Yes, I am saying to buy new appliances and save money. Recently, I bought a new refrigerator to replace a nineteen (19) year old refrigerator. It was freezing up and leaking water from the freezer. It just didn’t make sense to repair because of the age and we wanted a stainless steel one to match relatively new dishwasher. I hate shopping for appliances!
Shopping for appliances such as refrigerators, washers or dryers is not fun! Where do you go, what brand is best, never mind what size do you need? If you believe the marketing hype, you need every little bell and whistle. I started with Consumer Reports to provide an objective analysis. I noticed immediately that two (2) of the brands I was interested in were in the top three (3) rated appliances. This was not my only research, but it part of it.
Next I went on the internet to try to figure out what we wanted. Size does matter! Our old refrigerator was bought when my children were still living with us. Therefore, I thought we could get away with something smaller. Silly me! There are only so many models and they seem to be larger than ever before. We had a twenty-four (24) cubic inch refrigerator and bought a twenty-six (26) cubic inch one. So much for downsizing!
The store we went to told us about energy rebates from the utility company which I mentally deducted from the cost. My wife and I wanted a French door, stainless steel refrigerator without the water/ice through the door, but we ended up with a side by side with water/ice through the door. So much for research and a list of what you want. We changed because the bottom freezer was inconvenient, although there were baskets and compartments. The upper portion seemed small no matter the size.
What was the tipping point? Price as usual, the differential was $500! We could not justify the difference in price for the look and questionable functionality. The real eye opener was the price, not the differential but how it compared with what I spent nineteen (19) years ago. Our broken refrigerator cost roughly only 20% less than the new one. The new one was larger and stainless steel. If I subtract the rebate, the new refrigerator was cheaper. Without accounting for inflation, the two (2) refrigerators were very similar in cost!
The biggest surprise was when the recycling company picked up the old refrigerator. One of the guys told me that the annual cost of operating the old refrigerator was $350. If I knew that sooner, I would have replaced it years ago. I already knew the new refrigerator would cost $53 in utility costs per year. These differences are not just for refrigerators. Other appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines and dryers are much more efficient today than ten (10) or twenty (20) years ago.
Just add it up, $350 times ten (10) years is a lot of money. Based on the utility difference alone, my purchase will breakeven in less than four (4) years. That is a great payback; just ask your favorite engineer or accountant! All this was more than enough to encourage the purchase. Then the store offered no interest for a year. I have the cash, but I will gladly take the free money for the year. I did this before when I bought a PC from Dell. I set up an automatic payment monthly to insure it was paid off on time.
What is the takeaway from this experience? When you think about your expenses, you should think outside the box. Do you consider utility costs for appliances as a reason to replace them, but you should? Not only would you save money, but you could enjoy a better, newer product for less. My purchase will breakeven in less than four (4) years. As a former CFO, I use to examine these issues in companies all the time, but never in my personal life. I usually wait until it either breaks down or it is no longer useful. What do you think? Yes, I am saying to buy new appliances and save money.
Photo by: Ewen and Donabel