Benjamin Franklin once said, “Necessity never made a good bargain.” It was true back in Ben’s time and it’s still true today.
Consider what happens when you decide at the last-minute to take a vacation to the beach. When you go online to book it, ticket prices are astronomical. Yet, had you planned your trip out over the last 6 months, you would have had plenty of time to find a good deal.
The same is true when it comes to buying a large appliance. If you plan ahead, you’ll have plenty of time to find a good deal before you desperately need the appliance. This is because there are certain times of year that are best for purchasing washers and dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, stoves/ranges, and the like.
But when is the right time of year to buy? And what should you do if you need a new appliance immediately? We’ll examine each question below.
When to Buy a New Appliance
When it comes to large appliances, many people choose to use their current ones all the way up until the day they die. While this does ensure maximum use, it doesn’t allow you to effectively plan a new appliance purchase when appliance prices are at their lowest.
Instead, try to get a rough idea of when your appliance will go out of commission. Then, begin planning your purchase before the appliance breaks. This strategy will ensure that you get the best bang for your back.
Pro Tip: Most companies provide an estimated lifespan for your appliance to give you an idea of when it’s likely to fail. Keep track of its usage to know when you’re getting close to the maximum. Also, if your appliance is performing poorly, it may be on its last legs and is probably using too much energy. For example, if your fridge is struggling to stay below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s not functioning as well as it should and your energy bill may even reflect this.
One other advantage to replacing appliances sooner is that many new models have more efficient technology that can save you money on utility bills. For example, some new washers require less water to run, and dryers are available with sensors that detect when clothes are dry. This allows you to save money on water and electricity and minimize wear and tear on your wardrobe at the same time.
Best Times to Buy a New Appliance
For all major appliances (other than air conditioning units), consider timing your purchase to the suggestions below.
1. September and October
The best time to buy most major appliances is during the months of September and October. During these two months, manufacturers unveil their latest models. This means that the previous year’s models must be discounted in order to make room for the new models that will hit stores in the winter.
The exception to point number one is refrigerators. Unlike the other major appliances, most manufacturers roll out their new models of refrigerators in the summer. This means that last year’s models get discounted during the spring.
Some stores hang on to older inventory while they make the transition from last year’s models to the next. But once the new year hits, all of last year’s remaining models must be discounted even further. Though better deals may be available at this time, selection will be limited.
4. Any Holiday Weekend
Retailers have sales that correspond to virtually all holidays. Columbus Day, President’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and most other minor holidays are good times to get great deals. Case in point, Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) can be a perfect time to purchase a major appliance.
Tip: Just because a retailer advertises an item on sale doesn’t mean it’s the best price. Make sure you comparison shop first to know whether or not the advertised deal is really the lowest around.
5. End of the Month
As many appliances are sold on commission or subject to quotas, the end of the month can be an excellent time to negotiate serious savings. With that said, always try to negotiate regardless of what time of the month it is. After all, the worst that can happen is they won’t lower the price. Here are some negotiation strategies that you can use to increase your chances of success.
Appliance stores as well as furniture stores are nightmares on the weekends. The parking lots are jammed, the sales people are all busy, and you may feel rushed into a decision. To get the best deal, avoid the weekend rush and make time for your appliance shopping during the week, even if that means adjusting your work schedule or going in the evening. You’ll get more attention from the salesperson, and possibly a better deal to boot.
7. Anytime Online
By just running a quick search, you can get a good idea where the best deal is online. The best months to buy online don’t differ from the best months to buy in brick and mortar stores, but good online prices can be found year-round. That said, remember to factor shipping into the final cost.
What If You Need an Appliance Now?
As much as you might like to time your large appliance purchase to get the best deal, it is not always possible. For example, if you are moving into a new home that does not have appliances, the timing may not work in your favor. Or if an appliance breaks unexpectedly, you’ll have to decide whether to make a costly repair or buy a new appliance even if rock bottom prices are months away. In these cases, consider alternatives to buying brand new.
When my husband and I moved into our home, we had no washer or dryer. Wanting to avoid the laundromat, we turned to Craigslist to find a gently used washer and dryer and were overwhelmed with the number of options. We ended up with a nice, barely used washer and dryer pair for half the price we’d expect to pay in a store. In our case, the previous owner had them in his apartment during college, but was moving back home.
2. Refurbishing Center
When our refrigerator broke down unexpectedly last year, we went to a place that sold refurbished appliances. We sold our old refrigerator to them to fix up. Then, we bought a refrigerator they had bought and fixed up already. While we did not get a brand new appliance, we did get one that was better and newer than our old one at a great price.
3. Scratch and Dent
You can get appliances at steep discounts if they have even a tiny, insignificant little dent. When you are shopping, check with your salesperson to see if they have any scratch and dent merchandise.
4. Liquidation Centers
Liquidation centers can have liquidation, closeout, return, and overstock items available for purchase at a fraction of the cost.
5. Pawn Shops
Yes, some pawn shops do sell appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers, and ovens. Does that mean you should buy a large appliance from a pawn shop? It’s certainly a risk depending on how reputable the pawn shop is, so you will have to decide if it’s a risk worth taking.
Air Conditioning Units
For this item, winter is the best time to buy, specifically October through February. During the hot summer months, demand goes up for AC units and therefore, so does the price.
If you plan to have your AC unit serviced (this extends the life of your current unit), the best time to do so is also between the months of October and February. Getting your unit serviced over the summer will not only be more costly, but will take longer as well.
You’ll be better off if you can plan a new appliance purchase in advance. But even if you run your old appliances into the ground, you still have opportunities to get a good deal. In fact, it’s safe to say that given the number of options available, you should never pay full price for a new appliance purchase. Remember also that in order to save the most money on your large appliances, it pays to maintain them properly.
When was the last time that you bought a new appliance? What did you do to get the best deal possible?
(photo credit: Shutterstock)