Is Ikea cheaper even with the Euro and tax?
6.Jan.2010 - 12:36 hrs
We're trying to furnish our apartment, and I've been looking at the PX and Ikea as well as on yardsales. My husband's German is negligible, I don't have hardly any German, so used from Germans will be hard. We are just assuming, based on hearsay, that the German economy is too expensive.
However, a few price comparisons between Ikea and the PX have left me doubting. Most Ikea furniture, even when converted into dollars, even with 20% tax (which presumably we'll get back when we file for VAT exemptions), seems cheaper than the PX furniture.
I know it's cheaper stuff and we assemble ourselves, but am I missing something, or are the people who buy from the PX missing something? It's the annual sale so I'm thinking of doing a huge purchase tonight online with delivery if I can figure out what the deal is.
What do you think?
Small Town Boy
6.Jan.2010 - 12:55 hrs
I have no idea what "PX" is. However, here are two things to consider:
1. Stop comparing to prices in America. It's an irrelevance. I don't know what "the German economy is too expensive" means, but I do know that Germans can afford to pay cash for their furniture, rather than having to whip out one of their 15 credit cards.
2. You get what you pay for at IKEA. The quality is generally fine but nothing special. You have to build the furniture yourself (which can take hours), whereas a traditional furniture shop like XXXLutz or Höffner will do it for you within the ~€50 delivery charge. IKEA cut corners wherever they can; the duvets, for example, are quite a bit smaller than the advertised prices. On the other hand, the goods are generally available straight away and don't need to be ordered.
The answer is simply to shop around. I couldn't imagine buying all my furniture at IKEA for the simple reason that there is frequently much nicer furniture to be found elsewhere. Visit a few stores, compare price and quality, and make individual decisions for each item. You don't need to buy everything from the same shop. But bear in mind that if you buy from IKEA then most of your guests will be able to recite the catalogue page number of every item in your house.
Edit: Just noticed this is in the US Military forum. I'm backtracking out of here as quickly as possible.
6.Jan.2010 - 13:27 hrs
Most of the furniture at the PX is pretty high end and therefore pretty expensive and the selection is actually limited. If you are not planning to take it all back it may be better to buy from Ikea ect. Keeping an eye out for people PCsing and selling stuff can be an inexpensive way to go. I bought most of my furniture at Ikea and other German shops wirh the exception of our bed. For small items like shelving,coffee, end tables, kitchen items ect Ikea is a good choice
One good thing about Ikea is they are VAT friendly and I was able to acculumulate 10 receipts and turn them in all together on one VAT form.
It does take a little patience to learn how to navigate thru an Ikea but just think of it as an adventure.
@STB. Apples and Oranges dude.
6.Jan.2010 - 13:30 hrs
Yeah. Thanks. The PX is the on-base, supposedly US-priced department store.
We earn a US salary, and it wasn't me who compared prices, but everyone (in the military) who has been advising us here (I mean, at post, not on Toytown). I'm not complaining, just trying to work with a $1000 USD budget to furnish an apartment and wondering what the cheapest option is besides setting the TV on milk crates and putting my baby to sleep in a playpen.
I know that Ikea has cheap stuff- even their wood stuff is generally pine, meaning, it's going to have that knocked-around look within a matter of weeks. We have a lot of Ikea stuff already. But with two children under four, and a military budget, that might not be such a bad thing. Do we really want the heirloom sectional to have big key scratches on it when we try to sell it in three years when they move us back to the States?
If I had the money to buy better stuff, I would. I wouldn't be comparing fugly PX stuff (okay, it's not all fugly) with pressed board Ikea dinky stuff. But I don't! So I have to compare, fugly vs. dinky, tant pis!
6.Jan.2010 - 13:38 hrs
I survived here for 4 years without buying anything but a TV and bed. Of course my apartment was furnished in what I call "comtemporary Sperr Mull" I got most of my stuff off the street. Then I got married and that was the end of that Dont know where you are located but folks PCsing out will sell their stuff for pretty cheap. Check the bulletin board at the post office regularly and what about the second hand shops on base? one in Mannheim and Heidleberg that I know of. Mannheim also has a big German second hand store. More expensive but you can find good stuff there.
6.Jan.2010 - 13:48 hrs
Ikea will probably be your best bet, although you can sometimes find some good deals for furniture at the PX. I also second checking out bulletin boards to see what people who are PCSing are offering.
Also, check to see if you and your husband are eligible for furniture from the housing office. Thanks to them, hubby and I didn't have to worry about couches (though we ended up buying our own later), tables and chairs, as well as wardrobes. The only thing we ended up buying was a bedroom set, and we got that used from someone PCSing for less than 200 (bed, and two wood dressers).
The only thing I recommend looking at the PX for is couches. We bought a 3-seat sofa and loveseat for 400 dollars. Of course it's cheaper to find things used, but for new couches - though not the best quality - they work just fine.
The thrift shop on base is also a good place to look, though do compare prices while you're there, too. The thrift store in Stuttgart often seems to have good deals when it's often cheaper to buy something new at Ikea or the PX.
Since price is an issue, compare, compare, compare!
6.Jan.2010 - 15:37 hrs
Stuttgartyardsales.com seems good too. Quite often there is some really nice furniture on there at silly prices. I got an immaculate, solid cherry, console table for $15, it probably cost about $200 in pottery barn. The stuff at the PX seems to be all ornate and oversized which in most German places means it will be a tight squeeze. With young kids I think Ikea or 2nd hand furniture is a good way to go so you don't have to worry about them coloring on it or making dents in it.
6.Jan.2010 - 15:44 hrs
Do you have Poco down that end of the country?
They are pretty cheap and cheerful but actually have some solid wood stuff, which Ikea seems to have less and less of, some of which survived at least 6 house moves in good condition.
An alternative to Ikea at least.
Some of the stuff in there is extremely dire though so be prepared to hunt for the better stuff.
6.Jan.2010 - 15:51 hrs
Why don't you try stores like unitedfurniture.eu or other stores like that. They are not only serving americans or soldiers. I don't understand how Americans and Britons can really like the crap at IKEA if you could buy much better furniture for a comparable cheap price and that even arrives in one peace. Everybody recognizes the bad stuff from IKEA. Please don't copy the bad furniture style of germans I know that IKEA is all over the world but it is extremly sucessful only in Germany.
6.Jan.2010 - 15:54 hrs
We sold our old bed on ebay it cost over a 1000 euro new but we got 3 euro on ebay, was in excellent condition as well.
6.Jan.2010 - 16:03 hrs
Yes, google Bookoo or RamsteinYardSale and you will get to the site. From there you can pick your location. Most bases in Germany have one.
IMO the furniture at the BX/PX is ugly and huge; not good for small German rooms. Never really priced it out, but I don't think AAFES has any great bargains in general. But...Ikea stuff is too modern for my taste (most of it) and flimsy. So, second-hand it the way to go!
6.Jan.2010 - 20:24 hrs
I'm surprised no one has mentioned the German Red Cross furniture stores....lots of cheap and sturdy furniture (they employ people to fix up damaged stuff too)...I've seen some real bargains, mostly 1920s type stuff, but I've seen some beautiful hutches, desks, tables and even sectional couches that still looked decent. The one in Stuttgart is actually in Boebligen...open times and GPS address below..my favorite German Super-like Walmart type store, REAL is also nearby...
6.Jan.2010 - 20:59 hrs
Thanks so much for all your replies.
To everyone who hates Ikea, or thinks it's ugly, can I just say, I already have furniture from there, and actually, Ikea runs a pretty brisk business in the United States as well. So, um, sorry if you don't like my kids' curtains or my cute computer desk, but I'm asking about price for use, not beauty. LOL you guys. Did you consider that I might actually like Ikea???
We are already a family of four so the whole TV-and-a-couch thing will not work for us. I need a bookcase. I want to ruin the cheapest crap I can stand to look at, rather than get a bill from the housing office, kwim? Plus the echo in this place is irritating.
Thanks for the tips on the yardsales- we are there, checking daily, in Ramstein, Stuttgart and Baumholder, but I think everyone already left. A whole batch PCSed before we arrived. Not finding a ton of stuff right now, and since we have no car, we can't drive to pick a lot of stuff up. We are in Baumholder, so I think that the Red Cross is out of the question, which is too bad because that looks like a great, great option for people who can go there. We might just wait until we can drive there.
I will check out ebay. I didn't think shipping of furniture was economical, especially since APOs have size limits.
Thanks again. Good to know I'm not the only one who thought PX furniture was not the bee's knees.
7.Jan.2010 - 04:35 hrs
If you're in the Ramstein/Baumholder area have you been to Moebel Martin? It's right off the A6 just past Kaiserslautern, (google for directions) It's a huge place over 3 floors. They have a large selection of cheaper every day stuff and also more expensive furniture, They take tax forms too.
7.Jan.2010 - 07:14 hrs
Absolutely, hands down the best place you can go to is the German Red Cross Furniture (AKA MoebelHalle deutsches Rtoes Kreuz) store in your area. Contact the USO, they'll have the address for your local.
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