My partner and I are remodeling our kitchen right now, which includes buying new appliances. This project, as you can imagine, comes with a steep price tag.
We'd like to find good overall value. We define this as reliable, high-performing and aesthetically pleasing appliances that don't come with "OMG, that's a month's pay!" price tags.
Here are some tips we've gathered along the way.
1. Read reviews
You want appliances that will last. You'll pay more in the long run if you get something that needs frequent repair or replacement.
Consumer Reports reviews appliances for performance and reliability. It's a great resource. But if you're not interested in paying for a subscription, check out reviews on Amazon and other websites. I like running online searches for "brand name, model number," plus the word "review."
2. Know what you want
It's easy to get upsold when you start shopping around. Knowing exactly what you want before you start looking could prevent you from paying extra for features you didn't really want.
For example, if you stir-fry often, you might want a triple-ring gas burner with 18,000 or more British thermal units, or Btu, of heat. That's a reasonable request from someone who frequently cooks Asian food.
If your idea of "cooking" is reheating pizza in the microwave, you don't need a high-performance burner. Instead, opt for a lower-end, stainless steel appliance, which offers the aesthetic look you crave without all the added features. (To save even more money, opt for black or white appliances.)
3. Search discount and outlet stores
Find out which types of appliance outlet and discount stores are in your area. We've done a lot of shopping at Sears Outlet, which carries many well-reviewed items at a discount price. Items include a one-year warranty.
The main drawback? Limited selection. There's only one floor model, and when it's gone, it's gone.
In some cases, a long drive to the outlet store can be another drawback. Fortunately, we live close enough to an appliance outlet that the time and gas spent in transit still makes this a good investment, even if we have to make repeated shopping trips. If you live far away from an appliance outlet, driving several hours to save $100 might not be a good use of your time.
Paula Pant blogs at AffordAnything.com about creating wealth and living life on your own terms. She's traveled to nearly 30 countries, owns five rental units and works for herself. Follow Paula on Twitter @affordanything.