This isn’t a popular financial concern for most people, most of the time – until it is. After all, most appliances last for many years, so we don’t need to purchase them on a regular basis.
However, it’s precisely because they do last so long that we can get hit with sticker shock when it comes time to buy. If the last refrigerator you purchased, for example, was 15 years ago, you may be surprised to find that a $500 replacement unit isn’t available anymore. The “new and improved” models are now going for two, three, even four times as much – particularly with the new European-style environmentally friendly models that are so popular now.
One of the advantages that we all have in buying appliances is that they do last so long, and that seems to be true irrespective of the amount of money to pay for them. For that reason, when it does come time to buy a major appliance, first consider all of your options before making the purchase.
Buy floor models
Appliance retailers typically offer substantial discounts if you purchase a floor (or display) model. This can be true even on high end units.
Last year we had to replace our washing machine, and for that matter our clothes dryer was getting a little bit long in the tooth as well. We searched for weeks to find a suitable washing machine, only to find that the prices were routinely in excess of $1,000. Now I don’t know but you, but I’m not comfortable having that much cash tied up in a washing machine, so we consider our options…and waited.
One day we went into Best Buy looking for one or two small items. Lo and behold, in the middle of the appliance section, was an Amana washer–dryer combination. Brand-new, but display models, and the combined price was only $584. We could easily have paid more than that just for a washing machine, but this was our lucky day.
We took no more than a few minutes to make our decision. Based on our homework, this was a steal. Though they were floor models, both units were in perfect condition. And we were able to sell our dryer to recover part of the purchase price. Just over a year later the appliances are performing beautifully.
Ours is just one example of how you can save money on appliances by buying floor models – but people do this kind of thing every day.
Buy secondhand appliances
If you’re patient, and have a nose for a bargain, you can often get an excellent deal buying secondhand appliances. This will mean paying more attention to classified ads, as well as following rumors of available units. You can typically buy decent quality appliances for just a fraction of what you would pay brand-new.
This can be especially beneficial if you’re looking for a backup unit – like a freezer or a second refrigerator – or you only need a certain appliance on an interim basis. For example, let’s say that you are planning on moving to a new city next year, but your refrigerator craps out now. Rather than buying a brand-new unit, you can buy a secondhand refrigerator that will cover you from now until then. You may even be able to resell it for something comparable to what you paid for, and if you can it will have cost you nothing.
Buy through “dings and dents” dealers
“Dings and dents” is a common appliance industry term for units that are slightly damaged. The appliance retailers will typically give you a significant discount on such a unit, because they are virtually un-salable as brand-new units. But in fact the units are brand-new, they just might have some scratches or chips that make other buyers turn away.
You can ask a retailer if they have dings and dents appliances in stock. If they don’t, they probably have an outlet within the chain that does. There are also appliance dealers who sell only slightly damaged units at substantial discounts. And since many appliances are hidden away out of plain sight in your home, the dings and dents won’t even be an issue.
Buy on sale
I saved this one for last because it’s so obvious. But this goes beyond simply looking for retailers putting specific items on sale. You should visit the website of the major appliance dealer before making any purchases. There may be specials that they don’t advertise in the media, or even in the store. Check around with every appliance dealer in town, to see who has the best prices.
Most of us don’t follow the appliance market on a regular basis, and have to go from a standing start when it comes to finding the best deals. But never neglect doing your homework – and looking for sales wherever they may be – before making your purchase. You can save hundreds of dollars by doing so – and that’s money that can be invested in more productive assets.