How We Saved on Our First "Major" Purchase as Homeowners
electric lawnmower on grass

Lessons From a First-Time Home Buyer: How We Saved on Our First “Major” Purchase as Homeowners

Being a new homeowner after years of renting means that there are several items we are now in the market for that I wouldn’t have even thought of before. What’s more, these items are often on the pricey side, pushing them into the category of “major purchases.” For example, this past week, we bought ourselves a lawnmower.

Knowing that we didn’t want to “cheap out” but also didn’t want to go overboard (buying something top-of-the-line unnecessarily), we compared a few options and also asked for suggestions. Then, when it was time to buy, we also managed to pull out a few tricks to save — including some we planned and others that we honestly lucked into. Let me explain.

4 Ways We Saved on Our Lawnmower Purchase (As New Homeowners)

Finding a sale

First, with spring fast approaching, we figured we’d want to buy now before the season actually starts. This was seemingly the right move as, when we went to Lowe’s, we saw that several mowers were on sale. In good news for us, this included one electric mower that was recommended to us by a friend. Rather than the regular $750, the mower was currently selling for $599.

Granted, since I haven’t been tracking home improvement store pricing, I can’t really say if this was a “real” deal or a common occurrence. But, it was listed for a price we were willing to pay. That brought us to step two.

Our “damage box” special

After looking at a few different options for comparison’s sake, we landed at an end cap where the mower we’d been eyeing was on display. When our eyes moved down from the display and onto the inventory in front of us, we noticed that two mowers had a special price tag on them. Both indicated a price of $500 and noted “box in rough shape.” Sure, there were a couple of small holes in the box where a piece had punctured through — but $100 off because the box isn’t perfect?! Sign us up!

Asking for a deal

Before we pulled the trigger on the damaged box special, we happened to look at the mower’s listing on the Lowe’s site. It was there that my wife noticed that, online, the mower was listed at the $599 price but included a free bonus: a backup battery. Yet, there wasn’t mention of this in-store that we could see. Plus, even if we did order online to take advantage of this extra battery offer, we’d then be forfeiting the damaged box deal.

That’s when I had an idea: I decided to ask somebody (bold, I know). I headed to the Customer Service desk and briefly explained the situation. Immediately, they went ahead and started entering the info into the computer to see what they could do. After some trial and error, they determined that they could, in fact, allow me to buy the $500 damaged box special and get the bonus battery for free as well. Sold!

By the way, before we officially checked out, we did open the box and make sure everything looked okay (which it did). Also, in case you were wondering, the extra battery apparently retails for $300. And although we might not really need a second battery, it will be a nice thing to have.

Using Pepper

One downside of buying our lawnmower now is that it’s one month shy of when our Discover It card will offer 5% back on home improvement store purchases. Because of this, we did consider waiting, but we weren’t sure if the damaged box special would still be around next month — and the $100 we saved there outweighs the 5% back we’d get. Nevertheless, we still managed to find a way to get 5% back on our purchase thanks to Pepper.

Pepper Rewards is a relatively new app that allows users to earn rebates on gift card purchases. As you can probably guess at this point, one of the brands featured on the app is Lowe’s. So, as they were ringing us up, I took a minute to buy a Lowe’s gift card on Pepper. Sure enough, when they were ready for our payment, they were able to scan my gift card (using the barcode provided in the app) and apply it to my total. FWIW, I could have done the exact amount but elected to put the rest on a credit card instead.

Thanks to this trick, we got 5% back on the gift card purchase. Then, when we got home, I used these rewards to purchase an Amazon gift card in Pepper — which happened to go towards another home-related purchase, but that’s a story for another time.

All in all, Pepper proved to be a great capper to what was already shaping up to be a successful transaction.

To recap, rather than paying $750 for our electric lawnmower, we ended up paying $500 (before taxes), getting a free backup battery, and effectively getting a free $25 gift card to Amazon thanks to Pepper. Honestly, I’m pretty darn happy with how this all went. I’m also happy to report that the mower itself worked wonderfully when we used it to finally mulch the leaves in our yard the next day.

Following this first big purchase as homeowners, if all others can go like this, then I think we’ll be doing just fine.


Kyle Burbank

Head Writer ~ Fioney
Kyle is the head writer for Fioney. He is a personal finance nerd, constantly looking for new apps and services to test and incorporate into his own financial game plan. In addition to his role at Fioney, he's written for other publications including Born2Invest, Lifehack, and Laughing Place, as well as his own site Money@30. He also creates personal finance and travel-related videos for Fioney's YouTube channel, which has garnered more than 2 million views. Currently, Kyle resides in Springfield, Missouri with his wife of 10 years. Together, they enjoy traveling (including visiting Disney Parks around the world), dining, and playing with their dog Rigby.

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