How to Get a Good Deal on a New Refrigerator
by Gary Foreman
In need of a new fridge? Use these guidelines to get a good deal on a refrigerator that will not only save you money at the time of purchase, but that will also save you on maintenance and energy costs.
A refrigerator is not only one of the most expensive appliances you’ll buy for your home, but it also consumes 20% of the electricity you use every month. So a good decision now could save a few dollars every month for years.
Let’s explore just how to go about getting a good deal on a refrigerator that can save you money both now and later.
The Best Time to Buy a Refrigerator
According the BobVila.com, the best time of year to buy a new refrigerator is the month of May. May is typically the month that the new year’s models are released so you can usually get a great deal on the previous year’s models that they need to get out of the store. In fact, May is Maytag Month during which they offer some pretty significant rebates on fridges.
Of course, with something like a refrigerator, the best time to buy is when your old one is still working. That way you won’t be facing the cost of spoiled food and you’ll have time to price shop.
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Learn About Refrigerator Prices
Consider a three-step approach. First, visit some local stores to see what’s available. Get a general idea of pricing and what models and options you’d like to consider. Second, do a little research to narrow the search and compare prices. Only then will you be ready to actually go buy a refrigerator.
During your research, you’ll want to check repair records. It’s hard to beat the information that Consumer Reports puts out. And, you’ll find much of it free online.
Also check out websites for major appliance retailers. Although you probably won’t buy online, you can get a very good idea of pricing. For instance, BestBuy.com lets you easily select and compare basic size, features, and price information for any of the refrigerators they sell.
This is also the time to compare slightly smaller or larger units and to decide what features you really want. For instance, a new side-by-side model will cost more to operate than a top freezer. Ice makers and water/ice dispensers are convenient but cost more.
Visit Appliance Stores
Once you’ve done your homework, it’s time to go visit some retailers. Before visiting the major national retailers, it’s probably wise to check out some alternatives. For instance, a scratch and dent outlet might turn up a good deal. (See How to Find Good Deals on Scratch and Dent Appliances.)
You might also want to check with rental centers. Often they have slightly damaged units that they’re willing to sell cheaply. Remember that these units are sold as is. So make sure that you know exactly what’s wrong and aren’t missing anything important or expensive.
You should also check out smaller local retailers. Many will meet the big boy’s prices and offer more personal service.
Don’t forget that the initial cost of the fridge is only part of what you’ll spend. Consider the operating costs, too. The yellow EnergyGuide labels are a great tool. The sticker will estimate how much each refrigerator will add to your electric bill per year. Remember that you’ll probably keep a refrigerator 10 years or more. So a $25 difference between models is worth $250 over the appliance’s lifetime. (See Will New Energy-Efficient Appliances Save Money?.)
Once you have decided on a model, it’s time to find the lowest price. Don’t forget that home improvement centers like Home Depot also sell appliances. And you don’t have to limit your price shopping to physical stores. You can also use a published online price. A printout of the web page can prove handy.
Related: 11 Ways to Save at Home Depot
Get the Best Price for Your Refrigerator
Now to negotiate with your favorite retailer. Most stores will match lower prices, including those found on the web. Simply ask the salesperson if they do. Even if their price is the lowest, it doesn’t hurt to ask if the listed price is their best price.
And after you have negotiated the price, ask for free delivery. If you haven’t hit their rock bottom price yet, they’ll probably throw it in to complete the deal. Especially if you show a willingness to delay on the purchase.
You will also be asked to buy an extended warranty. But unless you’ve managed to choose a lemon, you really don’t need the extra coverage. Even with the average cost of a refrigerator service call averaging $230-300 (source: SearsHomeServices.com), ConsumerReports.org advises most of us to “steer clear of extended warranties.”
Reviewed July 2021
About the Author
Gary Foreman is a former financial planner and purchasing manager who founded The Dollar Stretcher.com website and newsletters in 1996. He's the author of How to Conquer Debt No Matter How Much You Have and he's been featured in MSN Money, Yahoo Finance, Fox Business, The Nightly Business Report, US News Money, Credit.com and CreditCards.com. You can read Gary's full bio here. Gary shares his philosophy of money here. Gary is available for audio, video or print interviews.
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