The Parable Of The Sofa

Once upon a time, a hard-working middle-class couple decided to replace their 10+ year old sofa. They fell in love with one from Room & Board but could not afford the price. With the R&B catalog in hand, they commissioned a furniture builder to create a duplicate of the sofa with minor customization for a lot less money.

The sofa was delivered and the couple were very happy.

However, after a few weeks, they decided that they also needed a slipcover. The slipcover for that sofa model was also expensive and not in quite the right color. They decided to save money by purchasing (on sale) a pre-made sofa cover from

surefitUnfortunately one slipcover was not enough to cover both of the sofa pillows. The wife decided to buy another slipcover of the same fabric.

For a few months, the couple were happy. Then one day, the wife said to the husband, “I hate that we have to adjust the slipcover all the time.”

He replied, “I know! I’ve been meaning to tell you that I hate that the slipcover is not quite even at the bottom edges.”

After some research, they paid $400 to have the two slipcovers made into a custom cover for their couch.

After the custom slipcover was made, the couple were quite happy…for a few months. Then they realized that their kids were messing up the beautiful couch and they bought a pet cover to throw over the custom-fitted slipcover. Yes, a cover over a cover.

In the end, they ended up spending more than the cost of the expensive Room & Board sofa and slipcover.

The moral of this story?

1) Perfectionism is the enemy of frugality.  The couple was so intent upon having the perfect sofa that they spent more on slipcovers and customization than on the sofa itself.

2) Sometimes your frugal ways end up costing you more money. The total cost for two Surefit pre-made slipcovers and tailoring costed more than the pricey store slipcover!

3) Good furniture and kids don’t go together well.



6 thoughts on “The Parable Of The Sofa

  1. I think we have a similar sofa! But we bought used off Craigslist rather than going the commissioning route, figuring we could save enough to afford the slipcover. Of course, guess who now has a cover over that expensive slipcover? 😀

    FWIW, we didn’t buy anything new, we discovered that our twin sized fitted sheet that we don’t need anymore fits almost perfectly over all the cushions so that protects the seat cushions well enough. The backing… we’ll figure something out. But it’s a time-honored R-family tradition to just use old sheets to cover sofas 🙂


  2. I’ve put off purchases waiting for a better sale… only to have to buy when there was no sale at all.

    And because I was so worried about money when we moved into the house that I only bought most of the curtains and curtain rods we needed. Then I kept putting off getting the last ones. By the time I did — a year and a half later — the style wasn’t sold anymore.

    My husband has a thing about matching. Like a seriously manic thing. So that meant we had to switch out the curtain rods we already had, move the matching curtains from another room and buy new ones for those… I should have just placed that third damn order!


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