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A kitchen transformation, 4 of 8: appliances

April Dykman | Improvement Center Columnist | March 2, 2015

In part three of this series, our couple tackled cabinet selection and installation. Choosing appliances was the next major kitchen remodeling event.

Our kitchen came with a black electric stove, a white dishwasher, a range hood that hadn't been ventilated properly -- read, at all -- and a garbage disposal.

The plan was to replace the stove and range hood, axe the disposal and add a refrigerator. The dishwasher got a stay of execution because it blended in with the white cabinets. We also decided to go microwave-free, since we were basically using our microwave as an oversized kitchen timer.

The No. 1 resource we used to choose appliances

With a range hood, refrigerator, and stove on my shopping list, I had a lot of research to do.

So I started where I start my search for most stuff -- Consumer Reports. The site rates brands and models, usually choosing three "best buys," which are high-performing appliances at a reasonable price. After looking at the top three, I narrowed it down to two. Then I looked at the comments and reviews from the people to decide which would be The One.

Oven and range hood

But that's not where my online detective work ended. I still had to get the best price on the whole World Wide Web.

How I saved money--and got money back

Online shopping is better than sliced bread. It's made for people like me who would rather sit on the couch and search for deals than drive from store to store haggling with salespeople.

Tip: If you're going to purchase an appliance online, check it out in the store whenever possible. When I went to Sears to look at the fridge, they didn't have a stainless steel one in the store, which was what I'd planned to buy. Instead, they had it in "stainless look," which has the appearance of stainless but resists fingerprints, a huge plus in my book. Online shopping has its limitations, so it's worthwhile to hunt down a model to inspect in person.

Here's my basic five-step method, which I used to purchase each of our appliances:

  1. Googled for a coupon code from the retailer. (Sometimes I'll even hold off on the purchase until I find a coupon. Otherwise, I'll wait for a sale.)

  2. Logged into eBates, which offered a rebate from the retailer.

  3. Clicked on the retailer's link in eBates, which opens the retailer's site.

  4. Put the item in my shopping cart and input the coupon code.

  5. Selected "ship to store for pick-up," which is free.

It's not as complicated as it sounds, and the savings are pretty substantial when you're purchasing something as expensive as appliances. With free shipping, the coupon and the rebate, I saved about $300 on the refrigerator alone.

Built-in fridge

Crazy-excited by the savings, I even considered buying a new dishwasher -- until I remembered that "saving" more money would cost money. And that we should probably put the savings toward lights and floors. You know, little stuff like that.

Next: kitchen transformation part 5, countertops

Previous:

kitchen transformation part 1, planning and budgeting

kitchen transformation part 2, demolition

kitchen transformation part 3, cabinets

About the Author

April Dykman is a writer who specializes in real estate, personal finance, and entrepreneurship. Her work has been featured on MSNBC, Fox Business, Forbes MoneyBuilder, and Yahoo! Finance.

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