Find the Best Deals on Expensive Items

new home appliances

Purchasing a “big ticket” item takes research and patience. For some families, “big ticket” might mean anything more than $100; for other individuals, $10,000 might signify their limit. In all cases, planning and saving for the purchase is important.

Need or Want

First, decide whether the purchase is a need or a want. Save regularly for a need, such as a car to get to work or health insurance, and contribute less frequently to a want, such as new furniture or a TV.

Plan and Save

First, determine how much you'll need to save. Then, find the most efficient vehicle for building up to that amount.

  • Open an interest-earning savings account such as a money market account or a Certificate of Deposit (CD), which allows you to withdraw money only at set times and, in return, earn a higher interest rate.
  • Save a set amount each month by economizing on “extras” or cutting down on household energy use.
  • Place windfalls such as raises, bonuses, or tax refunds in your savings account.
  • Consider selling or trading in another big household item to contribute to the cost of the new purchase.

Avoid Credit or Rent-to-Own

If you purchase a big item on credit and don’t pay it off immediately, you increase the original cost with monthly interest rates. The same thing occurs with rent-to-own stores, which have interest rates that can increase the cost of an item up to five times.

Before charging or renting-to-own, use this calculator to find out the adjusted cost. If you've already charged a significant item, use this calculator to determine how long it will take you to pay off.

Find the Best Deal

  • Consider used. You often can locate deals on lightly used items such as televisions, furniture, and appliances on online bulletin boards such as craigslist or eBay.
  • Comparison shop. Browse for the lowest price online at sites such as
  • Use layaway. The store will reserve and house your item until you have paid in full. Learn more about layaway here.
  • Try bargaining. Make an offer on an item instead of accepting the stated price.
  • Have patience. Watch out for holiday sales or special markdowns on big items.

Insure Your Purchase

Research extended warranties. Compare brands that have manufacturer’s warranties with those that require you to purchase one through the store. Factor that into the total price.