Frugal Appliance Adventures

A lovely little dent saved us $200
A lovely little dent saved us $200

Now that my fiance and I have bought a house, we are on the market for all kinds of weird products we’ve never had to think about before. Chief among these new purchases are appliances. Costing several hundred dollars a piece, these are some of the biggest items we’ll buy this year aside from the house itself. In our case, we needed a fridge, an oven, and a microwave.

The more something costs, the more important every percentage point you can shave off the price is. 10% off an $800 fridge is $80. Not chump change! Through some clever purchases on eBay, shopping smart, and knowing what mattered to us and what didn’t, we saved hundreds of dollars.

Our first frugal trick was buying Sears gift cards on eBay. Someone was selling $100 gift cards for $85. We bought 16 of them. That’s $1600 in Sears credit for just $1360. My fiance and I had shopped around enough to know that the different big stores like Home Depot, Sears, and Lowes were all pretty comparable to one another in terms of the products they furnished. Thus, we didn’t feel like we were losing out by locking ourselves in to one particular store. The other fantastic advantage of these gift cards is that, for discount purposes, they don’t count as a coupon that would conflict with any of our other deals.

The next smart move was looking around at Sears Outlet. Now, it’s important to know that not everything at Sears Outlet is a good deal. We actually drove back and forth between Sears Outlet and regular Sears to make sure we couldn’t get a better deal at the normal store. Their deals on gas stoves wound up being terrible, but our fridge was quite a steal. It was a nice side-by-side stainless steel model that was very energy efficient. Looking around online, the fridge is selling for about $1150 including delivery everywhere that I could find it. Similar models we saw at Sears were going for about the same amount.

Our fridge was on Manager’s Special for $840 all because of a nice big dent on the upper right edge, which in our house will be hidden under the cabinets anyway. It was otherwise completely new. On top of that, the store was running a 10% off sale that weekend, meaning our fridge was selling for $756. To that, we add delivery charges, tax, and a hose to hook up the ice maker, and our final total came to $920. Add in the fact that we paid with our 15% off gift cards, and the total amount we paid for our fridge plus its delivery and installation was $782. Not too shabby! That’s around two-thirds of what we would have paid at a normal retailer.

Saving on our stove and microwave was as easy as going home and logging onto the computer. When we went to Sears in person, we were pretty shocked that there was no bundle deal for the microwave and range, and also that there was no free shipping on the order they were putting together for us. Deciding that we could do better, we drove home and looked it up…

Well wouldn’t you know, the prices on the appliances themselves were the same (in fact, we found a cheaper microwave), but with free shipping and a $30 discount for buying the stove and microwave together. On top of all that, my fiance realized that Discover offers 10% cash back on Sears online orders. So the portion of the microwave and stove costs that weren’t covered by the 15% gift card discount got a 10% discover discount. The amount we would have been charged in-store was $1200, but instead we only had to pay $1050 for the appliances plus delivery, tax and installation of both. Adding in our gift card and credit card discounts, we paid only $907, meaning we saved almost $300 in total.

In summary:

  • Big purchases require attention proportionate to their cost. If you’re spending several hundred dollars, it’s worthwhile to spend an afternoon browsing the internet or driving around to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible.
  • You won’t always get the most for your money at outlets, but if you find the right item you can save a substantial amount. Especially look at items with cosmetic damage that you’re willing to overlook.
  • Look for deals on gift cards to a certain store if you’re confident you’d be willing to buy from there.
  • Keep credit card rewards in mind if shopping online. Several cards offer online shopping portals that could save you up to 10%.
  • If deals in-store aren’t where you’d expect them to be, go home and hop on their website to see if it’s cheaper.

What was the last big purchase you had to make? Did you do anything to try to save money on that purchase?


3 thoughts on “Frugal Appliance Adventures

    • Yeah, those gift cards were a great find! Definitely trying to do that for every big, planned purchase from here on out. Would often apply to laptops/other electronics too…

      Liked by 1 person

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