Time to upgrade your kitchen appliances?

Anyone who remembers the classic Jackie Gleason sitcom, The Honeymooners, remembers the apartment in which star characters Ralph and Alice Kramden lived. It was equipped with a stove and a refrigerator that were functional, but not exactly attractive.

Appliances of yesteryear were built to last, and in some cases, they have lasted… and lasted… and lasted. Are you waiting for your old range, refrigerator or dishwasher to bite the dust so you can buy something new and contemporary to dress up your kitchen?

If you find the thought of waiting for your old equipment to die to be maddening, you’re not alone. A 2017 Houzz study showed that the number one reason people choose to upgrade kitchens is because they can’t stand what they have any longer. Among respondents to the survey, 83 percent said upgrading kitchen appliances was a major driver.

If you’ve decided to join the fun and open your wallet for new appliances, a little patience and research might make it possible to do a superb upgrade without taking a huge financial hit.

Compare prices

Appliances can carry different price tags from one retailer to another. Let’s say you have your heart set on a particular refrigerator. The same model can vary several hundred dollars in cost among different sellers, so do not fall in love with the first one you see.

Start by researching on the internet. You can look up prices from dozens of sellers on retail shopping engines with the click of a mouse. Before you pick an engine, you may want to review Shopify’s recently published list of the 10 best comparison shopping engines.

Once you’ve located the best price, if you want to shop in a brick-and-mortar retailer, take a printout of your research. If you have a favorite store, but they list your refrigerator for more than other sellers, ask if they have a price-matching policy. Many do, and would rather have you make an in-store purchase below the asking price, than to see you buy from a competitor.

Time can be your ally

If you don’t have to purchase immediately, wait for sales.  Houselogic says September, October and January are great times to buy most home appliances when new models are being shipped.

Major holidays are also good times to hunt for bargains in kitchen appliances as retailers will often cut prices to attract people who have extra time to shop.

Similar to automobile purchasing, you may find better deals at month’s end as store managers reduce prices to move inventory and meet sales targets.

The price you see may not be the price you must pay

You may not realize it, but prices on just about any consumer goods may be open to negotiation. All you can do is ask. It’s possible that if you make an offer lower than the store’s price — and maybe less than the lowest price you researched online — a manager may accept, or they might meet you in the middle. Either way, it’s worth a try.

Less than perfect may be perfect for you

Almost all appliance retailers will sell models with imperfections from time to time. Often an appliance might be scratched or dented, but its internal workings are just fine. There are times where the exterior damage may be such that it will be hidden from view once installed (e.g., the back of a refrigerator or the side of a stove).

Scratch-and-dent models can sometimes be reduced 50 percent or more in price because retailers want to be rid of them as quickly as possible and may be willing to sell at a loss. Some will be sold “as is,” meaning that for a drastically reduced price, you assume the risk if something isn’t up-to-snuff. Other scratch-and-dent merchandise may come with the same manufacturer’s warranty as those that are totally pristine in appearance.

With or without a warranty, you should always ask a store representative to plug in electrical appliances and start them to assure all is working well before you commit to purchase any products that have been damaged.

Offset cost by selling or donating your old, but working appliances

If your old appliances are in good working order, you have a couple of options. You can donate them to a charity organization and list the fair market value as a tax deduction. Used-appliance dealers also buy and sell such products every day and if you’ve got something they can resell, they’ll pick up and haul away your castoffs and give you a few bucks in return.

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