Where and When To Shop To Save Money on Appliances

Stoves and microwaves washing machines in store
Serghei Starus / Shutterstock.com

Buying appliances usually means a significant investment, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to cut costs. It’s about knowing where and when to look, even if it sounds a little unconventional. Government rebates, price matching and knowing the retail sales cycle can all save you significantly the next time you need to replace an oven or washing machine. 

Here are a few pointers to help guide you into finding the best possible deal, whether you’re looking online or at big box retailers. 

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Open-Box Items

One way to save money is with open-box options. These are items where the boxes have been opened or damaged but the appliances are in perfect working order and free of cosmetic damages. They’re also covered by warranties and returnable, so they’re treated as standard purchases. 

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At retail stores, the selection of open-box items always will be a bit of a crapshoot; several outlets have more options online. Big box stores such as Sears and Best Buy have open-box shopping available online, boasting savings of 40 percent or more off the original price. 

Rebates and Special Offers

For those willing to do a little bit of homework, look to see what kind of rebates and other special offers manufacturers are throwing out there to help get rid of anything they might have overstocked. See whether the rebates can be combined with any other deals to max out your savings. 

One thing to remember, of course, is that these offers are often time-sensitive and can involve sending in receipts to confirm the purchases before rebates can be collected. Other retailers will offer rebates for buying Energy Star-rated appliances. Some, such as Lowe’s, offer a 10 percent discount for anyone who has served in the military or their spouses. 

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Returned or Damaged Items

Appliances get returned for all sorts of reasons, and a lot of the returned items are in perfect working order. Others might have endured some mild cosmetic damage, which also can help you save big if it’s something you’re able to live with. 

Much like open-box items, selection in any brick-and-mortar store will vary wildly. You also may find these kinds of appliances on retailers’ websites. Amazon has a “scratch and dent” section, and companies such as American Freight specialize in the resale of appliances like this. 

Price Matching

Some stores offer price-matching policies. For example, if Amazon’s prices on certain appliances are lower than Sears’ price, Sears will match them. Several retailers — Lowe’s, Best Buy and JCPenney — have similar deals. Typically all you’ll need is a smartphone to show the lower retail prices. 

There are some caveats. See which retailers (if any) offer free delivery and hookup; otherwise, that could add to the total cost. Additionally, price matching generally can’t be combined with other offers, so make sure you’re picking the combination with the lowest price overall. 

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Know the Sales Cycle

Along with knowing where to look for deals, it’s also important to know when to look. Traditionally, the best time to buy a major appliance is between September and December. The season starts with Labor Day, which has become a holiday synonymous with sales. This also happens to be the time of year that brands are releasing new models, which means retailers will be looking to make room for new inventory and the prices of last year’s models will start going down. 

By the time December rolls around, there are steep discounts available. Of course, it’s worth keeping your eye on other sales that are held at other times of the year. The end of every month also can be a good time to buy, thanks once again to retailers wanting to move inventory. 

Haggling

It may be old-fashioned, but sometimes you can try to cut a deal with a sales associate on the spot. It doesn’t always work, but it can be worth a shot. It might not lower the actual price; but, if you can show the competition is offering lower prices, a salesperson might waive delivery and hookup fees to help make the sale. 

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