How to save time and money on your next Ikea trip

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Ikea is the go-to furniture store for great deals on everything from bed sheets to lighting and hot dogs. But if you really want to save money at Ikea, you'll need to do more than just show up at the door.

Timing your shopping trips, hunting down coupons and planning for dinner at the superstore are just a few ways to save time and money when you're on a quest for that perfect nightstand. Follow these tips to cut even more of your costs as you shop.

Shop Weekday Mornings

You might be most available on weekends, but as with most stores, Ikea is busiest on Saturdays, said savings expert Kendal Perez of CouponSherpa.com. With so many people lugging big items through checkout and into their cars, shopping can feel like moving -- in a crowd. That's why, if you want to save yourself some valuable time, it's most important to do your shopping during the week.

"To avoid the crowds, shop during a weekday, especially Tuesday or Wednesday," Perez said. The earlier the better, so grab your coffee and plan to be done by lunch.

Another trick? Enter through the exit, Perez suggested. That way, you dodge the impulse buys near the entrance.

See: Reasons Not to Fall for Those Bargain Prices at Ikea

Wait for Big Sale Days

Ikea offers budget-friendly pricing on just about any household item, but to save the big bucks you'll need to be patient, Perez said. "Ikea offers seasonal savings, much like other retailers, so it's best to research deals and promotions ahead of holiday weekends," she said.

This year, keep an eye out for Ikea's Kitchen Sale, which started in March last year. In late December, you might see up to half off select items in the store's Winter Sale.

Don't forget about Ikea's Black Friday sale, either. In 2016, the event ran from Nov. 23 through Nov. 29 and included savings like 20 percent off bedroom mirrors for Ikea Family members.

RELATED: The most popular Ikea products of all time:

13 PHOTOS
12 most popular IKEA products of all time
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12 most popular IKEA products of all time
12. Ribba frames make your photos and art pop.

Price: $1.99 — $19.99. 
Find it here.

Simplicity is a top design principle at IKEA, and the Ribba frame series proves it.

Ribba frames come in a variety of sizes and in black, white, and steely gray.

11. The Färgrik mug is the quintessential coffee cup.

Price: $0.99
Find it here. 

The white stoneware Färgrik mug goes with any kitchen color scheme — plain and simple.

Plus, you won't break the bank replacing it if one crashes on the floor.

10. The Klippan loveseat fits small budgets and smaller apartments.

Price: $399
Find it here.

Stretching just over 70 inches, the Klippan sofa squeezes into most shoebox apartments. It's available in white, gray, and caramel.

If you make a tough stain, you can buy a replacement cover for as little as $29.

9. The Docksta table completes a minimalist kitchen.

Price: $179
Find it here.

The Docksta table blends in with its soft edges and a simple silhouette. The white finish allows an eclectic assortment of chairs or decorations to stand out.

8. The Ektorp sofa is built to last.

Price: $499
Find it here.

Small details such as the strong seams, changeable covers, and reversible seat cushions toughen up the Ektorp sofa to withstand years of use.

Plus, the foam and polyester fiber-packed seat cushions give great support.

7. The Lack table series hardly lacks style.

Price: $7.99 – $49.99
Find it here.

"Basic" isn't a bad thing when it comes to IKEA's preeminent table series. 

Tables, ranging in size and proportions, come in a wide variety of colors and finishes. They're lightweight so you can move them easily and feng shui your living room over and over again.

6. The Stockholm rugs add a burst of color to any room.

Price: $99 – $349
Find them here.

Stockholm rugs are made by hand in textile centers in India that provide good working conditions and fair wages, according to IKEA.

They're also adorable and available in checkered and picnic-blanket-like patterns.

5. The Rens sheepskin rug brings warmth into your home.

Price: $29.99

Find it here.

IKEA's white sheepskin rug begs to be thrown in front of a fireplace and curled upon. It's irresistibly soft.

The wool is soil-repellent and durable, though not machine-washable.

4. The Kallax shelving series became an instant classic.

Price: $15 – $249
Find it here.

The internet freaked out when IKEA discontinued everyone's favorite shelf, the Expedit. But it's back with a new name (Kallax) and a sleek new design.

Kallax shelves, which come in multiple sizes, are durable thanks to a scratch-resistant surface and rounded corners that make them less painful to bump into.

3. The Malm bed frame series streamlines the bedroom.

Price: $149 – $559
Find it here.

A millennial's first apartment isn't complete without a Malm bed frame. The Malm come in two flavors: one that raises the mattress high off the floor and another that includes storage.

2. The Poäng chair sells 1.5 million units a year.

Price: $109 – $229
Find it here.

Created by famed Japanese designer Noboru Nakamura, the Poäng chair is one of the most iconic IKEA products of all time. It recently celebrated its 40th birthday with a limited-edition frame and six new covers.

Style, quality, and an affordable price point helped the Poäng chair stand the test of time.

1. The Billy bookcase is the most ubiquitous piece of IKEA furniture.

Price: $69.99 – $544.97
Find it here.

A Billy bookcase sells every 10 seconds, according to the New York Times. Why? It speaks directly to the IKEA ethos of simplicity that makes the company a global success.

The Billy bookcase can also grow with its owner over time. New shelves can be added when your library expands, and it's available in a variety of heights, widths, and finishes.

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Join Ikea Family and Sign Up for Offers

Ikea Family is the store's loyalty program, and it offers various perks, like exclusive deals. Perez said Ikea Family members enjoy occasional offers like 20 percent off toys, 25 percent off glassware and serving plates, and 20 percent off rugs and baskets.

Each month, one randomly chosen Family member from each store wins a $100 gift card. Family members also get free coffee or tea during their visits, plus discounts on select food ideas and more. Best of all, the program is free to join.

Another source for great savings is the store's email newsletter, Perez said, where you can pick up exclusive deals. And don't forget to check coupon sites for discounts.

"For example, CouponSherpa.com recently had a printable coupon for $25 off your $150 purchase through Dec. 24," Perez said. She also suggested picking up discount gift cards. GiftCardGranny.com has Ikea gift cards on sale for up to 10 percent below face value.

Find: Best Loyalty Rewards Programs for Your Wallet

Avoid Ikea Shipping Fees

If you live near Ikea, visit the store rather than shop online. Yes, strapping a mattress to the roof might be a bit of a hassle, but Ikea's shipping charges can get pricey, Perez said. Still, fees do vary by region and order, she said, so if you must get something shipped, make sure you research your options.

Small item delivery starts at $10, while large item delivery by truck starts at $99. However, there is one perk to paying for large item delivery: Once you pay the fee, you can make as large an order as you like without incurring additional delivery fees. Your purchases will be placed in the room of your choice, too.

If you're moving to a new city with an Ikea store, sign up for the Big Move Break Down program. By filling out a simple questionnaire, you'll receive $25 off your next $250 in-store purchase. That could help you furnish your new pad while you save money on moving furniture.

Prepare Ahead for Your Trip

Preparation is key to saving at Ikea, said Benjamin Glaser, editor with money-saving site DealNews.com. Go online and read user reviews of products you're eyeing, especially if you're shopping for Ikea furniture.

Glaser said that since much of Ikea's self-assembly furniture is made from pressed wood -- which is simply wood chips pressed together -- it's not as durable as solid wood. User reviews could alert you of furniture that can't handle daily abuse. If you need sturdier items, look to Ikea's line of solid wood furniture. It's pricier but often a better deal than at other retailers.

Once you do find Ikea items you want, Perez said to make a list using the site's My Shopping Lists feature. The tool tells you the exact location of the item you want, she said. That way, you can save yourself some time and go directly to your items without getting distracted.

Eat at the Store

While you might not get the gourmet, white tablecloth service you're craving, you will find good deals on food.

For instance, for a select time Ikea Family members were able to deduct their food bill from any purchase over $100, Perez said. Other deals include a smoked salmon sandwich or harvest salad for just $4.99. Or, if you just want a snack, frozen yogurt is $1.50 and two hot dogs and a soda goes for $2.

Of course, if your diet or budget don't allow for this type of fare, Perez said to make sure you eat before you shop. "The power of Swedish meatballs is not to be trifled with," she said.

Next Up: 50 Stores With the Best and Worst Return Policies

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