With a big-ticket purchase like a sofa or dishwasher, you want to buy quality without paying more than you have to. Before you head to the store, do your research and remember that when it comes to saving money, where you buy may be as important as what you buy. To get the most for your money, remember these guidelines on your next furniture — or appliance — shopping trip.
- Always buy energy-efficient appliances.
- Give the charity outlets and secondhand stores a try. You might luck out.
- Always buy carpets and rugs on sale or at discount outlets.
- Compare appliance service terms as well as price. A slightly more expensive item may have a better warranty. Avoid buying supplemental service contracts; they are seldom worth what you pay.
- Evaluate major and minor appliances by reading reports from unbiased testing services. Online customer reviews can also help you shop smart.
- Regular appliance maintenance does wonders for longevity. Do it yourself. Some only need a drop of oil in the right place once a year.
- Postpone purchases of major furniture and appliances until they go on sale. Watch the papers and the season (January-February for bedding, April-May for carpets and furniture at the start of summer) to get the best deal.
- Pay cash when you can to avoid paying credit-card interest on big purchases.
- All other things being equal, unpainted furniture is less expensive.
- Read the classifieds for bargains. Again, check the item number with the opinions of unbiased testing services, if possible.
- Save your receipt and always know the warranty terms. You never know when you'll need to return faulty merchandise.
- Use less expensive fabric for slipcovers or drapes if you might be moving or redecorating soon.
- When shopping for appliances, don't pay for "bells and whistles" you don't need and won't use.
As an economical consumer, you should get what you pay for. If you have experienced an unresolved issue with a company about a financial product or service, submit a complaint on the Consumer Complaint Database at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. For more information about smart spending, visit Military OneSource.