To Buy, Or Not To Buy

Recent headlines about Cash for Clunkers and the upcoming Cash for Refrigerators programs have me rethinking some of my spending plans.  Here is the situation:  my deployed husband is coming home in 2010 and we anticipate moving sometime thereafter.  Possibly outside the country.  As a result, I've got some household items that could use replacement but I'm waiting to see where we're headed:  a new car, a new refrigerator, a new vacuum, a new clothes dryer.  I've been nursing these things along because it makes no sense to buy something new just to put it in storage or try and resell it (at a loss) a few months later.  I restrained myself from using the Cash for Clunkers program to replace a car, because a car is such a large purchase, I wasn't necessarily interested in buying a brand-new car anyway, and I still need a large car and I wasn't really happy with the models that would qualify.  However, this Cash for Refrigerators program is really tempting me.

Basically, this is a federal program that uses some of the economic stimulus money to encourage purchases of Energy Star appliances.  Buyers will not need to "trade in" their old appliances to be eligible for the rebates, and the federal program can be added to state programs already in existance.  (Find a list of current state programs here.)  Individual states can decide which items will be eligible for rebates in their state.

This brings me to a dilemma…shall I go ahead and purchase new products during the rebate period?  If we stay in the states, I will be needing them.  Some of the items, such as heating and air conditioning systems, will help my house sell or make it easier to be a landlord.

It looks as if the program will become available in November and it is expected that the money will run out pretty quickly.  If you think that you might want to participate, you should start planning and contacting contractors now so that you don't miss the winodw of opportunity.  I'm at least going to talk with my husband and call around to see what might benefit my family.  I'm curious to see if you decide to make any purchases based on the incentive program.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.