Episode 34: April 14, 2010
by Linsey Knerl
Tax time has many people looking to upgrade their fridge, stove, or washer/dryer set, but this may not be the best time to get the best deal Read on for ways you can save this time of year--or any time!
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How to Save Money on Appliances
Though most experts agree that the best months to buy a major appliance are September and October, you can still get major savings at other times of the year (like now – when your tax refund may still be in hand.) How? First, you can catch a holiday weekend sale. Though the most notable holidays will often produce the biggest sales (Christmas and Fourth of July, for example), you can still score big on some of the smaller holidays, such as Columbus Day, President’s Day, and the upcoming Mother’s and Memorial Days! Stock up on sale flyers to see what big name brands will be slashing prices, and don’t forget to bring in ads from competitors to take advantage of price matching.
Should You Buy “Scratch & Dent” Products?
I have a beautiful cherry red front-loading washer and dryer set, and it is perhaps one of the nicest items in my home. About a week after getting it, however, my family accidentally put a large scratch in the side of the washer when trying to negotiate some furniture through the laundry room door. My point? The pair still function divinely, and the scratch is hardly noticeable. If I were to pick up an already “scratched” pair from an appliance dealer, however, I could have saved some major cash!
Most stores have a special section set aside for their “scratch and dent” and display model appliances. Though the savings won’t be knee-buckling, you can usually get at least 10-15% off the regular price (which can translate into a nice bit of savings on both your purchase and the sales tax). If you don’t see any “scratch and dent” goods already on the sales floor, don’t forget to ask. Sometimes they are hiding in the back just waiting to be claimed.
Save Money on Appliances by Buying at Big Box Stores
If you catch wind that your favorite retailer is having a store-wide remodel, run--don’t walk--to see what may be marked down.
Big box wholesale stores offer more than just giant jars of pickles and jumbo boxes of diapers. They also tend to present more than a few affordable buying options for the discerning buyer looking for a good deal on a fridge, stove, or chest freezer. Though their prices aren’t always competitive (be sure to look around), and they don’t honor price matching, they do have some other nice features that can bring a price down considerably (free shipping or delivery, for example). Remember to look online for items that may not be on display at your nearest retail location.
Forget about Renting to Own
Perhaps of the biggest scams in consumer shopping options is the rent-to-own option. Many appliances are purchased that way, but the savings just aren’t there. Though you think you may be getting great deal by paying just $20 a week for that washer/dryer pair, you have to read the small print to find out what you’re really paying after interest is figured in. With many rent-to-own chains charging finance fees that rival even the worst credit card, you may be in for a rude awakening come payday.
Find Cheaper Appliances on Craigslist
Not only does the popular online classified site offer some excellent-condition used items, but it sometimes also provides listings from outlet centers and discount chains that are having a hard time unloading a glut of new appliances (air-conditioners, for example). Keep on top of your daily listings so that you never miss a deal; be aware of which ads are placed by private citizens vs. retailers by looking for the “dealer listing” notation. The best part of buying on CL? The prices are almost always negotiable--especially if you offer to pick it up yourself.
Be on Alert for Remodels
If you catch wind that your favorite retailer is having a store-wide remodel, run--don’t walk--to see what may be marked down! A major facelift usually signifies a switching out of more than just light fixtures and carpeting. Stores usually also change out product lines, leaving the brand new and perfectly good items that they will no longer carry sitting out on deep discount for the next lucky customer. Retail chains can sometimes remodel several stores at one time, so if you see a Walmart being remodeled at one end of town, it pays to call the other stores and see if they are being remodeled to (and if they aren’t, find out when they might be). Your attention to detail could get you fabulous savings on that new Dyson vacuum you’ve had your eye on!
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