How to Buy Appliances Wisely

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Appliances are often big-ticket items. If you’re looking to save money, here are some tips on buying appliances wisely.

Get It Yourself!

When you buy a large appliance—or a piece of furniture—that requires shipping, sometimes it seems as if the shipping costs more than the item itself! If you own a van or truck or have a friend who does, you might be able to pick up your merchandise yourself.

Ask the salesperson where the warehouse is and what its customer pickup policies are. Keep in mind that some warehouses are open for customer pickups only a day or two a week.

Everything but the Box

Keep an eye out for “open box” sales. Many electronics and appliance stores hold these sales to get rid of floor models. They can offer discounts of 50 percent or more. The best part is that the manufacturer’s warranty still applies in most cases, although the store sale may be final.

Always inspect an item carefully before you pay for it. Ask to plug it in and give it a test run in the store before you leave.

Don’t Take the Credit

You probably can’t walk into a big-chain electronics store and start bargaining on a $150 radio. But if you check out the smaller stores, you may be able to negotiate a better price, especially if you’re willing to pay cash. That’s because credit companies charge retailers money—usually a percentage of the purchase price.

Model Savings

Take a closer look at the pieces on the showroom floor. Many stores sell these items, and sometimes they’ll discount them 10 to 15 percent. Sales are usually final, so consider your purchase carefully.

The $100 Spray Can

Some salespeople will try to sell you fabric protection or a can of cleaner when you purchase furniture or an appliance. Keep in mind that you can often purchase those products at other stores for less money.

What’s On Sale When

To make room for new models, stores hold sales to get rid of last year’s merchandise. While sales can happen at any time of the year, here is the usual time of sale for different types of merchandise:

  • Appliances (kitchen): July–August, Columbus Day
  • Audio and video equipment: September–October
  • Lawn and garden tools: November
  • Washers and dryers: January
About The Author

Earl Proulx

When Earl Proulx died in March 2002 at age 88, he’d written Yankee Magazine's “Plain Talk” advice column for 22 years. Read More from Earl Proulx

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