by Dana R. Arevalo,
P.O.V. Contributing Writer
Being a single parent, I must be extremely creative when it comes to purchasing appliances. I cannot directly go and purchase an appliance as I must save a portion of money each week for other expenses. My current washing machine is broken and unable to be repaired per two different service repair teams, therefore, I am forced to utilize the laundromat. While I enjoy being able to wash all of the clothes at once and it saves time, I dislike the laundromat. My savings idea came to me approximately one month ago when I thought to myself, "Why, am I not saving for a new machine?" I am putting all of this money every week into the laundromats machines, I should be saving for my own machine.
1) New vs. Used. Used does not necessarily mean poor quality. I did not realize how common it was for individuals to sell their old appliances, which may be in tip-top shape for much less. I believe in high-quality and while I am not in a position to purchase a brand new machine, I am considering a used brand name front-loading machine. I have determined that they wash clothes much better then top-loading machines. Knowing what you want will prepare you for the next step.
2) What can I afford? Determine your appliance budget. I cannot afford a brand new top of the line machine, go for what is comfortable for you. Think about a time-frame, how long can you go without one? My timeline is mid-September through early October, as it will be much more convenient to wash the children's clothes at home when they begin school. I decided on a budget of $200. to $250. I currently have $50.00 saved.
3) Save Away. Make a unique savings plan. When I receive change, I put all of the dollars and fives away to go towards the machine. In a strange way, it makes saving fun. People do this all the time.
4) Where to look? That depends. If you absolutely do not want a used machine, look around. Many places have sales and at times, sell machines that have minor cosmetic issues for less. A minor cosmetic issue would be small dents or scratches. I have seen this millions of times when at Home Depot, etc.
If you are okay with a used "clean" machine, there are many appliance stores that sell used machines. Ask many questions about the machine. How old is it? Where did it come from? Is it a repaired machine or did someone donate it? Other places you can look is in the local want ads and even Craigs List. Use caution with Craigs List. Never go alone when meeting someone.
5) Ask for the price you want. Barter. If you feel it isn't a good deal, ask for a better price. Many times you will get it what you ask for.
These ideas could be applied to purchasing any appliance. I once found a top quality slightly-used vacuum for $10.00 on Craigs List. Individuals have items sitting around their houses, taking up space, looking to practically give things away. Happy Shopping!