Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorneys Weigh Benefits and Drawbacks to Energy-Efficient Appliance Rebate Program

In the market for a new refrigerator? Uncle Sam might be willing to help foot the bill, say Atlanta bankruptcy attorneys.

With Cash for Clunkers no longer, the government hopes to stimulate the economy with a new program that targets household appliances. Starting this year, up to $300 million will be available for folks who purchase new refrigerators, washers, heating and air units and more. The goal is twofold: first, to get consumers out there spending and, second, to replace old, energy-guzzling appliances with modern energy-efficient ones. For example, a brand new washer typically uses 50 percent less water, and spins clothes so efficiently that it also reduces dryer time.

As with any seemingly good deal, though, there are still pros and cons. If your washing machine is about to bite the dust and you can afford a new one, this might be a golden opportunity to save some green. However, if you're already struggling to pay off your credit card bills, you may not be able to afford another major purchase - whether or not you get a sweet discount.

Before you make a decision, make sure to read the fine print. In this case, you want to find out the rules for your state, since rebates vary based upon where you live. In Georgia, for example, mail-in rebates will be available for many ENERGY-STAR appliances starting this month. A new washing machine, for instance, could net you anywhere from $50-99 back, depending on its energy rating - and assuming it qualifies at all. As for the old washer you replace, you can choose to sell it (Craigslist works well), donate it (for a nice tax write-off) or even recycle it (which in some states can get you a higher rebate).

If you can afford to make a major purchase, there might not be a better time to do it. Not only will you save money with your rebate, but you might be able to lower your energy bill permanently. On the other hand, if your appliances are working just fine, you shouldn't feel pressured to jeopardize your finances just to buy new ones.

A rebate can easily get canceled out by the future interest you'll have to pay if you put that new appliance on your credit card - especially if you're already drowning in debt to begin with. Sometimes the smartest way to save isn't to wait for sales and incentives; it's to lower your debt.

Bankruptcy often provides an effective way to lower - or even discharge - your debts. Learn about how bankruptcy can free up more of your paycheck each month when you sign up for a free personal debt analysis with an Atlanta bankruptcy attorney. Rebates are temporary - but freedom from debt pays off forever.

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