Stretching Your Dollar: How To Buy Big-Ticket Items For Less

Big-ticket items like cars and major appliances don’t always choose the most convenient time to expire, unfortunately. When you need to replace an expensive necessity right away, here’s how to get the most for your dollar.

Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate

“Many manufacturers and stores are hurting, and they want to make sales,” says Mandy Walker, senior project editor for Consumer Reports magazine. “Don’t settle for just one discount if more than one is available,” she adds. If you have a choice between 0 percent financing and a rebate, for example, try for both. Or, tell the seller that you want to use a manufacturers’ coupon in addition to an in-store discount.

“And even if you think you’ve gotten a good deal [on price], ask for a break on installation, delivery or [accessories],” she adds.

Buy at the right time

If you can wait until the season when retailers usually mark down your item to make room for new merchandise, you’ll have a better chance of snaring a good price.

Shop warehouse clubs

Your local warehouse club may not be the first place that comes to mind for a big-ticket purchase, but many offer major appliances and electronics for substantial savings, plus excellent warranty and return policies.

 Don’t rent to own

Consumer electronics, furniture and appliances are sometimes available for regular payments that you make while using an item, with the goal of owning it at the end of a set period. But in the end, you may end up paying several times the item’s retail value—and that’s no bargain.

 Forget about extended warranties

Most extended warranties for big-ticket items are unnecessary and a waste of your money, says Walker.

Do your homework

Finally, no matter how great the price is, you want a purchase that will continue to perform well throughout its life cycle. “Check the brand reliability data” for any big-ticket item you’re considering buying, recommends Walker. “Check the user reviews, and see what people say about performance over time.”