Secrets to saving money on kitchen appliances

By Daniel Bortz Special To The Washington Post

It’s no secret a kitchen appliance is a major purchase. So you might be surprised to learn these clever money-saving tips from industry insiders.

Don’t focus on seasonal sales

You don’t want to wait until your refrigerator or oven breaks before replacing it, but you don’t need to time your purchases around Memorial Day, Black Friday or other sales events, either.

“If you look at advertisements for appliances, you’ll see appliances are always on sale,” says Kevin Brasler, executive editor at Consumers’ Checkbook. “It’s just one sale after another. But when you look at the prices they’re offering, they’re roughly the same.”

Brasler recommends consumers begin shopping for kitchen appliances when they’re ready to buy them instead of waiting for “deals” from retailers.

Get quotes via email

No surprise, it pays to shop around when buying kitchen appliances. But many consumers make the mistake of physically going to stores for quotes when they should be obtaining them through email, Brasler says. Doing so will not only help you save time but also protect you from succumbing to a salesperson’s face-to-face negotiating tactics. Plus, “it forces stores to compete for your business,” Brasler says.

Look past advertised prices

Most appliance manufacturers dictate the minimum prices at which stores can advertise their products, explains Dean Schwartz, president of home appliances at Sears. In other words, just because something is listed at a certain price doesn’t mean you can’t get a better deal.

Don’t rely on haggling

Some shoppers bargain with retailers over appliances, but that doesn’t always lead to the best deal. A better approach, Brasler says, is to ask stores for their best price upfront when gathering quotes. In your email, say: “I’m contacting three to four local stores. You have one chance to give me your best price.”

Buy secondhand

Buying used appliances can be a great way to cut costs, but you have to shop smart. Generally, you’ll want to buy from a used-appliances store that sells refurbished products with warranties rather than from Craigslist or eBay, where you don’t know what you’re getting. One reputable place to purchase gently used appliances is a Habitat for Humanity ReStore, an independently owned shop that donates a portion of its proceeds to the nonprofit organization.

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