Emergency Money Funds can be Shored up Via Appliance Rebate Plan

Emergency Money Funds can be Shored up Via Appliance Rebate Plan

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New appliance rebate program

Anyone who has had to use emergency money to fund a needed appliance knows how big the cost can be. Take Amanda Seigel for example—she was a St. Paul, Minnesota housewife who noticed a “loud noise” when her furnace turned on. Like a lot of Americans hampered by the economy, she ignored it. Her hope was that it was a temporary “kink” in the machine that would iron itself out. Unfortunately, like thousands of other consumers, Seigel’s story ended in a high-priced emergency replacement furnace. She said, “We had money saved up for job loss because we knew what was happening with the economy…we were startled to see how quickly our money was diverted elsewhere when an emergency happened.”

Appliances can be a huge cost for consumers and for the economy as a whole. Part of a new government push is to bring energy-efficient models to the US. Much like the “Cash for Clunkers” program, the government is now looking to offer incentives for consumers to buy appliances that are “green.” A federal appliance rebate program is going to start in early 2010. The program is set to spur people into buying energy-efficient washers, dryers, refrigerators and heaters. The items covered are those that have the official “Energy Star” logo and certification.

Questions to answer regarding the rebate

The new program is hoped to revamp the American home into a more energy-efficient one. There is a caution however due to funding. The “Cash for Clunkers” program had a huge backing, whereas the appliance program has only one-tenth as much. That leaves a total of $300 million for consumers to take advantage of. Experts are warning that the money could run out quickly so it’s best to take advantage of the rebates as soon as possible. If you are looking to buy a big-ticket item, remember to keep the following in mind:

• Is it a good deal? It’s not always a good idea to replace appliances just because you can. The question of whether or not to buy needs to be analyzed. Joe McGuire, president of the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, said it’s a question of potential savings over time. McGuire explained, “A good example is a 10-year old washing machine…with Energy Star, you could reduce utility costs by $145 a year and save 5,000 gallons of water a year.” At that rate, the average washer would pay for itself in about three years. That additional $145 in savings could be channeled to an emergency money fund or interest-earning savings accounts.

• Rebates vary by state. Look into your state’s specific requirements and rules in terms of rebates on Energy-Star rated appliances. For example, in California residents can get cash back on washing machines, refrigerators and room air conditioners. On the other hand, Wisconsin offers rebates on washing machines, refrigerators, boilers, furnaces, freezers, dishwashers, HVAC units and geothermal pumps. The eligible appliances and the amount of the rebate vary widely so be sure to research your state’s qualifications.

• How long will it last? The appliance rebate should last until February of 2010 or until it is used up—whichever comes first. Jen Stutsman, spokesperson for the Department of Energy said that the fund is expected to run out quickly. Anyone who wants to take advantage of it should act as soon as possible.

Rebates are great tools to save

For anyone who has ever had to use credit cards, emergency money or family-help to pay utility bills, finding another savings tool is a huge benefit. The new government rebate plan for appliances is one of those tools that, if used wisely, can help people not only get a tax credit now, but save money long-term. Look into your state’s rebate and see if buying a new appliance fits into your plan.

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