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How To Save Money on Appliances: 22 Budget-Savvy Tips

How To Save Money on Appliances: 22 Budget-Savvy Tips

You come home from an incredible vacation to find your refrigerator died while you were gone. While you can easily replace the groceries with a quick Gopuff order or spend a few nights eating out at Hard Rock Cafe or having food delivered from Landry’s Kitchen, replacing the fridge isn’t a part of most people’s budget plans.

Appliances are “big-ticket items,” meaning they’re a significant investment for most people. While they don’t cost as much as a new car or home, they’re expensive enough that most average Americans wonder how to save money on appliances when they need a new one. The AAA Discounts & Rewards® program knows that every penny counts, so we gathered 22 budget-savvy tips for appliance purchases.

1. Plan Ahead

The best way to save money on appliances is to plan, but most appliance purchases aren’t planned. If you know your appliance is reaching the end of its lifetime (usually 10-15 years), start saving money and researching different manufacturers and models. 

It’s always better to make a carefully planned purchase than one you have to make at the spur of the moment. Quick purchases often lead to buying whatever’s available because you need it rather than what you can afford. 

2. Set a Budget (and Stick to It)

A list of the average costs of major home appliances alongside small illustrations.

Before buying your new appliance, set a reasonable budget. Consider your regular monthly expenses and the average cost of a new appliance when setting your budget. You may need to save for a few months before you have enough to purchase the appliance you want. 

When you head to the store to purchase your appliance, keep your budget in mind. Appliance salespeople are often paid on commission, so they’ll try to upsell you. 

3. Read Reviews and Compare Prices

An informed shopper is a savvy shopper. Before you head to the store, read reviews online. Check out reviews on the manufacturer’s site, store listings and resources like Consumer Reports

Once you’ve read enough reviews to get a sense of the quality, compare prices. Retailers often charge different prices for the same models. Remember, too, that if an appliance’s price is too good to be true, there’s a good chance you’ll save money now but have to pay for pricey repairs down the road.

4. Take Advantage of Memberships

Consider any memberships you have and whether they have any special discounts. For example, if you’re a AAA member, you can save up to 30 percent off Samsung appliances (along with other Samsung offerings) when you order online with your membership number. 

5. Pay in Full

Appliance stores recognize that appliances are expensive purchases and usually offer financing options. While these options are helpful, try to pay for your appliance in full to avoid spending extra money on interest. This is especially true if their financing involves store credit cards, which historically have higher interest rates than other credit cards.

6. Look for Energy Star Rebates and Tax Credits

Celebrate Earth Day with a more efficient appliance! Some appliance purchases may qualify for Energy Star rebates or tax credits to offset some of the cost. Rebates allow you to submit your receipt to partnering manufacturers and receive a refund (usually through a check or gift card).

Tax credits, on the other hand, allow you to claim your purchase as a deduction on your taxes. However, these tax credits only apply to replacing older appliances in your home, so purchasing a new dishwasher and stove for your new-build home won’t qualify. 

Appliances that may qualify for a tax credit include:

  • Heat pump
  • Heat pump water heater

Appliances that may qualify for a rebate include:

  • Clothes dryers
  • Heat pumps
  • Ovens
  • Stoves
  • Water heaters

Tax credits and rebates have an annual limit, so check the Energy Star website for the latest guidelines before purchasing.

7. Try Haggling

Most appliance salespeople work on commission, so they may be open to haggling over the price. After all, a sale at a discounted price is still better than no sale at all. Most haggling discounts are less than $150

To start haggling, just ask if they can offer a better price. Sometimes, saying your budget is $100 cheaper than the sticker price might be enough to lower the price. Other times, you may need to reference the research you did in step three and let them know what other places are charging. 

If you belong to a special group, such as senior citizens or veterans, ask if the store offers a discount. You can also ask them to throw in a free or discounted upgrade or installation and save money that way. At the very least, the salesperson may know of an upcoming sale or coupon.

8. Invest in Maintenance and Warranties

Many appliances come with a manufacturer’s base warranty, but an extended warranty or maintenance package might be worth considering. This won’t save you money upfront but could save you money over the appliance’s life.

Most appliance stores offer extended warranties or maintenance plans for a fee at the point of purchase. These offer peace of mind, especially if you spent a significant amount of money on repairs in the past. Plus, you know who to call in a few years when something goes wrong instead of searching through misleading internet reviews to find a repair person.

Before investing in an extended warranty or maintenance plan, consider the following:

  • The cost of the appliance: The more expensive it is, the better off you are getting that extended warranty. Don’t bother getting it if the appliance only costs you a few hundred bucks, but it might be a good investment if you’re spending a few thousand. 
  • The time frame of the extended warranty or maintenance plan: If the plan overlaps the manufacturer’s warranty, it’s not worth it, as all repairs would be covered anyway. Warranties or maintenance plans that extend beyond the terms of the original warranty are better investments.

9. Use Discounted Gift Cards

This is a great way to save money on appliances because you can combine it with any other tip for extra savings. Once you’ve picked out your appliance and know what it will cost, purchase discounted gift cards. 

For example, some warehouse stores offer bundles of gift cards that are cheaper than their value, so you might pay $95 for $100 worth of gift cards. Some store credit cards may allow you to earn cash back on every purchase, including gift cards. So you can get five percent cash back when you purchase $100 in gift cards. 

If you’re buying a $1,500 washing machine and you got five percent back on $1,500 in gift cards, you’ll save $75.

10. Look for Sales and Promotions

When you can plan your purchase, it’s best to wait for sales. Keep an eye on flyers in your newspaper or sign up for store newsletters to get sales alerts sent straight to your inbox. If you see a new store being built, there may be an upcoming grand opening sale to take advantage of. Another great time to buy is Christmas in July sales or holiday weekends.

A list of the best times in the year to buy appliances

11. Take Advantage of Price Matching

Not all stores offer price matching, but it can be a great way to save a few bucks for those that do. You may find that the only store with your preferred model in stock doesn’t have the lowest price. If that’s the case, ask if they will price match to another store.

Remember that you need to compare apples to oranges when you do price matching. A store online may offer a lower purchase price because they’ll make up for it in a higher shipping cost, or the store price you see reflects included costs like installation or haul-away fees.

Hold onto your receipt after the purchase! Some stores will offer a price match up to 30 days after the sale, but you’ll need your receipt to get it.

12. Redeem Credit Card Rewards or Use Your Cashback Credit Card

If you’ve been holding on to some rewards on your credit card, now is the time to redeem them! Reward systems work differently based on your credit card, but you may be able to redeem points or cashback for a gift card you can use to purchase your appliances. How you cash out rewards varies by credit card, so check your credit issuers’ website for more information. 

If you don’t have any rewards stockpiled, use your credit card to earn some on your appliance purchase. Appliances range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, so they’re great for accumulating new credit card rewards to use on other purchases. Just make sure you pay off the balance in full to avoid extra interest payments.

13. Buy Last Year’s Models

Most new models don’t have updates that change the game, so you don’t have to worry about missing out on the latest and greatest if you buy last year’s models, which are often cheaper. Here’s the typical release schedule for new appliances:

  • Early in the year: Ovens and stovetops
  • May: Refrigerators
  • September/October: Washers, dryers and dishwashers

14. Look for Included Costs

When you buy an appliance, you usually need more than just the appliance itself. Related costs include:

  • Delivery fees
  • Haul away fees
  • Installation fees
  • Installation parts
  • Warranty upgrades

Before you purchase a new appliance, ask if the purchase price includes any of these fees. A more expensive appliance may be worth it over a cheaper model if all the little fees are included.

15. Look at Scratch and Dent Options, Open-Box Models or Floor Models

You can get an appliance that isn’t brand new but hasn’t been used. Consider these options instead of brand new to save a few dollars:

  • Open-box appliances: Sometimes a customer orders a new appliance and realizes it doesn’t fit or isn’t quite what they wanted. When that happens, they send the appliance back to the store. These appliances have never been used, but the store can no longer charge full price.
  • Scratch and dent appliances: Appliances are damaged in shipping or delivery, and if the damages are purely cosmetic, they can be sold as scratch and dent appliances. You get a brand-new appliance that works great for a lower price simply because it has a minor ding, often in a place you can’t even see.
  • Floor models: Most showrooms have floor models of every appliance they sell so customers can see what they look like and open and close doors. These appliances have never been functional, so they are still brand new, but they may have seen a bit of wear and tear from customers touching them. If you like the appliance you’re looking at, but it’s just over your budget, ask the salesperson if you can buy the floor model. 

16. Buy Direct from the Manufacturer or a Wholesaler

Most appliance showrooms are intermediaries between the manufacturer and the consumer, so they have to sell it at a higher price than the manufacturer to make a profit. To avoid the showroom markup, buy directly from the manufacturer or a wholesaler.

This may mean you have to order online if there’s no manufacturer’s showroom, but you can always visit a showroom to see the appliance before ordering.

17. Buy Used or Refurbished

If you find yourself in a lurch and need an appliance ASAP but can’t afford a brand-new one, consider buying used or refurbished models. While you can buy used appliances on sites like Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, purchasing from a used appliance store is better. If you get it home and find out it doesn’t work, there’s a better chance of a used appliance store refunding you than Joe on Craigslist. 

Refurbished appliances are used appliances inspected and repaired by the manufacturer. Any accessories (such as installation hardware) may be new, and a new warranty may be in place to give you peace of mind. These are generally only sold directly from the manufacturer.

A list of tips for buying used appliances alongside small illustrations

18. Look for Rebates

In addition to the Energy Star rebates we discussed earlier, manufacturers may offer rebates. A rebate is different from a sale—in a rebate, you pay upfront but get a refund after purchase, while in a sale, you save on the purchase price. 

Rebates are common on appliances because retailers need to mark up appliances over manufacturer prices to profit. The appliance manufacturers may then offer you a rebate so the retailer can make their profit, but you get the appliance at the manufacturer’s price. 

Some rebates are instant, meaning the rebate amount is deducted from your total purchase price. Other rebates are mail-in rebates, meaning you’ll need to send your receipt to the manufacturer, and they’ll mail you a gift card or check for the rebate amount. If your appliance has a mail-in rebate, ask the salesperson for an extra copy of the receipt so you have one for your records and one to mail in.

19. Skip the Stainless Steel Finish

Designers and cooks prefer stainless steel appliances because they look sleek and contemporary and are more durable than other finishes. Unfortunately, they’re also more expensive—$150 to $300 more. Save money by opting for the basic white finish. 

20. Sell Your Old Appliance

You can have your old appliance hauled away when your new appliance is delivered, but that may actually cost you a haul-away fee. Instead, sell your old appliance and put the funds toward your new purchase. If your appliance isn’t running or in good enough condition to sell, you may be able to sell it to your local repair shop for parts. 

21. Purchase Appliances in a Bundle

A retailer may offer you a discount if you buy more than one appliance at a time. For example, if you’re remodeling your kitchen and need a refrigerator, oven and microwave, buying them all at once will be cheaper. The same is true if you are buying a washer and dryer. This saving strategy only works if you have the budget to purchase multiple appliances at once. 

22. Tackle Install Yourself

Some appliances, like a washer or dryer, are easy to install with the right tools and a little muscle. Others, like a water heater or a gas stove, are a bit trickier and might be better left to the pros. A general rule of thumb if you’re considering installing something yourself: if it involves specialized tools or a safety concern (such as a gas line), let the pros handle it. Otherwise, feel free to watch an online video and install it yourself to save some money.

Use Your AAA Membership To Save on Appliances

Appliances are an investment, and these money-saving tips can help you save money on the stuff you have to buy so you have some left over for the fun things in life, like Disney tickets or holiday gifts

Sign up for AAA membership today and see how you can save on everything from parts for your car to travel expenses.