Mattresses can be very expensive. A good quality mattress should cost you at least  $1000 or more. And if you consider that the average mattress has a ten to fifteen-year lifespan, spending a $1,000 or more doesn't seem like that much. When they say you get what you pay for, it is especially true when it comes to a buying a mattress. So before making the big purchase, we recommend a few steps.

1. Shop around. Visit many furniture and mattress stores and make sure that you know exactly what you are getting. Remember there is no other piece of furniture in your house that you will spend more time on.  Don't be afraid to lay down on the mattress since there is no other way to know if it is the one for you. And if you are not sure, leave and go back another day and lay on it again. Since you are paying so much for your mattress, it is important to know what type of warranty comes with it.

2. Check the warranty. For most mattresses, there is at least a five-year warranty, but some come with 10 and EVEN 15. Is the warranty pro-rated or non-pro-rated?  The warranty covers issues that have to do with the structure and make of the mattress. If the mattress has any problems as you use it, such as sinking or seams coming un-stitched, the warranty is valid. However, it is important that the mattress is returned with no obvious stains (health regulations). To protect yourself from this possibility, use a waterproof mattress cover. Since mattress companies vary with different warranties and return policies, make sure that you understand all of the details from your salesperson. If the warranty is long, then there is probably many stipulations.

3. Know what you want before you shop. What size bed do you need? Are you downsizing or upgrading to a king? What level of comfort are you looking for?. Most people have at least somewhat of an idea; however, if your current mattress is extremely old, then you may have to try out many different comfort levels.

4. Do your research. It's important to do your research. Become familiar with the different mattress brands. Search the Internet for consumer reports and read what real people have said about a particular brand of mattress. Find out how the mattresses are made. Are they made locally? Are they mass produced or hand made? Knowing these things will take many hours off of your search. And don't forget to ask friends and family members what type of mattress they have. A good recommendation can go along way.