1. Don’t get stuck on just one model/brand
I started my appliance search online. I created a list of a few different models/brands and started pricing them with retailers. I checked back periodically until we got closer to being ready to buy. I was surprised when one of the models with the most bells and whistles came out to have the best deal (by far) during a holiday promotion.
2. Buy during a Holiday
Holidays are big business in retail. If you can plan your purchase around a holiday, you can save big. Think President’s Day (Feb.), Memorial Day (May), Labor Day (Sept.), Columbus Day (Oct.), Black Friday (Nov.), etc. This tip doesn’t replace the above advice, though. Be sure to price a range of items from multiple retailers. Just because it’s being advertised, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best deal.
3. Consider the whole purchase cost
When comparing prices, I had to be careful in considering the whole cost of the purchase, especially when thinking about purchasing online. This includes:
— Sales Tax —
When shopping online, check to see whether the retailer is required to charge you tax or not. Because most online retailers do not have to collect sales tax in states where they do not maintain a “physical presence”(varies state to state), this can make a huge difference in your total.
To incentivize customers to shop online, may retailers offer free shipping. Be sure to check the rules with this option though, and make sure the deliverer is prepared to bring the item inside your house, or up stairs.
— Additional Warranty Coverage —
If you’re wanting to spend big bucks, you may want to think about purchasing additional warranty coverage which can cover parts and labor above what the manufacturer offers. Check into the prices of these plans, as they vary store to store as well.
4. Find Discounts Online
If you’re considering buying online find out what kind of coupons or incentives you can apply to your order. Think about a few of the following options:
— Cash Back Sites —
I’m a huge fan of the cash-back sites, with my favorite being Ebates.com*. They are incredibly easy to use. All you have to do is surf in through the site to be eligible for a small percentage of your purchase being credited back to you. Even though you’re sometimes only getting back 2%, with large purchases, it adds up quick.
— Email Sign-Up Discounts —
If you are willing to give your email address, many retailers will offer a coupon for joining their mailing list. This can mean huge savings, especially for companies that have fewer promotions on the items you plan to purchase. We used a coupon code on some of our lighting purchases. Plan ahead though, some coupons take a few days to arrive in your inbox.
— Rewards Programs —
Retailers love return business. Some have rewards programs, offering discounts on future orders. For instance we took advantage of both Overstock.com‘s and Build.com‘s programs and were able to apply reward dollars toward future purchases.
5. Are you elgible for rebates or tax incentives?
Check with your electric or gas company to see if they offer rebates or incentives programs. Usually these are linked to upgrading to Energy Star and/or recycling old appliances. Tax incentives vary year to year, but a good place to check is here. Don’t forget about these come tax time!
6. Will you save in energy costs by buying this appliance?
Speaking of Energy Star, if you are replacing your refrigerator, they have a handy online calculator that can tell you how much money you can save by upgrading to a newer, more efficient model. Every penny counts and it may be in your best interests to swap out your appliances sooner rather than later.
7. Are you eligible for store discounts?
Are you a veteran or senior citizen? It may be good to see what sort of discounts you would be eligible for by doing a quick google search. You might be surprised at what you can save and where, appliance shopping or otherwise!
8. Buy appliances together in a package
Some of the bigger appliance brands often run promotions that save you money if you bundle a couple different same-branded appliances together. This is particularly helpful if you are replacing all or most of your kitchen appliances at the same time. Fair warning, you probably have to make the purchase all at once to be eligible for these discounts, and if other stores have better deals on certain appliances, your savings may not add up.
Additionally, if you are considering purchasing a few appliances through a big box store, see what they can do about giving you a volume discount.
9. Consider financing
If you’re short on cash now, you may be able to save on interest by putting it on a store card and taking advantage of special financing. This allows you to pay for the appliance monthly over an extended period of time at low or no interest. Be sure you can handle the extra monthly payments the store credit card would bring, and pay off the item before the promotional period ends to avoid paying interest.
10. Ask for a discount
Like I mentioned before, I researched several different appliance scenarios online when it came time to purchase our appliances. I had strategized to get the best deals, calculating discounts from Ebates, considering tax, and other incentives I could receive to get the best total price. In a last-ditch effort, we asked a big box store department manager if he would price match our online deals (which wasn’t exactly their store policy). He agreed, and even coupled the price match with my husband’s 10% veterans’ discount. We saved at least $800 off MSRP for one item alone. We learned it never hurts to ask!
Saving money is moot if you don’t get an appliance that’s dependable and durable. Something we always do before making a big purchase is to check out Consumer Reports for reviews. For a small fee, you can read detailed stats online for a variety of items. If they don’t offer review information for the specific model you’re considering, check out other models for the same brand. I also like to refer to their brand ratings for reliability– how often does a company’s products’ need repair compared to other brands? Consumer Reports also puts out a magazine.
Alternatively, ask friends and relatives… Have they purchased any appliances lately? What model did they buy? Are they happy with it? Ask specific questions you may be concerned about… If you’re purchasing a washing machine, for instance, you may want to ask about noise levels or if it offers a particular feature.
*(Contains our referral link!)