Household appliances are usually the most expensive items in the home, so when they break down or need to be replaced, getting hold of a good-quality, yet affordable, model can be difficult, hurting wallets and raising stress levels in tandem.
If you need to replace your white goods, but are suffering from a lack of quick cash, there's no need to worry – take a look at the following tips. They'll save you a bundle, and can even help with paying bills. Find out more about furnishing your property quickly on a budget here.
Know what you need
Those living alone or as a couple simply don't need a super-sized washing machine or a freezer chest - items that cost far more than their smaller equivalents – so have a think about what your appliance needs are, and stick to them.
As a general rule, make sure to measure the dimensions of your kitchen, doorframes and hallway before you buy, and then compare these to the sizes of the appliances when you're in the store. There's no feeling worse than getting home with an appliance, only to find that either it won't fit into your home, or juts out too far into the floor space.`
Want the best deals? Look online
The best place to find the cheapest new appliances is through the use of online retailers. Sites occasionally offer up to 90% discounts on a variety of white goods, these often being older lines of products that need to be sold off as new models are released.
As great as online deals are, though, they generally only exist for a short time – an issue for those that don't have a financial cushion and can't quickly save up some cash.
Know when to buy
Although the majority of people will wait until their appliance gives up and breaks down completely, there's something to be said for buying an appliance before you actually need it.
This is because, thanks to the toings and froings of the appliance industry, white goods are regularly cheaper to buy at certain times of the year. Between September and October many manufacturers release their new models, allowing consumers to snap up cut-price, year-old goods. Also, May sees new fridge models released, leading to a similar price cut. The best prices, of course, are to be found in the January sales, although there will likely be less of a selection available.
Visiting a shop at the end of the month can also be a good time for would-be hagglers to whittle down prices – many salespeople in the appliance retail industry work to targets and quotas, so may be more open to offering price cuts that will, in turn, boost their sales numbers.
Refurbished and rewarding
If you're in need of an appliance in a squeeze, refurbished second-hand appliances are a solid choice. Most items will only have been used a few times in the past, yet are vastly cheaper than newer models, ensuring you won't need help with paying the bills after buying one. Many stores will also offer warranties on refurbished products as well, giving you an extra bit of protection. To find your nearest charity shop or refurbished discounter, simply do a quick internet search and marvel at the ultra-low prices.
Buying efficient appliances has the potential to really bring down your energy costs, and can be a godsend if you need help paying your water bill or energy tariff. To get these savings, all you need to do is look out for the product's energy efficiency label when browsing products.
These incredibly useful and informative guides form part of an EU-wide directive that aims to improve customers' access to information and save them money over the life of the appliance. Products are rated on a scale – A to G and A+++ to D are common sights – depending on how efficient they are, and according to the EU, these 21st-cenury savers are cutting the average household's bill by an average of €465 (£330) a year .
Newer appliances will naturally have better efficiency ratings than older products, but may cost a little more due to the more advanced technologies used in their construction. This isn't always the case though, so shop around and see what deals are available.
There are a number of simple lifestyle changes a household can make to cut the costs associated with their appliances. First, try and wash clothes in large batches to reduce your detergent, water and energy usage levels: putting one or two items in per-wash, is very inefficient. The same goes for kettles – only boil as much water as you need.
Make sure that you only open fridge and freezer doors for the shortest time possible, with the same being true for ovens and grills. Every second that the appliance is open translates into more energy needed to lower or raise the temperature.
With a fridge, keep it clean and dust-free, try not to over-load it, and let products cool before you put them inside. Ovens should also be clean, allowing the interior to radiate heat more effectively. You should also turn all of your appliances off of standby mode, saving your finances from the constant drain of energy.