How To Shop For Big Ticket Items.

Christmas came early at the Smith house...

Isn't she gorgeous? I fully admit that I'm in love with an appliance. Now, this is one big fridge. At 31 cu. ft. I'll have plenty of room to store all the delicious food I plan on cooking in this kitchen. For anyone who's interested, it's a Kenmore that we bought from Sears. I researched just about every fridge on the market through Consumer Reports and this model best matched everything we were looking for.

Today, I want to share with you a couple tips on buying a big ticket item. We got this fridge for 50% off the manufacture's price just because of these few tips.

1. Stalk your prey. 

This isn't just limited to the jungle. In order to judge when an item is at it's lowest price, you have to know what it normally sells for. I'm not talking about the manufacturer's price, I'm talking about the general-every-day price. For this fridge, it hovered around $2,600. There was NO way I was paying that much for a fridge, so for a few weeks I watched the price to see if it fluctuated.

2. Don't be fooled by a "big" sale.

We bought this fridge a week before Black Friday. Sears wasn't having any blowout sales at the time, nor had they released their Black Friday prices. I knew not to wait for a Black Friday sale because I had been watching the price for weeks and when it dropped to below $2,000, I knew it was a good buy. The cheapest I had seen it before was around $2,300. Sure enough, when the Black Friday ads came out, it was on "sale" for $3,000. I'm sure a lot of people thought they were getting a great deal, but we paid over $1,000 less with tax and delivery and didn't even have to fight the crowds.

3. Even after you buy, keep checking prices.

This is THE best tip so even if you don't do anything else, do this. A lot of stores have a price guarantee. If you buy an item and it goes on sale within a certain amount of time, they'll refund you the difference. We bought our fridge on a Sunday. A couple days later I happened to go onto Sears.com to check the price of the fridge. It had dropped another $140! I grabbed my receipt and headed straight for Sears. A hour later I had $140 back in my pocket!

The bottom line is, take your time when making a big purchase. Check back every couple days for a few weeks and you'll start to learn what a great price is and what a "sale" price is. With the internet, I've seen prices fluctuate several times in a day. Also, look for coupons you can stack on top of each other to get an even better deal. Lowes and Sears both give you 5% off if you have a credit card with them or if you join Ebates.com, you'll get money back every time you order something online. There are lots of ways to save if you just keep your eyes open!

What about you...do you have a great tip that's saved you money? Or did you get a great deal that you'd love to share?