Are you moving and need new appliances, or have you had one break recently and need to replace it?
Appliances can make or break your budget in two ways.
First of all, they can use up so much energy that they become a drain on your month-to-month electricity charges. Secondly, they can cost a small fortune just to purchase.
Here are some ideas to save you money on these large purchases.
Ways to Save on Appliances
- Ask for Appliances Up Front.
The easiest way to save money on appliances is to choose an apartment that comes with appliances (most do), or to negotiate them into your home contract. If the sellers have older appliances that are still functioning, ask if they will leave them in the home for you.
Most of the time sellers will want to purchase new appliances for their new home anyway, and if the appliances are older, you may be saving them some headache in storage and moving fees. If you are left with several appliances, then you can focus on purchasing newer appliances one at a time versus having to purchase them all at once.
- Finding the Balance Between Low Upfront Costs and Energy Efficiency.
It would be nice if we all had unlimited budgets to shop for the newest, best appliances. Because this is not the case for most of us, it is important to balance out saving money in upfront costs, and buying appliances with an Energy Star rating  which will cost more up front but will yield greater savings over its lifetime.
How should you prioritize your budget? Some appliances run 24 hours a day—a refrigerator or freezer—while others run on a need basis, such as a washer and dryer. It makes a lot of sense to spend the extra money up front on an energy efficient refrigerator; however, purchasing energy efficient washers and dryers may not be necessary. To make the washer and dryer more energy efficient, perhaps you could purchase an indoor/outdoor clothesline and run less loads of wash.
- Have Patience and Wait for the Energy Star Rebates to Come.
Patience can get you far in purchasing appliances . However, it should be noted that some appliances you cannot do without for long. Part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is the Energy Star Rebate program. States are being awarded out of a pot of $300 million allotted by this Act to be used for consumer rebates who purchase energy efficient appliances.
States began receiving this money in August 2009, and will receive the remainder of it by November 30, 2009. If you wait a few more months, chances are that you can get a rebate for purchasing more energy efficient products, which will save you both in upfront costs as well as in long-term electricity costs.
If you do not have time to wait, check with your electric company and see if they offer any rebates or discounts on energy star appliances. Many of them do. Also, search the Energy Star website  to see if any rebates are currently active in your area for specific models.
- Shop Outlets and Scratch and Dent Stores.
Here’s a secret to saving big bucks on appliances: scratch and dent stores. Once an appliance is shipped and taken out of its box, it is legally considered used. Sears, Lowe’s, Home Depot, etc. cannot take the product back and resell it as brand new.
This not only includes products that have been scratched or dented during shipment, but also products that are sent back because someone did not measure their space correctly, or decided that they do not want it after all. This is great news for the rest of us because these appliances end up at scratch and dent or outlet stores where you can find savings on brand new appliances between 40-70%!
As an example, my fiancée and I just went to a Sears Scratch and Dent outlet and found a brand new, stainless steel, Frigidaire refrigerator with an Energy Star rating for 50% off (original price was $1500; we got it for $755). It had one dent on the front door near the bottom. For an extra $60, we are having it delivered tomorrow.
- Purchase Floor Models.
If you see an appliance that you fall in love with, but the cost is just too high, check out the floor model. Typically stores will sell their floor models at a discount. Make sure you inspect the appliance from all angles and see if there are any dents/scratches/missing pieces, etc.
Then, decide what sort of discount you would like. Speak with a manager and use your negotiation skills. A lot of times managers are happy to be able to sell their floor models and recoup some of their costs.
- Purchase Used.
Another great way to find appliances is through Craigslist . There are always people who are moving cross country, who are looking to downsize, upgrade, or who just need money and they are selling their appliances at a percentage of what they paid in retail.
Depending on how you look at it, appliances can be very expensive burdens, or energy-saving investments. With the tips above and some planning on your part, you can save significant amounts of money both now and for years to come.
I would love to hear some of your own ideas and experiences in appliance shopping!