Your Money: Tax free weekend for appliances

If you can hold out until next spring, the Cash for Appliances program will be held in North Carolina. The program is like Cash for Clunkers, which was for vehicles.

But before you spend a lot of money, how do you know if you really need a new appliance?

"All too often the consumer jumps to replacement, when they really should be thinking about repair," Consumer advocate Angie Hicks explained.

Hicks said it can be tough to know when your refrigerator, washer or dryer is on its last leg.

"The best rule of thumb on repairing or replacing is most appliances last from 10 to 15-20 years," she said. "If it's 7 or 8 years old, you're not in a place to replace, you're in the repair realm. If your appliance is having trouble and would cost half as much to repair than replace, then that's when you want to take advantage of replacing your appliance."

If it turns out you need a new one, remember whether you buy this weekend or during the state government's Cash for Appliances program next spring, you only can purchase select Energy Star rated items.

"Each state determines their own guidelines," Hicks said. "What's going to happen in North Carolina, they're getting 9 million of the 300 million from the federal government. The state will determine which appliances will apply for the program."

North Carolina's Cash for Appliances program begins April 2010.

For a list of eligible Energy Star rated appliances this weekend, Nov. 6-8, click here.

For more information on next year's Cash for Appliances program, click here.

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