A few weeks ago I mentioned that we saved some major cash when we were appliance shopping and I thought I would come back to ya to share exactly what we bought for our basement kitchen, how we scored big, and more tips on saving on appliances.
Obviously this may not apply to all areas, or all stores, or even work for you but it really worked for us and we were able to get a fridge, a dishwasher and a range for $1200 total…including tax and fees…and they are all Whirlpool brand and are stainless steel. Hopefully a store in your area will work the same as ours and you can save too! Here are the best tips we got….
Tip #1 – Understand what stores carry in terms of appliances
We scoured Craigslist, appliance outlets and big box stores before realizing that each avenue has it’s pros and cons. Craigslist tends to be the cheapest but you are generally buying USED appliances. Used is very different than repaired, floor model or damaged. If you buy from an individual, you will not get a warranty in most cases and if something breaks, you are plumb outta luck…and when I say luck, I mean money. Most appliance outlets are carrying one of two types of appliances – overstocks or damaged. The overstocks are usually models that don’t sell well (there are diamonds in the rough but a lot of times, overstocks that aren’t selling are because of bad reviews, high pricing, manufacturing issues, or low Consumer Report rankings) and damaged items are usually as they said – damaged. They might have a big dent or a scratch or the panel is broken. Either way, some appliance outlets will offer their own warranty coverage on these items but in general, the appliance will not be covered by the manufacturer. Home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s tend to have the priciest options but they do offer on average a 1 year warranty as well as a manufacturer warranty on all the appliances they sell….even reduced items. That is what we decided to go with….reduced appliances. The rest of the tips are for store bought items….so if you are planning on purchasing from Craigslist or outlets, these probably don’t apply to you.
Now all home improvement stores are not created equal. Some are the exact same chain but have different size appliance departments so it is helpful to know what stores are in your area and exactly how large/small they are. Larger stores tend to have larger appliance departments. Within the appliance department, it is really helpful to know who is in charge and can offer discounted prices. Ask a store employee….generally speaking, the regular floor associate will share who is the manager and how flexible they are about pricing.
Tip #2 – Go regularly to check out the pricing
In general, appliances are cyclical meaning that the companies that make them are rolling out the new versions at a regular time each year (usually September and October) and stores are clearing floor space to make room for those new shiny appliances. If you can time it right, you can see how the stores will get an influx of new stuff and their floor models, repairs and clearance items are all marked down. This helped us because we were shopping for appliances in January and usually that is a great time because clearance sections are FULL! We went to our local stores (two Home Depots and one Lowes) every three days for three weeks to stalk their clearance items. We knew that we would need three items and so if we could, we wanted to negotiate all three items into one low price.
Tip #3 – Understand the store signage
One of the biggest tips I can share is for Lowe’s signs (this is what we ended up purchasing because they had the most options in our area). See that circled red area? It says WK 3 1/22. That means that it was in the clearance section for three weeks. On 1/22 it was marked week 3 and in 7 days it would be discounted again from it’s already reduced price. As you can see…it’s been repaired by the manufacturer and so the warranty is still valid. This is huge because we knew that the manager of the appliances hated having a lot of floor space being taken up by clearance items and when it reached week 4 and week 5, he was ready to slash the price even more (this one was originally $500 and marked down already to $350).
Tip #4 – Know what features you are getting
It is not often that you will score matching appliances in perfect condition with all the options at a very reduced price. Those pieces get picked up rather quickly and never make it to week 4. But if you are looking for a white appliance, your chances are higher. If you are looking for a dishwasher with a stainless steel interior, the chances are lower. The thing is…you gotta be flexible because you never know what the stores will have available and what features they will have. Get to know features that are your ‘must-haves’ and what are things that don’t really matter to you. This will help in the shopping adventure because you can immediately know if it’s a dud or a stud.
Tip #5 – Fridges are in Districts
Just like the Hunger Games, different appliances are assigned to different Districts…or rankings or status or whatever you want to call it. French Door fridges are the most popular but also the priciest. Side by sides in stainless are just under that with freezer-top fridges at the lowest price point. In general, you will pay more for the nicer finishes (stainless, fingerprint-less, etc.) and less for the all white or all black fridges. Also size matters. Know what you need and what will fit in your space. There is nothing worse than falling in love with a price only to get it home and it doesn’t fit in your kitchen or you really needed counter depth and you didn’t get it.
Tip #6 – Ask specifically what REPAIRED means
If an item is repaired and it does not list specifics….ask. You are the consumer and you have a right to now what was repaired on that model before purchasing. I am of the camp that believes that all appliances do not work at some point of manufacturing so everything can be fixed and the “repaired” label doesn’t scare me…but there are some ‘chronic’ issues with certain brands and certain models that you can inform yourself on before making an investment. We use Consumer Reports and then read normal reviews online to inform ourselves.
Tip #7 – Know exactly what is missing
We bought a dishwasher and it did not have all the ‘normal’ stuff….no installation instructions, no hoses, etc. This can make your overall cost go higher than your budget so it’s best to know exactly what is missing with all the appliances you buy. For our fridge, it was a little grate that sits below the water dispenser and a hose and a bottom cover. Nothing that major. After a quick search, we found a replacement for the grate on the manufacturers website for $20. Little things like that can make a big difference in the overall cost…so know exactly what you are and ARE NOT getting with your purchase. Sometimes you can negotiate things and sometimes you can’t….it might be something missing in your package but you could ask for free delivery instead. Remember that if you don’t ask, you will never get it 🙂
Tip #8 – Buy in bulk
We went into the store and knew exactly how much we could spend on appliances and we promised each other before even stepping inside that we could not spend a penny over $1300….including tax, fees, delivery…the whole shebang. The three appliances we needed were a range, a fridge, and a dishwasher. We knew that it was always smarter to buy a single brand and we absolutely wanted stainless steel. I told Jeremy that if we could, I would prefer to get a fridge with an ice and water dispenser, and I like it when the handles match on the fridge to the range. The three appliances we settled on were going to cost $1450 plus tax and delivery and fees. I knew that the manager would love to clear out at least two of the items (they were going to be week 4 the next day) and the range probably had the least flexibility in price because it was only a floor model (more desirable than a repair) and in week 2. So we said to the manager that we would love to get all three but we have a max price of $1200. He checked his pricing and ended up saying that if we took them that day, we had a deal. We ended up using our Lowe’s credit card for the purchase and got an additional 5% off which payed for the tax and fees and Jeremy returned that afternoon with our trailer to haul them back for free. Our total cost was $1207.
So now that you have all our tips and have seen the pricing and how we negotiated the low price….here’s the rest of the story.
Jeremy brought them home later that afternoon and we unloaded them.
The range we got was an electric cooktop. It is a very basic model and the knobs aren’t my thing but the handle does match the fridge so that makes me happy. Jeremy needed to run a new breaker for the hookup and since it was a floor model, there was nothing on it that was broken or missing.
The dishwasher is also a stainless front version and has a front control panel. It was missing the hoses and the manuals so we had to look it up on the Whirlpool website (thank goodness for the internet!). This was a repaired model – the drain pump was fixed – which is a major component but I’m glad to have it repaired before installation because there is nothing worse than taking a dishwasher home, installing it and finding out that it doesn’t work. We do have a water line down in the basement space but we need to tweak it all for the sink and the drain and make sure everything is done right. Our neighbor and handy man extrodinaire Larry is going to help us with that little project because plumbing scares us 🙂
Lastly we have the fridge. It rounds out our Whirlpool three and it has the matching handles to the dishwasher. It’s a standard size and is a side-by-side with a water and ice dispenser in the door. When we bought it, it did miss those little things I mentioned before but it also had a weird streaking on the front. We couldn’t remove it with a tissue (a tissue from the bottom of my purse so who knows what crime scenes that thing has seen!) but when we got it home, we used a little WD40 and it came right off 🙂
So that’s the whole story. The whole shebang. The entire enchilada. The full monte. The complete package. The four course dinner. The fish AND the chips. Okay…I’ll stop….the point is, that is all she wrote about the appliance saving situation. I hope it helps. Happy shopping!