Buying a refrigerator rarely hits at a good time! Whether the house you are buying needs one (old OR new house – I've dealt with both needs before), or your new rental has no fridge, or your own fridge just up and decides to die, it's always a challenge. At first, you think, “Oh COOL! Now I can get one with tons of goodies.” But once you start researching, you often hit the wall of reality and long lists of requirements that may leave a lot of your wish list in the dumpster! For example, the length, width and depth of the space available can make a huge difference in what options you may have. Not to mention the size of the door you will bring it through as well as any other space you may have to navigate through. (I hear the French Door refrigerators are awesome but also can be the toughest to get into some houses due to size!)
Also, you need to see what kind of plumbing you have available if you want an ice maker, water dispenser, etc. I read a sad story of a fellow baby boomer who brought a fridge with an ice maker only to have it delivered and find out her rental didn't have the plumbing she needed to make it work. So now she has no icemaker AND less useable space in her freezer due to the ice maker equipment. Don't forget to check out the energy cost for each unit. The difference can sometimes be dramatic. The Department of Energy has some useful info to help with that. For many of us boomers and seniors, ease of use, aging in place needs, and universal design can also be an issue. If we have elderly parents living with us, we need to think through whether that awesome new goodie on a fridge – like a bottom freezer, for example – will be too confusing for an elderly senior with memory issues. If so, you might wind up with many frustrating days of frozen sodas and thawed out steaks as they rearrange in the wrong ways. And that doesn't even include the costs for these lovely necessities! Did you know that color can impact the cost? Being very practical and pragmatic, I tend to go with the cheapest even if I might prefer another color. But I also try to go for the one that will yield fewer fingerprints – whether the prints are from kids, grandkids, or even an occasional granddog paw. 🙂 Hopefully, your fridge shopping will hit during a holiday weekend when there are massive sales (and massive crowds) to help keep the cost down. Or if your purchase is due to moving, make sure you change your addresses first AND READ ALL YOUR MAIL from the post office BEFORE you go shopping. Otherwise, you will follow my terrible example and buy a fridge, then FINALLY have time to catch up on the mail a week later and realize you could have saved another $50 with the coupon Uncle Sam sends you! So many things to take into consideration before you head out to the various appliance sections of all the stores in your area, that's for sure. I always let my fingers and keyboard due the preliminary searching and highly recommend starting with Sears as they have teamed up with Consumer Reports to provide some very useful information to help. Other good resources I like to check include the Dollar Stretcher, Simple Dollar, and the various stores themselves as many of them offer reviews – like Best Buy. Very handy helps. Then head for the store to actually look at what's available. Be sure to put yourself in the brain of all the people using it – especially those elderly parents OR those young kids and grandkids. Thanks to ALL of them, I've always gotten locks for the in the door dispensers when I've treated myself to them. That can save a ton of headaches from water ponds on the floor.
Buying a new refrigerator can be fun, expensive, time-consuming, and definitely a necessity. These are just some of my favorite tips to help you wend your way through the appliance aisles. How about you? Got any more tips for us? We'd love to hear!