Surprising Frugal Finds at Ikea

by Kelly · 11 comments

in Money & Spending

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ll know that I am a devoted Ikea fan. This has its disadvantages, to be sure, especially when my efforts to live frugally are waylaid by the presence right down the street of the big blue and yellow box. But there are lots of advantages as well, with plenty of opportunities for surprising frugal finds.

Sure, Ikea is mostly known for it’s inexpensive furniture (and maybe its Swedish meatballs too). I have discovered, however, that the treasure trove of other inexpensive things is not just limited to the Billy bookcase or Ektorp couch (both of which I own, bought used, thankyouverymuch).

Following are some great frugal Ikea finds. And finally, as a disclaimer should you be thinking that this post is a bit too much like a commercial for all things Ikea, I am in no way compensated for this post or promoting these products… except of course for those in my own Etsy shop.


I use the rolls of white Ikea paper for just about everything: wrapping packages for shipping, wrapping presents for giving, protecting the table from messy art projects, or even their intended purpose, drawing! And at $6.99 for 130 feet, you can’t find cheaper elsewhere.


Ikea has some beautiful fabric designs, in a variety of styles. I love to use their fabric in my Babycat Goods baby products. I find the fabric to be (mostly) of very good quality and long lasting. Here are some of my favorites.

The Stokholm Ruta, which is a heavy cotton fabric with a slight cotton sheen, is $7.99 a yard. I can no longer find it on the French website, which is a real shame, as I loved the look of it as a diaper envelope. Another favorite fabric, called Patricia, (shown in the picture to the left) is also $7.99 a yard.

Even better than the fabric, is the Ikea sewing machine! Did you know that Ikea made sewing machines? They don’t have them on the US website, so I don’t know if they are available in America, but in France a sewing machine sells for only €69.


Ziplock bags: $2.99 for 50 bags or €2.99 (again, buying in dollars is cheaper!) is a great price for good quality plastic bags. I use these all the time. Or what about this little glass jar for $2.99? My favorite frugal kitchen find however, has to be these plastic food storage containers. I use them for food, of course, but also for my kids’ art supplies.


One of the things that I like about Ikea’s toys is that they really focus on the creative process. They sell basic construction toys, train tracks or even drawing paper. Last year, I bought a building set for my son for $9.99. This toy kitchen set is going to be a gift this year (good thing my kids can’t read yet!). Another great kid’s product is this 18 piece cutlery set with six spoons, six forks and six knives for $1.99.

I know this post reads as a little bit of an advertisement for Ikea! I only intend to highlight some of the best bargains I have found while shopping there. While I don’t think any of these products merit a special trip to Ikea, if you happen to live near one these frugal finds are worth a look.

What are your favorite frugal Ikea finds?


1 FruGal November 24, 2008

I love a good trip to Ikea! I love that they combine affordability with interesting design. At the same time, they always seem to offer really bold tastes in fabric choices, overall design, etc and more conventional choices — simple, understated.

There have been times that I’ve been disappointed with the quality of certain products, particularly their low-end furniture. But when you are spending so little, you can really only expect so much. More often than not, I find that it is worth it to buy mid-range at Ikea — it’s still a bargain! Plus you don’t have to worry so much about longevity. I recommend kitchen items from the 365+ series. They are thoughtfully designed and last for quite some time. I especially love my magnetic knife rack!

I wish that an Ikea was close enough for me to buy items that need constant restocking — such as the paper roll or the ziplock bags. Unfortunately, getting to Ikea is too much of a chore. But I will definitely keep your suggestions in mind for the next time I get out there. Great post! 😉

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2 Karen of Virtually There November 24, 2008

I really like their plastic shower curtain liner. It is very inexpensive (under $5 Canadian I think) and Ikea also ensures that it does not contain the nasty chemicals of most other cheap liners (which have been proven to be harmful to humans as they off-gas – you know that weird smell of cheap shower curtain liners? That’s the nasty stuff. Ikea’s don’t have a smell at all).

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3 Lucie @ Unconventional Origins November 24, 2008

Oh, Ikea. How I love thee.

The closet Ikea is about one and a half hours away. When we found out I was pregnant and knew we were moving to a small apartment, we put our oversized furniture on Craig’s List and took a day trip to Ikea. For under $700 we were able to buy bunk beds for the boys, a queen bed for ourselves, a couch, two Billy bookcases, two laundry baskets, a dog bed, an artists model, and some kitchen stuff (bowls, trays). Not bad, if I do say so myself.

I don’t know the name of them but Ikea has these white, oval shaped plastic trays that cost like a dollar and are perfect for so many things. We bought five and they work as great serving trays, especially when you need to bring a dish to someone’s house.

Lucie @ Unconventional Origins´s last blog post..Reflections: An Unconventional Tradition? My Path to the Altar…

4 Shevy November 24, 2008

My best frugal IKEA tip? The As Is Room! As a family we’ve found a number of things there at a fraction of the cost of buying them in the regular part of the store. Let’s see, a toddler bed for half price, Hemnes dressers ditto, a mirror $30 off, bar height chairs for at least 1/3 off. Wardrobe doors for $10 each instead of $90! I was buying the wardrobe that day and was getting the full price doors when I stopped by the As Is Room for a look. Nice way to save $160!

(BTW, I think the sewing machine is strictly a European item. Too bad.)

5 Kelly November 25, 2008


The As-Is section is one of my favorite places too! I get a lot of fabric there actually, as well as some great things… my daughter’s highchair, mattresses, kitchen cabinets… you name it!

6 jodi @ bpr November 25, 2008

oh – if only there were an Ikea within decent distance…I'm pretty sure the nearest is in Atlanta, almost 3 hrs away…it's nice to dream though 😉

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7 Sherry November 25, 2008

Jodi – Don’t know where you live in the south, but Charlotte is getting an Ikea – it will open next spring. Can’t wait!

8 Squawkfox November 26, 2008

I love the ikea drawer liners. They keep all my socks, bras, and undies all organized and uncluttered. Everything in it’s place. 😀

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9 Kate November 26, 2008

Ikea is wonderful, but I seem to lose all control when I walk in the door. I’ve been trying to keep my Ikea trips to every couple of months. We make a day of it, eat a big, inexpensive meal, shop (with ample time in the As Is section), maybe the children spend some time in the playplace, and then we have a treat on the way out the door.

I agree that some of their furniture is pretty poor (we call our dining room chairs “disposable,” which bothers me for many reasons, but we got 12 chairs with the three tables we’ve bolted together to make a large table), but some of it is lovely.

We redid our kitchen in Ikea and the price was definitely right. We do need to replace a few cabinet fronts that haven’t held up as well as I might like, but still very economical.

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10 frugal zeitgeist November 30, 2008


Just kidding. 😉

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11 Spendthrift December 2, 2008

I have been known to arrive two hours early for an IKEA sale. We have a little bit of everything from IKEA. Dishes, wardrobes, bookcases, I could go on and on and on. My daughter is getting the easel we just bought for ten dollars Saturday (regular price 24.99) as a Christmas gift. The IKEA near me is thirty minutes away. If it was a little further then I could dream more when the catalog arrives.

Two words: cinnamon buns! They are crack in sugar form.

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