We recently replaced our old refrigerator. It’s not that the appliance was on the verge of breaking down; it’s just that I am very risk adverse and I figured that, with the recent spate of supply chain issues, I figured we’d get a jump on any potential shortages and buy one now, while our old friend was still working.
Then again, a “working” refrigerator is in the eye of the beholder. The ice maker started working intermittently; and the door stops were broken long ago by my kids who, in their younger years, used to open the refrigerator doors as if they were getting inside a 1972 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham.
Anyway, after doing our research the Honeybee and I ended up getting a terrific deal because we took our time and did our homework.
With that in mind, here are 19 ways to help ensure you get the best deal too when buying your home appliances.
1. Become Star-struck. Buy Energy Star labeled appliances, which are certified as meeting government requirements for energy efficiency. Products with the Energy Star label not only result in lower utility bills, but also often entitle the buyer to utility company rebates.
2. Sign up for store email updates. Many stores will often provide exclusive information via email of special promotions like midnight sales or other limited online-only deals.
3. Take advantage of price match guarantees. Don’t be fooled by store tags that proclaim it’s the “Lowest Price – Guaranteed!” Most large retailers have price match guarantees that will also give you an additional 10% off the difference or – better yet – the price itself, so spend a few hours and shop around!
4. Think outside the box. Big box retailer, that is. You can often find great deals on appliances at Habitat for Humanity resale outlets and Craigslist.
5. Use a military discount. When my water heater needed replacement last year I discovered that Lowes offers a 10% discount to members of the military. Always ask if the store you are shopping at offers one.
6. Get moving. If you’re in the process of moving, both Home Depot and Lowe’s sometimes offer 10% “movers” discount coupons that can be used on appliances.
7. Embrace imperfections. Most retailers offer surprisingly steep discounts for appliances with minor scratches and dents.
8. Think package deals. Offering to purchase multiple appliances from the same location usually gives you plenty of leverage to negotiate additional discounts.
9. Buy a floor model. It’s no secret that floor models are sold at a discount compared to the pristine versions sitting in the backroom. What isn’t as widely known is that you can often extract another 10% or more off the price the manager initially quotes you.
10. Be flexible with your delivery schedule. If you can wait until the delivery truck can go out fully loaded – as opposed to nearly empty – you may be able to get those delivery charges waived. If they won’t waive the charges, see if they’ll give you a discount or offer a rebate.
11. Go postal. The post office will sometimes include discount coupons in their change of address packets.
12. Wax nostalgic (for last year’s model). Big discounts are available for people who are willing to take the previous year’s models off a retailer’s hands. And let’s face it, how many of us would notice the difference anyway? The best time to employ this strategy is during September and October, when the new appliance models generally come out.
13. Haggle. Don’t be afraid to haggle! After all, the worst that any salesman can say is “no.” I even haggled at Lowe’s when buying my last barbecue – although it was with a floor manager, not the sales associate. To be sure you get the lowest prices, when comparison shopping, hit those establishments that pay commissions to their sales staff last.
14. Keep it white. Stainless steel finishes can often cost an extra $200 or more.
15. Remember, (same as) cash is king. As long as you pay off the loan in full before the end of the promotional period, 0% financing allows you to keep your money in the bank and earn a little interest – which ends up being a de facto discount on your purchase.
16. Use a cash dividend rewards credit card. Speaking of de facto discounts, you can also take advantage of a cash-dividend rewards credit card to get a percent or two off the purchase price – as long as you pay off your credit cards in full at the end of the month, of course.
17. Leverage gift card discounts. By using gift cards to pay for your appliances you can usually take advantage of special deals offered at locations like supermarkets and other stores. For example, you can often buy $100 gift cards to stores like Best Buy for $90.
18. Avoid the extended warranty. Generally, if something is going to go wrong with your new appliances, it’s going to happen under the original manufacturer’s warranty period – not during the extended warranty period. But if you are still unsure, try applying this extended warranty litmus test.
19. Turn that old appliance in to your utility company. You can often help defray the cost of your new refrigerator by taking advantage of utility company rebates for old refrigerators in good working order.
So that’s it; the more of these tips you use, the bigger your appliance savings will be. In fact, you can get a significant multiplier effect if you use enough of these tips.
Hopefully, you don’t have to worry about the kids treating your new refrigerator like it was an old Cadillac.
Little House says
Excellent tips. I might be buying a fridge soon and these savings ideas will come in handy! I’d also add take advantage of stores offering 0% APR for so many months on purchase of X amount of dollars. As long as the appliance gets paid off BEFORE interest accrues, it works out to the benefit of the purchaser.
Greg McFarlane says
This is why Len’s is my favorite personal finance site whose initials aren’t “CYC”: practical advice you can act on.
Money Reasons says
Wow, some of these I’ve never heard of before!!!
Thanks for the great list!!! I just had a friend recently take advantage of the postal coupons. He’s moving and in their change-of-address kit, they have Lowes and Home Depot coupons!
I purchased a new fridge a couple of years ago and one thing I noticed is that the Energy-Star rating measures the amount of energy it takes to refrigerate per cubic measure. I compared a smaller fridge with one that was energy-star and I found that the smaller one used a lot less electricity per year. Since I’m single, I didn’t need a big fridge. So even though I didn’t buy the Energy-Star rated fridge, I got one that costs me a lot less per year to run.
Everyday Tips says
Great tips! We ended up remodeling the kitchen a couple years ago after buying our new fridge. 😀
I bought a refrigerator with an ice maker this time, which was the best thing with all the sports my kids are in.
One more suggestion would be to measure the space available for that appliance. I almost bought a fridge that never would have fit based on the niche that was built in the refrigerator.
Len! What great timing. We recently finished renovating one of our rental units and need to find appliances. Initially, I thought we had to buy new because, well, my family has had bad experiences with used cars (back in the 1980s) and still hesitant to buy anything used, but if we can get any kind of discount, it’s worth it.
Definitely agree on avoiding the extreme warranty. Just go for a solid brand that doesn’t have a history of breaking down. I also think, like with most things, to get with the previous year’s model. Same deal with cars for example. Probably not as smart of an idea with things whose technology changes really easily like computers, but appliances definitely pass the test.
Karen Kinnane says
Andrew, PLEASE HELP ME! ” Just go for a solid brand that doesn’t have a history of breaking down.” Name a couple please! Everyone I know talks about what poor quality new appliances are. We had a GE refrigerator from the 1970s for decades, it refused to die. Now what brand do you recommend?
Retired by 40 says
Is that your stove in the pic? (creepy, I know) If it is, I’m having stove envy…..Anyways, we bought just a basic white stove for our house, that was being clearanced out because it had a ding in it, and then used a 10% military discount with it. Kind of the same thing without dishwasher (retails for $800 normally) that was on clearance for $450 because the pump had gone out (it had been replaced when we bought it) and when it was returned to the store, the bottom (kickplate?) was missing. Still, after the 10% military discount and $50 that I just asked to be knocked off, we only paid $377 for an $800 dishwasher. Great tips!
Len Penzo says
LOL! Nope. That’s a stock photo!
Good thing. That is not an Italian family sized cooking kitchen. Not enough room for everybody at once. A lady I knew here called it a “one butt” kitchen.
Len Penzo says
Would you believe my first house had a kitchen that was even tighter than the one in the picture? It was basically a 8-foot long hallway with a stove, pantry and very small counter on one side and a sink and refrigerator on the other.
Out of all the necessities at home, our appliances are some of the most expensive items to purchase. Saving money when you buy home appliances is always a goal for all home owners like me who want to get the best deal, but also want quality in our appliance investments.
buying giftcards for large purchases is one of the best tips on your list. I try to do this all the time.
Cardcash.com is where I buy mine. I buy petco cards for an automatic 18-22% discount on cat food, restaurant cards for 10-15% off an evening out, and auto zone for 22% off windshield wipers and random needed parts.
Cardcash.com is great. Like you, we use them all of the time. Great discounts on stores that we use. Lowes gift cards can be purchased at a 10% discount. They also send out a weekly email that adds an extra n% to selected cards. We are big fans.
Wow, amazing what a difference stainless steel makes in price. Never knew you could buy a fridge at habitat for humanity, though I have gotten some great furniture from Craigslist!
We use the internet to check out prices. We, also buy items off reliable sites such as Amazon. Checking prices and using coupons takes extra time.
I’m planning to buy my mom a new refrigerator because our old refrigerator was kinda old. And I heard on the TV commercial that if we would bring our old appliances then we would have a rebate for the new appliances.
When my wife (girlfriend at the time) needed a TV and DVD player, I made it a point to scan the ads for the next month looking for a lower price. I ended up finding one and we went back to the store, showed them the price, and get credited the difference.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago and we needed a TV for the bedroom. We bought a floor model, that was scratched (on the back of the TV no less – it took me 10 minutes just to find it) and was last years model. We ended up saving over 50% on the TV.
David Moore says
Paul S says
A couple more tips:
I found that a local furniture store beat Home Depot by a considerable amount for the exact same product. I was also doing price research around Black Friday events and they reduced the price even more to match, their offer. I did not have to haggle about these options. I conducted all research by internet, email, and finally phone. Since I live 50 miles from ‘town’, the only gas used was picking up the appliance with my truck.
The old fridge was dropped off at our local community cleanup that happens 3X per year. Anyone who wanted a beer fridge was free to take it away, including Habitat.
Bridge Stone says
When shopping for used or new appliance, look around and compare prices at several places like appliances stores and furniture warehouses as well as the bulletin boards where live or work.These tips that you have shared are truly helpful to save money when purchasing appliances.
Wow! Awesome piece of information. I always prefer to collect information, check different discounts offered by retailers and online shopping stores before buying different home appliances to save money. Your stuff is really super awesome and very helpful too.
These are awesome tips.
Hi,thanks for the tips! Ive been having a lot of trouble with my old refrigerator. I love that its an older fridge, because it has that vintage look that I like, but it uses a lot of electricity. It would be nice to have a new fridge thats more energy efficient
Vicky Durrant says
My husband and I are going to be renovating our kitchen over the summer, and one of the things that we have planned to do is update all of our appliances. Neither of us have ever purchased appliances before, though, so I’m happy that I found your tips! I especially liked what you mentioned about purchasing Energy Star labeled appliances. Not only are the efficient, but we could get a rebate for them, too! I’ve got to tell my husband about this! Thank you for the advice!
Len Penzo says
My pleasure, Vicky.
Thanks for the tips on buying appliances. We are remodeling our whole kitchen, so I need some help. I hadn’t thought about signing up for store email updates, but that would be great for finding deals!
Kenneth Gladman says
I like that you mentioned using your military discount. I always remember to ask wherever I am shopping if they offer it. Even if they don’t they sometimes will offer some sort of discount for your services. It is worth asking.
Nick Manan says
Good article. You cannot beat getting the best quality appliances you can afford!
We’re in the market for a few new appliances, and I really like the idea you listed here. I’ll have to make sure we shop around and see what we can get!
Thanks for the tips. This is a very informative and great list. Recently, I have been thinking to buy a refrigerator. So when I buy one, I will thoroughly follow your instruction and let you know!
A big yes on taking advantage of price match offers. You can save a lot of cash with them if you know where to look.
RD Blakeslee says
“…I am very risk adverse…” – Len
Alternative to best price shopping: Long, reliable service life.
Almost all the refrigerator compressor – heat exchange units on the U.S. market are made by a single company in China . Ten-year longevity is guaranteed in some refrigerator brands.
The Germany appliance company Miele has a track record in Europe: Twenty year lifetime for its refrigerators. I can’t attest to that longevity personally, I haven’t owned Miele’s appliances long enough, but our refrigerator, dishwasher and washing machine have worked very well, so far.
Caveat: Miele is not well established in the U.S. and service is not available everywhere here.
Len Penzo says
I think most refrigerators should make it at least 15 years, if not 20 … I think they have a better chance of getting there if they aren’t moved from one place to another.