How We Saved Money (63% off!) On Our Kitchen Appliances

We bought nearly $3,800 worth of kitchen appliances this weekend. But if you know anything about us, you know we love a deal. So here’s how we managed to shave off about $1,400 from that total (we ended up paying 63% of their original cost). Yee haw!

Before I dive into the heavy math, let’s cover some basic questions first. Why new appliances? We’ll make this one multiple choice:

  • A: We prefer stainless steel over the current bisque / black mix we’ve got going on.
  • B: The wall oven has a big burn mark up the front of it and cooks/burns things unevenly.
  • C: Our refrigerator is slowly dying (the ice maker doesn’t work and ever since Hurricane Irene it has been cooling unevenly – icy milk anyone?).
  • D: All of the above.

If you answered D, you’ve either been paying close attention or just know that “All of the above” is usually a solid answer. We knew about these “issues” when we bought the house (except C) so we went into this house purchase knowing we’d need to replace our appliances during a future kitchen makeover. So we’ve been saving our pennies for the last 10 months (many folks wondered why we didn’t just dive into a kitchen makeover as soon as we moved, but we like to really think about how we’ll use a room – and we also gotta save up before big purchases like these). Even before landing on our peninsula plan a few weeks ago, we’ve been researching replacements and waiting for the best deal and the right appliances for us. So for the past few months we’ve been:

  • keeping an eye on craigslist for discounted applainces that might work
  • hitting up secondhand stores & thrift stores (like the ReStore)
  • visiting our local Sears “Scratch & Dent” store

Sadly, none of those “discount” routes were panning out (nothing on craigslist had the right dimensions or matched, secondhand stores weren’t selling much more than a few old black or white microwaves and dishwashers, and even the scratch & dent store was selling things at pretty comparable prices to new appliances from Lowe’s or Home Depot since most things are on sale around this time of the year whether they’re scratched or dented or not). Then we got a sign from the Lowe’s website that this was the weekend to pounce:

Well, actually a few signs. Lowe’s is our favorite spot to buy appliances since their prices tend to be the lowest we’ve found and they’ll price match. It’s actually where we bought all of the appliances for our first house which we used and loved for the entire 4.5 years that we lived there. So seeing their website loaded with discounts was enough to get our butts in gear and make some decisions.

One easy decision was the brand of appliance that we preferred. We lived very happily with a kitchen full of Frigidaires in our last house, so 4.5 satisfied years made us more comfortable with that company than any review could (in almost 5 years of use none of them ever needed to be serviced and still looked mint when we moved). Plus, we wanted to buy all the same brand so the stainless color was consistent from appliance to appliance (some stainless fronts are more brushed than others and can look kind of cobbled together if they’re not consistent). In an icing-on-the-cake scenario, we actually ended up getting Frigidaire Gallery models that have a protective coating atop the stainless steel to prevent fingerprints (something we really wanted since we were always wiping down our last ones). So go ahead Clara, do your worst. But before we learned about the fingerprint-proof stainless covering, first it came down to picking out the most functional, fitting, and affordable models for our kitchen. Here’s what we ended up with:

  • A 22.6 Cu. Ft. Energy Star Counter-Depth Side-by-Side Refrigerator: We learned that our current fridge is actually counter depth, so we definitely couldn’t get a standard depth, which would jut even further into the room. This new one is actually more spacious than our current one and the one at our last house (so we’re psyched to gain more space without giving up the counter-depth dream), but that’s a story for another day. More on that soon.
  • An Electric Convection Stove (with Quick-Boil feature): We currently have a convection wall oven and countertop range… but those are extremely expensive to replace, so we’re going to convert our kitchen to a standard stove situation. Again, that’s a story for another day (soon!). Oh but the added convection and quick-boil features are something we happily would have paid an extra $100-200 for on top of a basic range price, but thanks to sale prices it was just $10 more than a similar model without those features.
  • A Microwave: Nothing interesting to say about this one other than it’s very similar to the last one we had and loved.
  • An Energy Star Dishwasher: Yay. Our first house didn’t have a dishwasher until we added one and it changed our life. And we love that it’s Energy Star like the fridge.

Even after almost a year of saving for this investment, the prices above are more than a little scary to two cheapskates like us. Thankfully each appliance was already marked down in the store (maybe October is a good markdown month?). The greatest markdown was the fridge (down $500!). The salesman said the price flip flops between $1799 and $1299 and we just caught it at the right time. On top of that, we also caught this at the right time:

The fridge and dishwasher were both Energy Star so that knocked those prices down another 15% (sadly cooking appliances like stoves & microwaves typically aren’t Energy Star rated). Happily the stove got the 10% off treatment thanks to the advertised sale that we happened to spot on their website. But the microwave, who was already on sale for $269, didn’t qualify (poor guy – things had to be $397 or more).

But all four of them earned this next discount:

We’ve had a Lowe’s card for a while (back from an appliance purchase in our last house, actually) so we scored our usual 5% off on our total purchase price. Down came those already discounted prices (we love that they allowed them to “stack”).

Then on top of that…

…Virginia was having a tax-free weekend on Energy Star appliances, effectively taking another 5% off the fridge and dishwasher (since tax here is 5%)! So that’s how our grand total ended up being about 63% of what it would’ve cost originally. A total savings of $1,392. Which essentially means we got the stove and the microwave for free (their original prices add up to $1,248 before all the discounts). The best part is that many of the counter depth fridges that we looked at were more than $2,500 on their own, so we’re stunned that we got all of our appliances for less. Take that baby to the market!

They still have to be delivered (for free, as always at Lowe’s) which is why this post has no pictures of the new items in place- but we’ll definitely share pics when they come. Oh and for anyone wondering, we’ll be donating our old appliances to the ReStore since they do free pick-ups (although we might craigslist the cooktop and microwave since they’re in newer condition). We’ve had a productive weekend in the kitchen, so there are a few other ideas/decisions/changes to share. So hopefully we’ll be back with lots of kitchen happenings over the next few days! We’re still only about 2% there, but the ball is officially rolling!

Okay, so who else saved some moolah this weekend? Er, well, spent some moolah but not as much moolah as they might’ve originally spent? Ack, you know what I mean. Oh and to any fellow Virginians, all of the sale prices that we took advantage of should be valid through the end of today (the tax free thing along with the 15 & 10% off sales and 5% off any Lowe’s card purchase). Just throwing that out there in case it helps!

Psst- Anyone replacing old appliances with Energy Star ones might also be eligible for government refunds (of over $100 if you’re replacing your dishwasher & fridge) so you can go here and click the button with the map on it to see what they’re giving back in your state.

Comments

  1. says

    We totally have that stove and microwave–we bought them last fall the weekend before Thanksgiving when they were heavily discounted–I LOVE THEM BOTH. The stovetop is nice, and the oven is great. The quick boil isn’t really that quick for things like a whole pot of water, but the stove gets REALLY WARM. Like things boil a lot warm. I hope you love them as much as we do. OH–and my favorite thing–Mrs. Meyer’s All Purpose cleaner and a paper towel (dish cloths leave it streaky) get that glass top looking better than anything else we have tried…including the nasty chemically glass top cleaner.

    And you might check with your Power and Light company…my inlaws live in Indianapolis, and their power company took away their old fridge AND paid them 30 dollars for replacing it with a newer model. I had never heard of that before, but it’s worth looking into.

  2. says

    My husband and I were just having an appliance debate this morning! We just sold our house (kindof, they’re going to rent and then buy it, but that’s a long story), and he wants to drag our old washer and dryer up from our basement and then store them for a year (we’re building, so we won’t be moving in anytime soon!). I keep telling him we could get better, newer appliances at a great price! I know I can convince him, eventually…
    P.S. do you know how much I could sell 4 yr. old front loading washer and dryer on craigslist?? Just wondering if you knew off hand since it sounds like you troll around on there quite a bit!
    Glad to see the kitchen renovation is gearing up!!!

    • says

      We just bought our house last year and got a great black Friday deal on a LG washer and drier through Best Buy. Sears was also having a similar deal. I can’t remember specifically how much they were, but I want to say they were half of what we’d been seeing around. We also didn’t have to wait in line: they were a monster bargain, but people were more about getting the cheap deals than the ones that are “better” in terms of percentages.

  3. says

    Is that a glass cook top? If so do you have any tips on keeping it clean? We have a brand new one on our rental and it’s impossible to keep looking good. I know we’ll upgrade to hopefully gas in our future (dream) house.

    • says

      Yes, it’s glass. I wish we had good tips for cleaning it. Ours looks filthy pretty much all the time. Every once in a while I go crazy and just scrub it with the rough part of the sponge and it mostly comes off. Anyone have better tips?

      xo,
      s

    • Katie says

      We purchased a bottle of cleaner from Home Depot specifically for our glass cook top. It’s in a white bottle and it works great! It almost looks like lotion when you squirt it on, then just rub down with a paper towel!

    • erin says

      you can use a paste of baking soda and a little water, with a nylon scrubby pad…. that seems to work in most cases.

      If I absolutely cannot get something up, I use the Mr. Clean magic eraser. I’m sure it isn’t recommended, but it does the job….

    • says

      I read (I think in our manual) that the best thing to keep them looking good is to use one of those razorblade paint scrapers (like you’d use to get paint off a window) to get off encrusted food. That, plus elbow grease, baking powder and vinegar is what we use!

    • Jenn W-M says

      I have the Scotch brite cooktop cleaner with pads. It works but makes a mess in the process. Then you have a ton of paper towels to clean up that cleaner mess.

      I do like the blue scotch bright, no scratch sponges or papertowels and Mrs. Myers.

    • Reenie says

      I don’t care for my glass top at all. Can’t use my cast iron skillet on it =(

      And….I just laid a pkg of tortillas on it when it was still warm. Anyone know how to get melted plastic off of it?

    • says

      We have a glass cooktop – I use the white bottle cleaner, but I apply it with a nylon scrubpad. This seems to work much, much better than just a rag or paper towel, and then once I’ve scrubbed it up good, I wipe everything up with a paper towel till it’s all shiny. The nylon doesn’t scratch the glass, and I can see my reflection when I am done! Oh, and if the cooktop is really dirty, I’ll spread the cleaner all over and let it sit for a few minutes. Works like a charm every time!

    • says

      In Spain, where glass cook tops are the norm, we clean them like this:
      1. Using a special type of razor (something like this http://www.google.es/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=rascador+vitroceramica&oe=UTF-8&redir_esc=&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=es&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&biw=1277&bih=593=) to remove pieces of food that are stuck, and
      2. A special cleaning product called VitroClen (not sure if there’s an eco-friendly product equivalent to this one though).
      Hope that helps!

    • Patti says

      I find that Barkeepers Friend is the best for my cooktop. I have a porcelain cooktop, so check the bottle to see if it’s safe for glass.

    • Jessica says

      Turn the stove back on….just warm enough to melt the plastic a little more, then use a dish scraper (one of the plastic ones with the “edge” that scrapes) The scraper won’t scratch the glass and it should get the melted plastic off if it’s warm enough….good luck! Hope that helps!!!

    • says

      For my glass cook top, I use a product called “pierre blanche”. It’s a combination of soap, glycerin and clay. It’s ecofriendly and so efficient! I’m sure this kind of product exists in US. It’s perfect for granite countertops too.

    • says

      Reenie, someone in our house (::cough cough:: my husband ::cough cough::) did the same thing! I did a bunch of googling and the trick was actually WD-40 (which I hate because of the fumes, but it WORKS!) and a razor blade scraper. Just keep spraying and scraping, spraying and scraping! good luck!

    • Lindsay says

      I use the liquid Barkeepers Friend on our glass top, it works great!
      I’ve used a razor blade to scrape off big spills/boilovers before, too.

    • amy says

      Oh man, I melted the plastic package of tortillas on a glass top once, too. I just used the cleaner (the white bottle glass top cleaner stuff), and just kept scrubbing with a scrubbie and wiping it. It eventually came off, with A LOT of elbow grease.

    • Kelly H. says

      Reenie, I wonder if Goo Gone would work on your melted plastic. That’s what I always try first to clean up any sticky mess! (Sorry if this has already been mentioned — I haven’t read through all of the comments!)

    • Katie says

      We have a glass cooktop also and it is a real pain to keep clean. Just the other day I was searching the house for something new to try (after a pot of water boiled over…oops). I discovered an old box of steel wool pads. Worked like magic!! Took off all the burned crud and even removed some of the older spots that accumulate arounds the burners. Didn’t even have to use much elbow grease…I highly recommend steel wool pads! :)

  4. holly says

    that’s awesome! i am also a lowe’s appliance shopper. here’s another handy thing to know:

    when you buy multiple appliances, you can opt for an extended warranty on one or more appliances, and they will not attach them to a particular appliance. that means that if you buy three appliances, you can buy extended warranty for one or two, and that way whichever appliance needs servicing, they will apply the warranty to that appliance. we bought three appliances and two warranties and they will just get applied to whichever two have issues first. with fridge warranty protection, they will also give you a check for spoiled food if your fridge breaks.

    yay lowes!

  5. Liz says

    I was just telling the husband it’s too bad we’re not ready to tackle our kitchen because of the tax-free weekend and appliance sales. There’s always next year.
    We did buy a pair of solid mahogany mid-century modern nightstands this weekend off of Craigslist. We wanted something with drawers but with no shelves or anything near the bottom because of where our floor vents are. After stalking Craigslist for a few months, something finally came up.
    I wouldn’t say they were a steal but they were definitely cheaper than two new nightstands not even completely made out of wood.

  6. says

    Looks like you guys hauled off with quite a steal! :D I bought fabric recently to faux-upholster my bedroom walls, and it was super-discounted to $4 a yard! Very cool.

  7. Abby says

    Well done! Gotta love stacked discounts! Sept/Oct tends to be a good time to buy large appliances because it’s their end of model year, so you guys timed it perfectly-without even trying! Such pros. ;-) Can’t wait to see more of the kitchen progress.

  8. erin says

    Wahoo! You must be excited to be rid of your old clunkers! Great prices too – I can’t believe you got a counter depth stainless fridge for <$1500 let alone <$1100, that's amazing.

    We had been watching the price on a specific range for awhile, and ordered it about a week and a half ago. Well, over the weekend, Sears put it on sale for even lower than what we paid. So we called to see what they could do, and a 10 minute phone call ended up saving us $40… not bad!

  9. Lindsey d. says

    About to drop $7,000 on 13 new windows to replace my 75-year-old wood windows currently in my house. I didn’t score a big deal, but I’m praying that the difference in my heating bill will pay for a good chunk of the windows in the next few years!

  10. Annie says

    SWEET! I have that same stove — ’tis great! I clean it with Bar Keepers Friend for the really tough stuff and Fantastic glass cleaner for the everyday stuff.

    One other thought for you money savin’ Youngsters: try shopping through Ebates.com When we bought our stove this past spring, we hunted for it at Lowes, figured out what discounts we could get (ended up being around $500 on a HUGE sale) and then ran home and bought it through Ebates. We earned a percentage back which only made things even more exciting! Just a thought!!

    • says

      Thanks so much for the tip Annie! We thought about Ebates but worried some of the sales wouldn’t apply or stack that way (in-store it was nice and seamless) but it’s definitely something to remember as we purchase more kitchen stuff!

      xo,
      s

  11. says

    I want to know more about this protective coating for your appliances! I have to wipe fingerprints off on the daily thanks to my 20 month old. I found a pretty great product that only uses water (Gleen cloths), but I am still so intrigued/jealous. :) Spill.

    • says

      It’s just some sort of patented poly coating that they apply over the stainless steel (it’s not a “stainless steel look”, it’s actual stainless with some protective coating over it). Sure enough, Clara smacked her drooly hands all over the floor model and it was a lot cleaner than the unpolyed stainless one next to it. I’m not sure if Frigidaire is the only one to offer it or if others do too.

      xo,
      s

    • Melissa says

      We have this exact fridge and love it!

      That protective coating is FABULOUS. I have a 15 month old and nary a fingerprint even though that boy touches the thing all day long. I also have two teenage boys and nope, no fingerprints, no nothings. I wipe it down maybe once every couple of weeks!

  12. Nicole Marie says

    Congrats on your purchase! You guys got a great deal! I purchased some gray Fieldcrest drapery panels at Target for $7.48 each (reg. price $29.99). I was only able to score 2 panels, so I’m still searching for 2 more…thinking about using your idea of cutting them in half…