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How I replaced nearly every major appliance in my kitchen for less than $400 total

When my then ex-husband and I remarried (yes, we did that), we agreed to do some upgrading in our house. We weren’t about to tear down walls, but in sync with our fresh start, we wanted to make our home more comfortable and livable.  Part of this venture included fixing up our kitchen, which sorely needed it.  Our budget, however, was tight. Very tight.

I’m a shopper and a planner. I don’t just walk into Home Depot and say "I’ll take one French Door Refrigerator, please." I research, I save coupons, I look for sales, I cash in credit card points. I look online and I physically walk into stores and ask a million questions. If you are in desperate need of a stove NOW, you probably aren’t going to save all that much money. But you still could save some. If you think you are going to upgrade your appliances, start your research asap. Here are some principles that I used to replace nearly every major appliance in my kitchen:

  1. Don’t be married to one store. Keep your eyes peeled for sales and hooks like free delivery, 10% off for energy star, and seasonal sales. Our appliances came from Lowe’s, Home Depot, Sears, Amazon, and Costco. These stores usually will have competing prices on similar or same model numbers.  Periodically search sites like Slickdeals.net to see if there are any regional sales at the big box stores.
  2. Home Depot takes Lowe’s coupons. Lowe’s take Home Depot coupons. Lowe’s 10% coupons are easiest to get; the post office has them in their change-of-address kits, or you can apply online for one if you are moving. I never go into either store without a handful of them in my purse. Usually, they will take expired coupons too. (They will also match each other's advertised prices, which comes in very handy if you have gift cards at one place, but the better sale is at the other.) Don’t neglect online coupon codes either. Always search for coupons before making any major purchase. Look at sites like RetailMeNot.com or just google away. Organizations like AAA offer excellent online discounts at Sears and Target, and WorkingAdvantage offers specific employee discounts if your firm is enrolled.
  3. Gift cards. Pay attention to your credit card points and your choices for redemption. If you have a large purchase coming up, put it on the credit card that will give you the best bang for your buck in terms of points and gift cards. Put anything and everything you possibly can on rewards cards, i.e. utilities payments, medical payments, etc. We bought a $1,300 French door refrigerator with $930 worth of gift cards saved over the year from credit card points; well worth the wait. Most of the gift cards came from our American Express cards, which start you off with sizable bonuses, usually 10,000 points or more, (which translates to a $100 Home Depot card). We also participate in MyPoints;  for a few clicks a day, the points accumulate fairly quickly and the gift card selection is vast. I also belong to Swagbucks, another easy program, whose best rewards are their $5 Amazon electronic gift cards. We've accumulated over $200 in our Amazon account through Swagbucks.
  4. Rebates. There are generally two ways to get rebates. The first one is from the manufacturer, who might just be running a rebate promotion and you might just be lucky enough to catch it. Always search online for a rebate if you are buying a major appliance. The second is from the government. State and local governments as well as utility companies have been giving away huge green rebates on energy efficient appliances. We got $150 back on our front loading washer from our water utility, and had we waited another five months (which we weren’t willing to do,) we could have gotten an additional $150 from our state. At that point, we would have actually made money on the purchase of our washer.
  5. Stainless steel is stupid. I’m convinced that in twenty years, we will look back and view stainless steel as the harvest gold or avocado green of this decade. Just about every major brand charges nearly 10-20% more for the same appliance in stainless steel. Consider black instead. It gives a sleek, modern appearance, is easy to keep clean, provides a nice sharp contrast in light-colored kitchens, and will cost the same as white appliances. We got all of our major appliances (except for the washer) in black, and I love the contemporary look to my kitchen. Many of my small and less expensive appliances (my food processor, crock pot, urn, toaster oven) are stainless steel with black trim, and they go well with the large black appliances. If you’re really stuck on stainless for your major appliances, wait for the occasional stainless steel free upgrades.
  6. Scratch-and-dent places are generally not worthwhile. We bought a front loading washer from a Sears Scratch-and-Dent Outlet about five years ago. The washer was a bargain at about $450, but we always heard a strange noise when we ran it. Turns out the motor had something wrong with it and the washer lasted only about four years. I haven’t found too many great bargains at scratch-and-dent appliance places, though sometimes their overstock sections have good buys. Remember, there's a reason that an appliance winds up at a scratch-and-dent place, and you can only hope that it's just cosmetic.

Ok, you want numbers? I gotcha numbers. Here’s how we did it.

LG Front-loading 4.0 cubic foot, High Efficiency Washer, Model WM2050CW, white. MSRP $646. On sale at Sears for $540.  Delivery/installation charge:  $65.00 Tax $43 ($648 base) We paid $64.
  • AAA.com membership 5% discount:  $27
  • Online NextJump coupon:  $25
  • Shop at Home 9% cashback:  $50
  • Sears ShopYourWay Rewards 1%: $5
  • 5% Discount for using a Sears credit card: $27
  • Gift cards from MyPoints:  $300
  • Water utility discount for high efficiency washer: $150

24.8 cubic foot Maytag French Door Refrigerator, model #MFF2558VEB.  MSRP $1299. On sale at Home Depot for $988. Plus 4 year warranty, $99. Plus icemaker connector, $10. Free delivery.  Tax $65.  ($1162 base)  We paid $41.

  • Coupon code BATH75G3:  $75 (though I bought it in the store, I told them about the online coupon and they honored it)
  • 10% Lowes coupon: $116
  •  Home Depot gift cards from American Express, Visa and MyPoints:  $930

GE Self-cleaning radiant heat glasstop range/oven, model #JBP62DM2BB, black, MSRP $549, on sale at Lowe’s for $494, free delivery, $35 tax. ($529 base)  We paid $226.
  • 10% Lowes coupon: $53
  • Gift cards from Visa promotion: $250

Broan F403023 30-Inch Two-Speed 4-Way Convertible Range Hood, black, $47 on Amazon.com with free shipping (Amazon Prime promotion). We paid $0.

Parenthetically, this same range hood sold at Home Depot for $102, and at Lowe’s for $78  .

Note:  I’m leaving my dishwasher upgrade out of this because my records on it are fuzzy, but we did the same sorts of shtick when we purchased that as well.

Thankfully, our dryer is still intact, but unfortunately, our microwave just died.  I’m on it.


  1. You rock, Susie! My gosh, I am excited when I get a $100 gift card from AmEx. I'm checking out your fridge deal. Ours is probably on its way out and I'd rather get a good deal on my terms. (Our new w/d were an okay deal - price match + 10% at HD, free shipping... Paid $1050 for set of LG front loaders.)

  2. Thanks Mara. Let me know what you end up buying!


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