Owning, remodeling and maintaining a home can eat up more than a third of your income each month, so when it comes time to furnishing your home and replacing appliances, your budget might be stretched a little thin.
Of course, you could sit tight until the next big holiday sales for furniture to score a deal on a couch. If you have the patience before replacing your busted stove, you could eat take-out until November when appliances go on clearance.
9 tips for buying furniture and appliances on the cheap
But sometimes you just can’t wait. The following shopping tips can help you save big on furniture and appliances at any time of the year.
1. Search online for coupons and promo codes
There are numerous sites devoted to coupon clippers, and they are not all for groceries and personal care items. Websites such as Groupon.com, Coupons.com and RetailMeNot.com list coupons by retail chain and by categories such as furniture and appliances. Offers include discounts off the purchase price, free shipping deals and rebates. Some coupons may not expire for weeks or months, giving you ample time to investigate which products you want to buy.
2. Watch your mail or check your retailer’s website for special financing offers
If you know you can pay off your purchase before the the 0% interest period ends and you have to finance your purchase anyway, this can be another way to save. Combine it with a discount for even more savings.
A word of caution: If you fail to pay off the entire balance before the promotional period ends, you could owe all of the back interest and ultimately pay a lot more for your purchase than you expected.
3. Subscribe to e-mail alerts from furniture and appliance retailers
Both brick and mortar and online retailers are only too happy to send eager shoppers their marketing materials via e-mail about the next big sale. Sign up online for e-mail notifications of sales from stores that sell appliances like Best Buy and Lowes or furniture stores such as Scandinavian Design, Wayfair.com and World Market. Stick to your favorites to narrow the field or get e-mails from a wide selection of retailers.
If you hate getting inundated with e-mails, sign up only with your favorite furniture and appliance stores, and indicate how often and what kinds of e-mails you want to receive.
4. Shop designer furniture at The Dump
Not to be confused with the city refuse heap, this chain store is a division of Haynes Furniture that buys directly from the big trade shows in High Point, N.C. Check to see if there is a location near you.
5. Wait for semi-annual clearance and seasonal sales
For furniture, the industry brings out its new products in April and October, so by July and January, retailers need to clear out the older models with the exception of office furniture, which typically goes on sale in May and August.
Watch for other ‘category’ sales throughout the year for certain types of pieces such as dining room sets before end-of-year holiday season, mattresses in May, and recliners before Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
Retailers typically start clearing out large appliances — with the exception of refrigerators — when the newer models arrive in stores around September and October. You can find the best clearance prices on year-old appliance models through November. New refrigerator models arrive in May, forcing stores to discount the older models in late spring.
Additionally, at the back of many large furniture and appliance stores you can find great deals on clearance products all year long.
6. Buy floor models and scratch-and-dent from retailers or outlets
New appliances and furniture, often with only minor damage, may be sold as is off the showroom floor of retail stores or with clearance models at discount outlets for some major chain stores.
Find outlets online or locally by searching “discount appliances” or for luxury brands, “high end discount appliances.” Outlets typically offer new or scratch-and-dent returned items, many with factory warranties.
7. Hunt for estate sales and auctions
For estate sales, go with cash in hand to make the best deals. Sign up on EstateSales.net to find out the latest estate, tag sales and auctions in your area. Some auctions allow you to preview the merchandise, and many local auctions now offer online bidding, so you’re not limited to eBay.
8. Frequent consignment and second hand stores
Thrift stores, flea markets, garage sales, and Craigslist ads, too, can turn up a wealth of possibilities if you’re looking for vintage furniture at low, low prices. With a little TLC, DIY skills, and an artistic streak, you can paint, reupholster or re-purpose an orphaned piece of furniture and turn it into a one-of-a-kind focal point for your room.
For used appliances, stores that guarantee the merchandise operates properly provide more peace of mind than Craigslist, but stick to stores you know have been around a while.
Last but not least, don’t be afraid to bargain for a better price, even on new merchandise as you would if you were buying a car. It never hurts to ask. If your timing is right — the salesperson wants to meet a monthly quota or a clearance sale is just days away — the manager just may approve your offer or make a reasonable counteroffer, especially if you are making a substantial purchase.