Money

You Pay Too Much For Your Appliances: How to Stop, the Ultimate Guide

Neon Sign of the word "Appliances" with a neon washing machine unerneath

I can almost guarantee that you’ve probably paid too much for every appliance in your house. People pay too much for 6 simple reasons:

  1. They don’t pick a reliable appliance
  2. They don’t take advantage of coupons and cash back offers
  3. They don’t shop around
  4. They don’t buy at the right time
  5. They don’t take advantage of energy savings and energy rebates
  6. They don’t take advantage of free extended warranties

I will tell you how to avoid each of these pitfalls, step by step and save loads of money, next time you buy an appliance, whether it be a refrigerator, dishwasher, range, oven, freezer, washing machine, dryer or toaster!

 1. Choose a reliable appliance

People tend to buy appliances based on features alone.  However, to get the best value, you should buy something that works well and will last for a long time.

Buying an unreliable or faulty appliance that needs to be replaced will end up costing you a lot more, even if you save a few dollars right now. Here’s how to choose the best value appliance for you:

Look to an independent ratings source like Consumer Reports or Consumer Search.  You can subscribe to Consumer Reports on-line or check your local library for the magazine. Consumer Search is a free website, but has less detailed information than Consumer Reports.  Start by looking at the “best buys” or “best bets” which have already been identified as the best cross between features, reliability and value.  If one or more of those suits you, note down the model numbers and proceed to the next step.  If not, look though the detailed ratings to find a unit within your budget that has good to excellent reliability and performance.  Yale Appliance also publishes a series on appliance reliability that is interesting.

Appliance Reviews can be deceiving!  Most reviews for appliances happen when a consumer purchases the appliance.  If an appliance has horrible reviews, it’s certainly a reason to avoid it.  However, if it has positive reviews – do not be deceived – in most cases they just mean “I liked this and here’s what I think of it during the first month of its life”.

Let’s break it down.

New dishwasher: $500

Lasts 10 years: $50/year

Lasts 5 years: $100/year

Taking a few minutes to not choose one of the “worst of the worst” can really save you money, by not needing to purchase appliances as often.  Skip this step and you could increase your appliance spend by 100% or more!

2. Take advantage of coupons and cash-back offers

I have saved hundreds of dollars on appliances recently by using coupons and cash-back offers.  On just about any appliance you buy, you should be able to save an extra 1-5% easily by purchasing through a cash back site.  Coupons could save you 10-20% or more.  You should always use both if you can.  Most of these types of offers require making the appliance on-line, but you can still buy from a local, reputable retailer for pick-up or delivery.

Coupons

You can regularly find coupons on ebay for big-box appliance stores like Lowe’s, Home Depot, Best Buy and others.  You might have to pay a few dollars to get one of these coupons, but they can save you dozens, if not hundreds of dollars.  Look for coupons that you can use online so that you can combine the coupon + cash back (we’ll talk about that next).   Many stores will accept the coupons of their competitors in-store, if you find that an in-store purchase will provide you with the best savings.

Retail Me Not is also a good source for on-line appliance store coupons, however the coupons are few and far between.  It never hurts to look, though generally you are going to be better off purchasing a coupon on eBay than waiting for a public coupon to be available.

Cash Back

This is one of the easiest ways to save a significant amount of money.

If you’ve never signed up for Mr. Rebates, go sign up right now and get a $5 bonus!.  Mr. Rebates will give you cash back on just about any online shopping you do!  Most of the time you can get a gift card and/or cash back just by signing up.  In addition to that, these cash back sites will be a huge help to you as you seek to save on your appliance and as you make other purchases in the future on any on-line shopping site.  It always pays to check these sites for cash back before making any type of on-line purchase!

Here are some sample cash back amounts that you can save on top of the money you are already saving by using a coupon, buying during a sale, etc

  • Abt: 3% off at Mr. Rebates.  That’s an extra $30 off a $1000 appliance!
  • Lowe’s: 2% off at Mr. Rebates.  That’s an extra $20 off a $1000 appliance!
  • Home Depot: 2% off at Mr. Rebates.  That’s an extra $20 off a $1000 appliance!
  • Sears: 1% off at Mr. Rebates.  That’s an extra $10 off a $1000 appliance!
  • Best Buy: 0.5% off at Mr. Rebates.  That’s an extra $5 off a $1000 appliance!

Follow these steps to make sure you get your cash back:

  • Bookmark the page for the appliance(s) that you wish to buy.
  • Write down any coupon codes that you may have found or purchased.
  • Clear your cookies in your browser or open a totally different web browser than you have been using (for example, if you are in Chrome, open Internet Explorer.  If you are in Internet Explorer, open Chrome).
  • Go to Mr. Rebates and search for the store you wish to purchase from.  Click on the store to activate the cash back.
  • Find your appliance(s) and add them to your cart.
  • Proceed to the checkout and enter your coupon codes.
  • Finish the checkout.  In a few days, the cash back will be posted to your Mr. Rebates account.

If you have questions with any of these steps, please leave me a question below in the comment section.

3. Shop Around

Take the appliance model information and use a search tool to help you find a good price on your appliance.  The best tool to use is Google shopping.  Type your model number into Google Shopping to see the price comparison from several different stores. Especially look for stores that will take the Cash Back offers and/or Coupon offers that you discovered.

If you are a member of a warehouse club like Sam’s Club or Costo, check their website to see if they have any deals on the models you are looking for.

If you have more time than you have money: Call around to local appliance stores to find out if they have one of the models you are looking for in their scratch & dent / clearance / floor model inventory, and get a price to compare with everything else you have found.

Please remember not to get distracted by other models – stick with those models that have been tested and have proven reliable.  Do not get suckered into buying another (perhaps similar) scratch & dent or floor model that isn’t a known quality or reliable performer.

Here’s a simple table to help you track some options for the total appliance cost:

Store NameBase PriceDelivery ChargeCoupon SavingsCash BackTotal Price

((Base Price + Delivery fee – Coupon Savings ) x (-Cash Back %) + 1) = Total Cost
For example, (( $500 + $50 – $55) x (-3% + 1)) = 480.15 Total Cost

When you shop around, ask about price matching

Many stores will price match other stores.  Price matching can be useful for several reasons:

  • The store that has the appliance on sale is out of that appliance, but you still want it
  • The store that has the lowest price has a poor reputation
  • The store that has the lowest price has a delivery charge or doesn’t deliver to your area
  • The store that you want to buy from has an incentive/discount when you purchase a certain dollar amount of appliances

4. Choose the right time to buy

If it is possible to time your appliance purchase then you should consider waiting until a prime purchasing opportunity arises.  I realize that you may have a crisis and may not be able to wait.  If so, that’s fine, because if you follow the rest of the steps you’ll still save a lot of money!

If you can wait here are some of the best times to get appliance deals:

The weekends of:

  • Presidents Day,
  • Columbus Day,
  • St. Patrick’s Day,
  • Memorial Day,
  • Labor Day,
  • Independence Day and
  • Thanksgiving.

Check other holiday weekends for sales as well – the ones listed are the most common. Also, September & October tend to be better months – as new models are introduced, old models begin to be marked down.

5. Choose an Energy Saving Appliance and Energy Rebates

Energy Saving Appliance

When comparing highly rated appliances, consider the energy use of the various choices.  If a particular model can provide energy savings to offset or reduce its cost below the other choices, you may want to strongly consider it.

You may (or may not) pay slightly more up front for an energy efficient appliance, but the payback could be significant.  To see how much you can save, try one of these calculators:

In addition to these calculators, you can look to the “EnergyGuide” that is included with every appliance.

Only pay attention to Energy Savings when you can get a payback in 4 years or less.  Any payback that is longer than 4 years is not significant enough to be a deciding factor – unless you can further reduce your purchase price by taking advantage of energy rebates.

Energy Rebates & Tax Savings

Stacking on top of all of the other items in this series, you can apply an additional layer of savings by taking advantage of energy rebates & tax savings.

Not everyone will have these available to them.  Generally, these rebates require buying an Energy Star or CEE tier certified appliance.

Here are places you can look to see if rebates & tax savings are available to you:

Rebates & tax savings can vary from a few dollars all the way up to hundreds of dollars.  This is easy money, so remember to include this important step.

As a reminder, most appliances are fairly energy efficient these days, so if the energy savings in 4 years + rebates + tax savings don’t lower the cost of an energy certified appliance below the cost of one of the other quality tested appliances that you are considering, disregard these incentives and save yourself money by choosing another energy efficient (but not certified) appliance.

6.They don’t take advantage of free extended warranties

Did you know you can get a free extended warranty on just about anything you buy, and you probably already have the key to do it in your pocket?

Most credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, American Express) offer a warranty extension of 1 year on appliances.  Considering most appliances will need a repair within 1 year of when the warranty expires, this free extended warranty is one you won’t want to miss out on.

To be sure your card has extended warranty coverage, call the customer service number on the back of your card.

Costco offers a standard 2-year warranty on most appliances they sell.  Even if you’re not a Costco member, consider becoming one if they have appliances that you’ve deemed are reliable and worthwhile to purchase.  Not only will Costco deliver the appliances to you for free, but they also extend the manufacturer’s warranty on most appliances from 1 year to 2 years.  Add your Credit Card extended warranty to this and you could have a free 3-year warranty on your appliance!

In Closing

We covered several ways that you can save significant amount of money on your appliance purchase:

  1. They don’t pick a reliable appliance
  2. They don’t take advantage of coupons and cash back offers
  3. They don’t shop around
  4. They don’t buy at the right time
  5. They don’t take advantage of energy savings and energy rebates
  6. They don’t take advantage of free extended warranties

Though these are all important, don’t forget to take advantage of the cash back offers as those are the most commonly forgotten – but they can save you dozens or even hundreds of dollars off of even sale prices.

If you have any questions or feedback, please leave it in the comments below.   Happy appliance shopping!

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