Chicago Bankruptcy Attorneys See Pros and Cons to Cash for Appliances Program

Remember cash for clunkers? Well, how about rebates for refrigerators?

Uncle Sam has $300 million in stimulus money, and he wants you to buy a new fridge - or washer, dryer or HVAC, according to Chicago bankruptcy attorneys. The point, of course, is to encourage consumers to start spending - but also to replace old, outdated appliances with new, energy-efficient ones. Modern washing machines, for instance, use about half the water as their older counterparts. They also squeeze out more water during the spin cycle, meaning you'll need less energy to dry your clothes as well.

If you're in the market for new appliances, this might be the time to do it. However, it's important to weigh the pros and cons of the rebate program - especially if you're already struggling to make ends meet without a new fridge to pay for.

Every state offers their own rebate - for instance, Illinois has a unique two-phase system. The first phase began Jan. 31, 2010 and offers rebates on water heaters and heating and ventilation products. The second phase begins April 16 (and only lasts until April 25) and applies to fridges, freezers, washers, dishwashers, many heating and air units and gas boilers. Once you replace an old appliance, you can make a little more cash by selling it on Craigslist, donating it (in which case you can write it off on your taxes) and even recycling it, which in some cases will get you a larger rebate.

If you've got enough cash to replace an appliance, it might be worth it for you to do it now - you'll save money today and save energy well into the future. That said, if you've got a machine that works perfectly right now, you shouldn't feel obligated to strain your finances in order to get that rebate.

As with most sales, appliance rebates are only a good deal if you already planned to purchase - and know you can afford - the discounted item. Otherwise, your risk adding to your credit card debt - and that means more interest for more months, which could eventually cancel out any rebate. The best way to save money isn't to look for sales and refunds - it's to find ways to stop losing money. And paying interest on debt is one of the fastest drains on your paycheck.

Fortunately, bankruptcy offers a way to plug your spending leaks by offering an affordable, realistic way to pay down - or even discharge - debt. Want to find out more? It's free when you sign up for a complimentary personal debt analysis with a Chicago bankruptcy attorney. A new washer would be nice - but washing away debt would be even nicer.

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