Nice Appliances on a Budget

When we moved into the new house, the kitchen had three white appliances (refrigerator, range, microwave) and one with a stainless steel finish (dishwasher). We figured we would want to convert them all to stainless steel down the line, so one of the things we did when we were moving was bring our stainless steel Samsung refrigerator with us and place the existing white refrigerator in our old house, which we are using as a rental property.

Let me tell you, switching the refrigerators was a massive hassle because neither one could fit through the doors. We got the stainless one out the doors at the old house only to have it not fit through the gate of the fence, which wasn't even built when we bought that appliance. One of many reasons why moving is not fun!

I thought the husband was going to blow a gasket during the Great Refrigerator Crisis of 2013, but eventually he got both appliances installed in the houses. That left us with two white appliances and two stainless appliances in our new house. I took this picture during our initial viewing of the house, and you can get a peek at the white microwave and range we wanted to replace.

When it comes to appliances, we simply do not like to pay full price. Actually, we don't really like to pay full price for anything! Through some patience and perseverance, we were able to save $957 on a new Samsung range and microwave for our kitchen! Here's how we did it:

The way we like to shop for appliances is to look for what we call "open box specials." Those are appliances that are discounted for any one of a number of different reasons. Some are returned to the store by people who changed their mind, and others are floor models. Some have been damaged during the shipping process and others have had to be refurbished to fix a flaw. When it comes to open box specials, I am not comfortable with buying one that is refurbished. It makes me worried that it might break and cost us a lot of money for repairs. We are fine with buying returns, floor models and other open box classifications that indicate there is absolutely nothing wrong with how the appliance works. Update: The husband would like me to emphasize that we only buy the Open Box items if they still come with the warranty.

We bought all of our appliances at house #1 with this method and figured we could do it again with this house. We have the best luck with open box specials at Lowe's for some reason. It always seems like between Lowe's and Home Depot, Lowe's has more appliances out in the aisle that are classified as open box specials. One weekend we spent the majority of our Saturday visiting as many Lowe's stores in our area as we could, looking for a nice, discounted microwave and range.

The husband had actually had his eye on this microwave for some time. It had been in the open box section at our Lowe's for more than a month, so we knew they would probably be willing to negotiate and give us a better price. Don't be afraid to ask for a bigger discount than what's on the price tag because the manager is definitely allowed to negotiate the prices on open box specials!

The microwave had a small dent on the right side which we knew would be completely covered up by our kitchen cabinets when installed. Who cares about a dent that no one will ever see?! Originally $399, the manager was kind enough to let us have this Samsung dented microwave for only $175. Our appliance shopping day was off to a great start!

The hunt for the range continued long into the day. I think it's much more likely to find micrwoaves and refrigerators in the "as is" section, so we weren't finding any deals on a stainless range. Finally we stumbled upon this Samsung range at a local store. Like the microwave, its only problem was that it had a dent on the side. Knowing that would also be covered up by cabinets when installed, we didn't care about the dent at all. Originally $1,199, the range was only marked down to $1,079. We were not impressed with the discount, but the manager told us that the range had just arrived the day prior and he wasn't willing to come down on the price yet (even after I told him that it was selling brand new and undamaged at Best Buy for the same price).

This is where the patience part kicks in. The husband really wanted this particular range, but he wanted to pay $850 or less. We just kept coming back to that same Lowe's and asking whether they were willing to come down on the price. I'm sure that manager was getting a bit annoyed with us, but hey– the feeling was mutual! Our philosophy: We're not going to pay retail price for a dented, as-is item! We'll just wait until you're willing to come down. The manager told us he had the same range and paid a higher price for it himself, so we think that was working against us. He didn't want to give it to us for less than what he paid for it. At least, that was our theory.

So we came back. And came back again. And each time they moved on the price about $30. Not enough for our taste. I probably would have given up by then, but Scott was determined to buy this particular range. There is really no stopping that stubborn boy when he digs in his heels about something!

Finally we went to the Lowe's when there was a different manager who was more eager to get rid of his open box items. He ended up selling it to us for $742!

So at this point we had saved $682 from the original prices just because there were some small dents on the side that no one would ever see. How did we end up with a total of $957 off the total bill? Well, we took the perfectly good white microwave and range and sold them on Craigslist for $275. Once you subtract that from the total we spent on the new appliances, we ended up with some very nice appliances for $957 less than we would have paid if we didn't shop the "as-is" aisle.

Now the main question is: Do you think we're crazy? Stubborn? Weird? All of the above?

* Painless Stainless *

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