Buying a new major appliance isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time. Often, life events prompt these purchases.
When the doctor says it’s twins, your aging washer-dryer stack doesn’t look like it will be up to the demands that are about to be placed on it.
When your refrigerator struggles to keep foods cold, it’s time to start searching before it gives out completely and leaves you with a week’s worth of ruined food.
Here are 10 ways you can find discounts when it’s time to shop for a major appliance.
Use Online Resources
Sign up for email alerts with retailers. These will let you know about sales.
If you have a manufacturer in mind, many manufacturer sites allow you to register. While manufacturers rarely sell directly to the public, they sometimes offer rebates you can claim online.
If you’re in the market for an appliance that can be purchased on Amazon, you can sign up with camelcamelcamel.com to track prices of items on Amazon you have your eye on and be notified via Twitter or email when a price drops.
Check for Tax Credits on Energy Efficient Appliances
Some EnergyStar appliances still qualify for federal tax credits.
While some tax credits expired at the end of 2011, The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 renewed this credit retroactively for some appliances manufactured in 2012 and 2013.
Buying energy efficient appliances is recommended anyway, because they require less electricity and can lower utility bills.
Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate
There’s no rule against asking if you can have a discount for paying cash, or because you have looked at an appliance for months and it hasn’t moved.
A Consumer Reports article from 2009 reported survey results saying only 33% of people who bought major appliances tried to negotiate.
But of those who did try negotiating, around 75% were successful, saving a median of $100 on major appliances.
Don’t Skip Local Independent Businesses
Local independent businesses often don’t have the huge overhead of the big box stores. Furthermore, many local appliance dealers have far better service after the sale.
An appliance you might consider trashing if you bought from a big box store can often be repaired by the technicians at local, smaller dealers.
These businesses are often an overlooked resource when people shop for major appliances.
Learn if Expensive Accommodations Will Be Necessary
Some of the hottest new appliances are among the “neediest.” If your new stainless steel stove creates lots of smoke and steam, you’re going to need an exhaust fan.
That high-tech washer-dryer combo can spin with enough fury to rattle a room, and may require floor reinforcements.
Research models online and read customer reviews. The best way to read reviews in general is to throw out the most glowing and the most scathing review, and see what you gather from the rest.
Scope out Service Options Before You Buy
What happens if you need service for your new appliance? Ask, and don’t buy unless you’re satisfied with the answer.
It’s possible to buy trendy appliances and not be able to find service technicians nearby who can provide service.
This is particularly true of trendy European or other foreign-designed appliances.
Shop in September, October, January, May, and on Major Holidays
Appliance sales are more common in September and October, when many appliance makers reveal new models (and discount last year’s) in January after the holidays, and in May, when refrigerator makers roll out their new models.
If you’re not afraid of dealing with hardcore discount seekers, consider venturing out on Black Friday. Deals can be had if you’re not afraid of the crowds and don’t mind a long wait in line.
Buy the Floor Model and Consider Returns and Outlets for Discontinued Models
Floor models have been handled by shoppers, but otherwise, they’re like new.
Retailers will often discount a floor model, and some will sell returns for a discount. It always pays to ask.
Be sure about warranty coverage when you buy a floor model or a return, however, so there are no surprises later.
Also consider shopping at closeout centers specializing in discontinued appliances.
Check if Retailers Price Match or Accept Other Stores’ Coupons
As with negotiation, if you don’t ask, you’ll never know. Some retailers match competitors’ coupons, and some will price-match other retailers.
Scope out prices at several retailers before you shop, and you’ll have the information on hand to present to retailers that do price- or coupon-match.
While this doesn’t directly affect the price you’ll pay for a given appliance, always measure every hallway and doorway through which the appliance will have to fit.
A couple of minor bumps to the sheetrock can be fixed, but forcing an appliance through a too-snug space can cause damage and may in fact be impossible, in which case you have to send it back and start over.
Write down all dimensions through which your appliance must pass, and note any particularly tight turns.
Bring your tape measure shopping with you, to make sure the appliance you choose will fit.
Mary Hiers is a personal finance writer who helps people earn more and spend less.