How to be a Savvy Shopper for your Airbnb

Every brand new Airbnb needs lots of items-dishes, sheets, beds-everything you’d need in an apartment.  Because what is essential, and what can wait? Today’s episode is all about “How to be a Savvy Shopper for your Airbnb.” I want to talk about shopping during sales because Amazon Prime is about to happen July 15th and 16th. There are also back to school sales that are happening right now where you can shop for items you might need. Not just things you’ll need for a brand new Airbnb but also if you need to replace those items that have seen better days. You know exactly what I’m talking about. 

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Shopping. You have no idea how much I don’t like it. I don’t want to say hate it but, hey…it isn’t my favorite thing to do. But shopping is a must.

I also don’t have a designer bone in my body. Yes, you have heard it from me before. One of my best friends, Wayne, is also the person who designed my home and Airbnb. This is what Wayne does for a living.

Now, let’s talk about prepping for a brand new Airbnb or replacing worn items or construction, I’m looking at Instagram and other vacation rentals for ideas and inspirations.

  • How do I want the space to look?
  • How do I want my guests to feel?
  • How do I want my guests to experience my home?

Yes, Wayne will design; but I still want to give him some inspiration and ideas. If I already have items that I can use, perfect. But in some cases I need to start fresh and buy everything new.

Budget Wisely:

Start with your budget, by budget, I mean not just how much you want to spend on each item but also how much you can charge for your Airbnb. What’s your competition? What other hosts are in your area, and what do they charge?

Don’t overspend on very expensive items if you may not be able to recoup the investment. Remember, you can always upgrade in the future.  I lived with a bathroom that I hated for over 10 years, and I finally upgraded about 5 years ago. My guests love the new renovation and mention it in their reviews, but it took me a while to do this upgrade. It’s my home and not simply a rental.

Be mindful of the money you want to spend and the money you’ll make. You want things to at least be balanced, if not more profitable in the long run. So where are you spending your money. Think about that and be savvy with your money.

Make Your List and Check It Twice:

When you’re making your list of the items you want to buy, think of replacement, usage, and lifespan.

This is one of the most important tips, because you can dive into questions of “I need this,” and “I need that.” There may be things you want but don’t actually need. So making that list before Amazon Prime starts on July 15th is super important.

If you’re starting out, you might be feeling overwhelmed and not realize what items are the most important—the things you actually need. Which is the reason for the essentials list that I created. I hope it will help you to think before you shop!

You can also listen to “Episode 3: Starting Your Brand New Airbnb,” where I go deep into everything you need . Another great episode is “52 Numbers that Matter: Is that Welcome Basket Worth It?” This is an interview with Flint Gardner, who started his Airbnb journey with an air mattress and just kept upgrading when he found out it would pay for itself. I love that strategy.

Sometimes, however, you’ve just gotta buy it all. Make that list, check it twice, and don’t forget the wine glasses and wine bottle opener.

Save Money by Shopping Smart:

In terms of the life span of an item, as you all know I love Target Threshold Performance sheets. Those are the ones you’ll see on the Essentials list.

  • They cost about $40 to $50 a set; but they last me for over 2 years, and sometimes more. A lot of wear!
  • They’re comfortable and don’t feel inexpensive.
  • They have top and bottom labels for an easy way to make the beds. Hey, we need those extra minutes for all of our other hosting tasks.
  • I have tried other brands of sheets, but I go back to the Target Threshold brand again and again.

Some items that I’m considering for the Puerto Rico Airbnb will be rust resistant, because a lot of stuff here gets rusty due to living near the ocean. Different climates bring about different issues to consider when you’re decorating, and rust was something that I didn’t really think about in NY.

This can also affect the lifespan of an item. I might spend a bit more; but if I’m not replacing it as often, then I’m not spending as much overall.

Save Time with Amazon Prime:

As much as we love to hate Amazon, there is a convenience factor to getting things overnight or as quickly as possible. During my big renovation that I spoke about in Episode 74 —Reviews: Learning, Adapting, and When to Say, No Thank You,  I got tons of items from Amazon. From the black faucet Wayne wanted to the stove hood. Hey, when the appliance guy said get the hood from Amazon, I was surprised as well.

There are plenty of times my cleaning person will say, “you need curtain liners,” or “you need this or that…” Amazon to the rescue. It’s there the next day. This is a great relief, especially when you have guests coming and going.

Unfortunately, in Puerto Rico the next day is more like a week later. But Puerto  Rico is an island surrounded by water, big water, ocean water so time moves a little differently here. Hehe.

Paying for Amazon Prime is worth it, and you also get to watch some good TV shows.

Mark Your Calendar:

Make sure that you place a reminder on your calendar, because you don’t want those sales to pass you by. I know, because It has happened to me.

Make it Easy for Your Tax Time:

It’s best to have one bank account and credit card for your Airbnb; but if you’re just starting out, I understand that you might not be there. Make sure that you’re clear about separating and labeling your receipts, because when tax time rolls around you don’t want to be wondering, Wait, was that receipt for my dishes or for the Airbnb? Are those my sheets or sheets for my guests? Is that my shower curtain?

If you can have one credit card just for your vacation rental expenses, it will make your life a lot easier.

So much to buy, so little time! It’s an adventure that we’re all embarking upon and that we can do wisely. So, download that Essentials list and check it twice.

Your Host,


PS: Want more…

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