We have no shades on our windows. No curtains, either. I have been getting dressed in the hallway, where there are no windows, to protect the neighbors, and save a little dignity. We have some curtains, but I have been holding out for buying some nice cellular shades, which will save us some money on energy costs.
I didn’t realize what a pain it would be to order shades. But here I am, two months after moving in, getting dressed in the hallway. Don’t take forever to learn how to get a great price, learn from my experience.
How to Get the Best Price on Shades
Measure accurately: Before comparing prices, you need to know your exact measurements. The more snugly those shades fit into your window, the more money they will save you in keeping your home warm.
Order samples and/or view them in-store: I found that I had a strong preference for and against certain textures. It’s hard to tell what the texture of a product is when you view it online.
Look at the back of the book first: The sample books in stores start with the most expensive first. This utilizes something called the “primacy effect,” which will anchor your expectations to the highest price item.
To avoid comparing all of the samples to the most expensive shade, start at the back of the sample book.
That way, you can start with lower expectations and hopefully settle on an option that’s right for you, not the one that’s right for the manufacturer.
Compare apples to apples: Prices can vary by color and texture, so make sure you write down all of the details of the shade you’re looking at in the store. This isn’t going to work for exclusive brands (e.g., the shades made by blinds.com or selectblinds.com), but it will work for the shades that are made by major manufacturers.
For Exclusive Brands, Find a Common Factor: If you don’t have a brand preference, find the commonalities that are important to you, and compare the generic brands that way. For example, what mattered to me was the texture, color, and the insulation factor (or “R-Value“).
When Ordering Online, Use a Cashback Site: Cashback sites give you money based on a percentage of any purchase you make after clicking on the store from the cashback site. Different cashback sites have different amounts of cash back. For example, I ordered our shades through blinds.com. Ebates, the cashback site I have used for years, doesn’t offer any cashback on blinds.com purchases. TopCashBack, a newer site, offered 8% cashback.
To get cash back on your online purchase, first add the items to your online shopping cart. Open a new window and go to a cashback site. Find your online store on the cashback site and click on it. The cashback site will open a new browser window and your shopping cart should have the same items in it. Complete your purchase in the new window and you will get the cashback site’s discount.
Most sites allow you to earn cashback in addition to using promotion codes in your cart.
Use Coupons: It goes without saying that coupons will lower your cost. Many retailers have little tricks you can use to lower their costs. The Lowe’s coupon you’ll find in the Postal Service’s change of address packet can be combined with other offers. Home Depot matches competitor’s prices and gives you a 10% discount on top of that. Sears has the ShopYourWay Rewards program, which always has a coupon you can use. If they don’t have one right now, they will soon — just give it a week or two.
If you’re ordering through blinds.com, use my referral link (here) and get $20 off of your purchase of $175 or more. If you’re ordering from another online store, check out RetailMeNot for online coupon codes.
I compared a few sets of blinds and decided on Levolor. I priced them out at Lowe’s and blinds.com. Here is how it shook out:
|Total out of pocket||$120.90||$112|
Any guesses for which one we chose? It was a no-brainer. I can’t wait to get dressed in my own room.
Image by scottchan via freedigitalphotos.net