How do I save money on my home? That is a question I ask regularly. There are many money saving tips concerning the home that I will share in upcoming posts. Today I’d like to focus on how to save money when replacing a garage door opener. While the example is a garage door opener, the principles mentioned apply to other home maintenance issues as well.
Earlier in the summer we were having daily problems with our garage door opener. I had looked at the troubleshooting guide that came with the opener, but there was not any advice for our current issues. We went for over a month having to take various steps to make the opener work with us eventually entering our home through the front door as much as the garage. Having to unplug and replug the door opener each time, along with manually shifting the door defeated the very purpose of having the opener. So I asked, how do I address this in a cost effective way?
I thought about calling a serviceman to repair our ten year old unit. But then I discovered I could purchase a new ¾ horsepower opener for about $200, and figuring that a serviceman would probably charge at least $100 to attempt to fix our current one, it seemed that a new one would be the better option. So below were my wiser dollar steps.
- Determine what kind of opener to buy. I checked Consumer Reports, but they did not rate door openers, so I scanned suggestions on-line. I had to determine whether to buy a chain driven, belt driven or screw driven opener. My previous opener was screw driven and I have since read that these models can be problematic where there are wide temperature changes. Living in the Southwest, we definitely experience that. So I determined to go with either chain driven or belt driven.
- Determine installation plans. Given that it would cost about $120 for a representative from Lowe’s to install, I decided to install it myself with the huge help of a friend who had performed such a task before. I figured that if it was just too complicated I could always pay the money for someone to come do it. But if someone else installed it and I witnessed how easy it was I could not get my money back. According to what I read online, it seemed achievable.
- Find a deal. Often times I would wait for a sale before making a purchase like this, but the current situation was becoming frustrating, so it was time for a replacement soon! I had located an opener at Lowe’s that I decided to purchase. It was $203.00 retail, so I asked how can I get a better deal on an item that’s not on sale? I looked through my garage and shed and found several items I could return to Lowe’s. The soaker hoses I had bought quite a while back but never put in the flower bed, the unopened drain cleaner and the gift that didn’t work out were all items I took back to Lowe’s. After returning the products, I ended up with enough credit to nearly pay for the opener. But given that the cost of the item was a couple of hundred dollars I employed one other tactic. I purchased a Home Depot coupon off of Ebay. The coupon cost me about $8.00 and would provide a 20% discount. Home Depot would not necessarily honor the coupon, but competitors, including Lowe’s typically do.
So I saved more than $164 off what the cost could have been, had I paid retail and paid someone to install the opener. When you factor in my use of merchandise credit, I had no out of pocket expense. Below is a comparison of the potential cost and actual cost.
Door opener $203.00
Installation charge $119.00
Door opener $203.00
Installation charge $0
Cost of 20% coupon $8.14
Apply 20% coupon – $40.60
Paid in full with merchandise credit.