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In this post, I share how you can save money on a refrigerator. Our family bought our refrigerator for half off the retail price simply by shopping online.
We literally saved more than $1,600 on a brand new refrigerator!!!
In this real life scenario, our old fridge had been on the fritz for a few months. The freezer would thaw slightly- not completely- and then freeze again. Our ice cream was getting rather soft and all our frozen foods were looking a little crystal-ly. And not in a good way. It was in a very bad way. I thought about sharing a picture of our tub of ice cream which thawed/refroze so many times that it separated and changed colors, but I’ll spare you. 😉
It was rather obvious that we needed to replace our fridge soon if we were going to save our food. The fridge was pretty old too so an upgrade would also help us get one with a better Energy Star rating.
So this gave me an opportunity to practice my online savings game. AND it provided a great example for me to share with you so you can save this kind of money too. Silver lining!
All it came down to was using some key websites and apps.
These websites and apps got us a whole lot of discounts and cash back: Lowe’s, Rakuten, Raise, Ibotta, and Lakeside Perks.
Exactly how did I use all of those websites and apps to save more than $1,600 on our brand new refrigerator by shopping online? And how can you save money using all these websites and cash back apps to save on your online shopping too?
Read on for all the info you need.
Step 1: Look for refrigerators online.
The first thing that I did was do a few searches for refrigerators on my phone. (I like to use Bing because then my searches also make me a little money.) I knew I wanted a water/ice dispenser, but other than that, I was open to whatever I could find.
After searching through various types, I discovered that I really liked the french door refrigerators with the freezer on the bottom. It seemed more energy efficient to me. (Hot air rises so frozen food is kept lower. You can also open one french door so less cool air escapes.)
When I was starting my search, we had a little bit of luck on our side–it turned out that our fridge decided to slowly die at the same time that Lowe’s was having its Black Friday sales early.
On the lowes.com website, refrigerators were marked down for Black Friday the week before Thanksgiving! So that helped fuel my search for affordable replacement options. My husband and I perused the deals there and saved our favorites to a list under our mylowes account.
Step 2: Pick the one you want to buy.
We took our list of favorite refrigerators and researched our top choices on Consumer Reports (consumerreports.org). If you don’t have access to Consumer Reports, you can sign up for one month for $10. Then you can do your product research and cancel it before the second month. Of course, there are a lot of ways to find and read free reviews too (like on CNET, Amazon, or other blogger reviews that you can find by searching for your product online).
Without any discounts or cash back, the price for this refrigerator was pretty hefty at $3,062.98 (not including taxes).
- Retail price: $3,029.00
- Ice connector: $13.98
- Haul away: $20
Total Price (not including taxes): $3062.98
But the Black Friday sale put it more in our price range.
Step 3: Check cash back apps for extra savings.
Now, this is the key step where you’ll get the magical amount of extra big savings that most people miss out on, simply because they don’t check for it.
If we had skipped this, we would’ve missed out on another $230 in savings.
Don’t skip this step! You might be tempted because you’re already getting a great Black Friday discount at Lowe’s. But take the 5-10 extra minutes to use cash back apps to maximize your savings.
So how do you actually check for additional savings?
Here’s how I do it:
We started off with our Lowe’s Black Friday discount on the Lowe’s website, listing the price at $1,699:
At this point, I put the refrigerator in our cart and went to checkout–without actually checking out– so I would know the total price with taxes. It was $1865.11.
Frugal Note: You may be thinking, wait a second, just because the fridge was 43% off sticker price doesn’t mean it’s a good deal! Those sticker prices can be misleading and often inflate your actual savings. Rest assured, I searched online for the same fridge and confirmed that the best deals for this fridge at other stores still had it listed for $600 more than the Lowe’s Black Friday price.
And then it was time to rack up additional savings with cash back apps!
Now, because of my experience with cash back apps, I knew I should go to Rakuten to go to Raise to buy a discounted Lowe’s gift card. Then I should go to Ibotta to go to Lowe’s to buy the refrigerator with the gift card. Lastly, I would submit my receipt on Lakeside Perks.
And that would save me all the money.
“What did she just say?!”
I hope I didn’t just lose you! Stick with me here while I explain all that in a lot more detail. Because once you get it, you’ll realize it’s so awesome to save money this way. And you’ll start realizing all the ways you can apply it to your own purchases.
Here’s the meat and potatoes about how to use these cash back apps:
Rakuten is a cash back website/app (which used to be called Ebates). Basically, if you start with them and use their links to browse to another website to place your online order, it will give you some cash back, and the amount depends on the deals of the day.
Raise is a discounted gift card website/app. If you know you’re going to buy something from a particular store, then you can buy a discounted gift card from Raise first and save.
Ibotta is another cash back app like Rakuten. It also has coupons for cash back on specific items, but for this fridge scenario, I don’t get into that. (Just like Rakuten, if you start with them and use their links to browse to another website to place your online order, it will give you some cash back.)
Lakeside Perks is a website that gives rebates, free shipping, and returns for purchases at various retailers. Some of the big ones that we constantly get 5% back on our purchases include: Target, Costco, Aldi, Hy-Vee, Beachbody, JCPenney, Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohl’s, Walgreen’s, CVS, and of course, Lowe’s. It does cost $15/month, but it has paid for itself every month that we’ve been using it. In fact, we average about $25 cash back per month (after accounting for the monthly fee).
So now that you’ve read the Cliffs notes on these cash back websites and apps, let’s get back to our refrigerator scenario and see how to apply them.
Rakuten usually gives cash back for purchases made on Raise. So, I went to Rakuten and searched for Raise. It showed that Rakuten was giving 1% cash back on Raise purchases. Then I browsed to the Raise site using the link in Rakuten. Once at Raise, I searched for Lowe’s gift cards and saw that Raise was giving 5.5% cash back on exact amount gift cards. So I bought a big Lowe’s gift card for the exact amount of the refrigerator with taxes ($1865.11).
Just by using Rakuten and Raise, we already saved an additional $121.23 on our refrigerator purchase:
- Rakuten: $18.65 cash back (1% off Raise)
- Raise: $102.58 cash back (5.5% off Lowe’s gift card)
Then it was time to use Ibotta.
And again, because of my experience with cash back apps, I knew we should look at the cash back deals for Lowe’s on both Rakuten and Ibotta to determine which was better. (Ibotta doesn’t offer cash back for Raise; otherwise we would’ve checked both Rakuten and Ibotta before browsing to Raise too.) At that time in November, it turned out that Rakuten was only giving 1% cash back on Lowe’s purchases while Ibotta was offering 1.5%.
After determining which cash back app to use for Lowe’s, I opened Ibotta, browsed to the Lowe’s website, and (finally) bought the refrigerator using the discounted gift card that I got from Raise.
By browsing with Ibotta, we saved another $30.79 on the refrigerator:
- Ibotta: $25.79 cash back (1.5% off Lowes) and additional $5 cash back (Ibotta days bonus for online purchase)
And there was yet one more website that I used to save on the purchase of our new refrigerator. Last but not least: Lakeside Perks.
I went to the Lakeside Perks website, filled out a rebate form for Lowe’s, and forwarded the order confirmation email. That’s all I had to do to get another 5% cash back on the refrigerator purchase.
- Lakeside Perks cash back: $85.95 (5% off Lowe’s)
After taking just a few minutes to use these websites and cash back apps, I saved an additional $232.97 on the refrigerator!
Step 4: Track your purchase for price drops.
For a month after your purchase, you can periodically check the Lowe’s website for additional price drops. If the price goes lower than what you paid, they guarantee to price match it.
I lucked out and within 30 days of our purchase, the price of the refrigerator dropped another $100 at Lowe’s! I was able to go into the store and get a price match discount.
- Lowe’s price match discount: $107.02 (after price dropped $100 more within 30 days of purchase)
With taxes considered, it ended up being another $107.02 off.
Conclusion: Online shopping saves you money!
After adding up our savings from the Lowe’s Black Friday sale, Rakuten, Raise, Ibotta, and Lakeside Perks, we were able to buy our refrigerator for half price!
All in all, we saved over $1,600 off the price of the refrigerator we bought in November, simply by using those websites and cash back apps.
Total paid (not including taxes): $1392.99
Plus Taxes: $160.41
Total Price (including taxes): $1553.40
If you just look at what we saved by buying online versus going into the store, that’s over $300. ($1865.11 minus 1553.40 = $311.71)
Now you can use these lessons for your online shopping.
We took advantage of the following websites and apps:
- Lowe’s Black Friday prices (free)
- Rakuten app (free)
- Raise app (free)
- Ibotta app (free)
- Lakeside Perks ($15/month)
- Consumer Reports ($10 for one month)
Cash Back Cheat Sheet: Refrigerator Edition
- Rakuten –> Raise = 1% cash back
- Raise = 5.5% cash back on Lowes gift card
- Ibotta –> Lowe’s.com = 1.5% cash back
- Lakeside Perks = 5% rebate on Lowe’s receipt subtotal
- Lowe’s Price Match
I hope you’ve learned that you can really save big by shopping online. And it’s so easy! No driving from store to store–wasting gas and time. I don’t even want to think about doing all that research by going store to store and looking at all the refrigerators for sale.
From that perspective, shopping online is great for your wallet and the environment!
I hope this post inspires you to try some of these cash back apps on your next online shopping trip!
Your frugal friend,