One of the most common questions I get asked is How To Save On Appliances. It’s a complicated question although it seems like it shouldn’t be. People have very specific preferences on appliances so 90% of the time I get “that was a good suggestion but…” followed by the list of reasons my suggestions don’t apply to them.
So I wrote this post with nine ways to save on appliances. And then I ended it with a story about the biggest savings I ever helped someone achieve on an appliance purchase. It’s a 9 step process that involved some creativity, patience and alot of beer but it was a pretty significant chunk of change saved.
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How To Save on Appliances
1. Buy An Open Box Appliance– Did you know that you can see Best Buy’s Open Box Appliances online? They are guaranteed to work properly, covered under warranty and can be returned or exchanged. Your local store may also have some on the sales floor but there is a better selection online.
2. Buy A Returned Appliance– I know for sure Lowe’s and Best Buy have these out on their sales floors in most locations. I am sure almost any store that sells appliances will have these out because honestly they would take up a ton of room in the back and are far more likely to be sold if people can see them.
3. Buy A Scratch and Dent Appliance– While some appliances are in really bad shape this way some aren’t. In my old condo I had a scratch and dent stove and never had any idea what was wrong with it. I also had a microwave that had a dent in the back (?) so once we hung it from the cabinets you couldn’t see it. They were purchased at a local appliance chain and not one of the big stores.
4. Shop The Rebate Centers– Both Lowe’s (click here to check it out) and Home Depot (click here to check it out) have rebate centers online. They are always good to check when picking models to see if there are rebates available. Submit the rebate form within 30 days of your purchase to get your Visa cards. The process is the same at both Lowe’s and Home Depot. The only downside is rebates tend to be for groups of appliances, meaning you only get the rebate if you’re buying 2-4 appliances at a time.
5. Use Cash for Appliances Program– The U.S. government wants to give you a few bucks in the form of a rebate when you trade in your old large appliances at an Energy Star partner. Most stores offer an instant rebate if you’re buying an Energy Star appliance. In this case, they’ll apply for the rebate on your behalf and give you the discount right there at the register. Enter your zip code to see what sort of appliances qualify for rebates in your state.
6. Price Match– Most major stores will now price match. Know where the lowest price is on the item you want and you can take it into your local store and save even more.
7. Buy at Certain Times of Year– Memorial Day, Labor Day and (depending on what you want) Black Friday are the great holidays for buying appliances.
8. Buy Used– While I don’t know I would suggest doing this with every appliance I would with things like deep freezers. Simple appliances with few functions could be purchased used easily through Marketplace rooms on social media or resale apps.
9. Check The Delivery Prices– Often if you buy during a sale, or find a coupon you can get the delivery charge reduced or dismissed. You can also often negotiate the delivery charge down or get it waived, but that’s not always the case. Also, be sure you know whether your delivery charge includes placement and installation of your appliances in addition to delivery. Otherwise, you may be paying extra to have them professionally installed.
The Best Deal I Ever Did (This is NOT for the Faint of Heart):
So I want to start this story and let you know this was NOT me buying an appliance. I highly doubt I would have jumped through all of these hoops but the friend whom I helped did. Through some circumstances I won’t get into he made a mistake and ruined his fridge which he had only had for about a year. There wasn’t money in savings to get a new one and he was really mad about it so he was willing to do whatever it took to save even a few pennies. It makes it a great exercise in saving money but not in lowering your stress levels. This took about 20 days to do from top to bottom and he was using a college sized fridge in his house for that time!
- Find the product you want– So the first thing he did was make trips to all the stores to be sure he knew what he wanted. This plan doesn’t work with “we will find it at the best price at whatever store.” He knew he wanted a black side by side fridge with an ice machine and water maker on the front. That REALLY narrowed it down. So he knew he was going to have to get it at one of only three stores because they were the only ones who had it.
- Discount Gift Cards– One he had narrowed down the stores (this is when I got involved) step 2 was to try to find discounted gift cards for those stores online. After a brief search we decided the easiest one to find larger gift cards for with the deepest discounts was Lowe’s.
- Signed Up For Ebates (Now Rakuten)– He had never signed up for Ebates. For those of you who aren’t familiar Ebates (now Rakuten) is a site that lets you click through their links and get a small amount of cash back on purchases. He got $25 for doing that if he spent a certain amount of money in 60 days. That wasn’t going to be a problem since he needed about $800 in gift cards. They still offer a bonus for signing up.
- Used Raise.com for Discount Gift Cards– Once he was signed up for Ebates (so he could get 2% back on the gift cards) he went through them to grab discounted gift cards on Raise. They had a deal very similar to what they have right now- get $10 off when you spend $100 on gift cards. So we went through Raise and found the Lowe’s gift cards with the biggest discount amount (I think it was about 2.5%) and he bought up to a safe amount for the refrigerator. This was before e-cards were super popular so we had to wait for the cards to arrive in the mail.
- We Got The Price Match– So Lowe’s has a 30 Day Price Match Guarantee. And at the time (they no longer do this) it was actually 110%. It is now 100%. We had found the refrigerator cheaper on sale at a competitor so we needed to do a price match. We went into the store and got the price match in writing for the day of the purchase. Once we had that it was good for 30 days (this policy is the same). We had to wait because….
- He Applied For a Moving Packet at Post Office– Back in the day Lowe’s coupons were super rare (not that they flow freely now). About the only place you could get them was in a moving packet at the post office. And you had to apply and wait for it to show up in the mail. It contained a coupon for 10% off at Lowe’s.
- We Finally Bought The Refrigerator– So on the day of the purchase we headed to Lowe’s with a stack of discounted gift cards, a 10% off coupon and a price matching form. At the time we did this Lowe’s price matching policy did not specifically say you could not stack price matching with a coupon and that was what he wanted them to do. (It specifically says that now that they do not.) He was ready to get into a bit of a scuff but they did it with no arguing. So he was able to price match, use the 10% off coupon AND pay with discounted gift cards. Plus he had money coming back from Ebates (now Rakuten) at the end of the quarter.
- He Found A Friend With A Truck and A Dolly– Rather than paying for delivery he used some labor who would work for beer and brought it to his own house. With some cussing they got the old one out into the yard and the new one in the kitchen.
- He Found Someone To Pick Up The Old One For Scrap– And then somewhere he found someone who picked up the old fridge who did it for free because they were going to get money from the scrap.
I wish I could tell you I specifically remember the pricing of everything to give you firm numbers but I don’t. But I do know that it was about as big of a discount I could figure out for him to get when he would ONLY take a black side by side fridge with an ice machine and water maker on the front. It left very little flexibility in choosing models or trying to find deals.
I just got a scratch and dent fridge from Lowe’s for 75% off the original price! We got a $2,600 fridge for $667 plus paid the $78 3-year warranty!!