid. I would recommend it to anyone looking for an affordable memory foam mattress.
Is it better than Tempur-Pedic?
I honestly can’t say. I haven’t tested Tempur-Pedic enough to know. I have laid on a few though and I would say just from a 5 minute test it’s about the same in terms of softness and support. The price though is killer.
My PacDown cost 1/3 of the price of the comparable Tempur-Pedic mattress. Sleep Like the Dead says Tempur-Pedic has about the same to less customer satisfaction than Bed in a Box. So judge for yourself.
Bed in a Box Complaints
After a week of sleeping on this Bed in a Box mattress, my wife and I have no complaints. Some people have complained about “off-gasing” or a sweet, chemical like odor coming from the bed when it’s brand new.
We definitely noticed this for the couple days. It’s not an unpleasant smell, but it’s definitely a smell. It went away after 48-72 hours. We didn’t get any headaches or even really notice it after the first hour or so.
Bed in a Box Coupons and Discounts
Whenever I purchase something online, before I click “buy” I always Google “whateversite.com coupon code” or check Retail Me Not. I’ve saved up to 75% by finding coupons.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find an BedinaBox.com coupons. If you find one, let others know in the comments. I’ll update this section as well if I find any. I believe the site occasionally has sales, so you may be able to get a discount if you wait for a sale.
I also couldn’t find an available military discount, but if they start offering one I will let you know!
Anyone else have a good experience with BiaB? Ever find that perfect bed or mattress for a great price?
2 Websites I Use to Achieve Financial Independence Faster
I have investment accounts all over the place. To keep track of all of them in one place I use Personal Capital. It combines all of my accounts, shows me where I may be overpaying in fees, and provides beautiful charts showing my overall asset allocation and performance.
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Read my full review of Personal Capital and see how easy it can be to manage your investments in one place. Trust me, once you try it, you'll love it.
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Even if you're a DIY (do-it-yourself) investor like I am, you need to check out Betterment. You can read my full review here, but the bottom line is for only $250 per $100,000 invested (0.25% expense ratio) you get simple, diversified, and automated investing. In addition every account now gets free Tax Loss Harvesting+ features, which should increase returns for the average investor more than the minuscule management fee.
If you're not a DIY investor or are just getting started with investing, then you definitely need to check out Betterment. It's what I recommend to my family and friends who aren't strong investors or don't care to learn about asset allocations, diversification, or rebalancing.