If you're expecting a big, fat tax refund, a great way to spend it is to snap up some new appliances. For starters, updating old appliances can lift the value of your home and cut energy bills. Second, new import tariffs on washers as well as steel and aluminum are expected to start pushing prices higher by the end of the year. LG has already announced it plans to raise prices. Price hikes on American-made machines from Whirlpool, GE, and Maytag could follow. Still not convinced? Many retailers vying for those checks from Uncle Sam are advertising sales of 25% to 30% off, including Home Depot, Best Buy, and Lowe’s.
Here are 5 smart ways to score great deals on appliances:
Prepare to haggle! You may find different deals online and in stores, so compare prices in person and on the Internet. If you see the best price online, go to local appliance stores and ask if they can beat it. Many chains have low-price guarantees. And often, even independent sellers are willing to at least match competitors’ prices. One of the best ways to negotiate is to group your purchases and ask for a discount for buying multiple items. So if you need, say, a washer but your fridge is also acting up consider buying both now. Or tell the salesperson that you’ll consider buying both if he will give you a better deal and see what he offers. It will put you in a better position to make that decision and negotiate.
Ask about “open-box” models. Best Buy is now advertising in-store discounts of up to 50% off open-box appliances. SearsOutlet.com also offers discounts on discontinued models.
Check for the Energy Star label. That means the appliance meets the latest energy efficiency standards—and it will be cheaper to use, which could save you hundreds of dollars over the life of the appliance. Remember that that cost of the appliance isn’t just the sale price but also the monthly electricity charges to keep it running. Read Energy Star labels to find the most efficient models.
Skip the extended warranty. Most warranties don’t pay, according to surveys by Consumer Reports. They are big money-makers for retailers but rarely pay off for consumers.
Hold out for the next big holiday-weekend sale. If you can wait, it will probably pay off big to shop during Memorial Day sales. Also keep in mind that spring is a great time to buy a refrigerator. That’s when stores start clearing out old inventory to make room for new fridge models, which hit stores in the summer. Most other appliance manufacturers roll out new models in the fall.