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Two Examples About Saving Money During Hard Economic Times

My wife and I recently bought a house, and this is our first house. We have NOTHING by way of appliances and tools that you need to maintain a home, so we were prepared to spend some money on things we need to take care of our house. The two major purchases we needed to make right away were a lawn mower and a washer and dryer. We don’t have a huge front and back yard, but our grass is very thick. We needed a quality mower that didn’t have much life on it. The house came with a washer and dryer, but the dryer was from the 1970’s, and it took about 2 hours to dry a load of laundry. The washer worked fine, but it was highly inefficient. We knew that we couldn’t buy new for both of these purchases, because we have so many other things to buy for the house like paint, patio furniture for our sweet deck, window coverings, and a microwave. So, here are two examples of how we saved some money and still got quality products.

The Lawn Mower: We immediately started scouring Craigslist for a deal on a gently used self-propelled mower. We saw a couple of deals, but most of them were already gone. We went to Home Depot to see what it would cost to buy new, and we saw a Cub Cadet self-propelled mower for $175, which was about 40% off of the original price. The mower was recently reconditioned, but it still came with the full 2 year warranty. We didn’t buy it that day, and we slept on it. This is a method that my wife and I use for deals that we find on larger purchases. We like to go back home, talk about the purchase, and then go back the next day to purchase. This helps to eliminate hasty decision making based on impulse. I went back the next day, and the mower was still there. Home Depot accepted my 10% off Lowe’s coupon, and I had a $25 gift card that I used. When it was all said and done, I got almost-brand-new mower for $132.50 plus tax.

Washer and Dryer: We really wanted a front-load washer and dryer, but we knew that they were out of our price range. It’s not that we liked them just for their trendy, stylish appeal. We liked them, because they really do save you money on reduced power and water usage. So again, we scoured Craigslist for a gently used, front-load washer and dryer. We didn’t find much, and we were ready to just buy a dryer at full price, and save for a washer. But, then I saw an ad for an LG Tromm Washer and Dryer for $700. I emailed the seller, and they contacted me a day later. He explained to me that they had some dents and scratches on them, but they worked perfect. We were a little hesitant about the dents and scratches, but we decided to go look at them. I did some research on the model numbers of the appliances, and they retail new for about $799 to $899. We went to look at them, and they did have some fairly significant dents and scratches. We used a non-confrontational approach to negotiating the price down. We showed our interest in the items, but we expressed concern about the dents and scratches. We went outside to discuss, and then came back into the house. By the time we got back into the house, the seller blurted out that she would sell the pair for $600, instead of $700. When I heard that, I knew we had a deal. So, we got a front-loading LG washer and dryer for $600, and they are only 18 months old.

If we had bought new for both items, we would have spent about $299 plus tax on a new mower, and we would have spent about $1,300 on a new front-load washer and dryer for the basic GE/Amana models. So, our total savings for the week was $860! No, we didn’t get brand-new items, and the washer and dryer have some dents and dings, but our rationale was that very few guests hang out in your utility room. If it had been a refrigerator or dishwasher with a huge dent or scratch on the front, we probably would have passed on it. But a washer and dryer is more about the functionality, even though they have become a status symbol of style with all of the different colors and sleek designs. Anyhow, that’s my story, and I’ll continue to update you on more ways we’ve found to save money on home decor, appliances, and projects.

Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

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