If you’re one of the millions of Americans coping with the aftereffects of Superstorm Sandy, I want to tell you about savings on cars and appliances that could be especially helpful to you. I'll also explain how anyone can earn cash back when shopping for holiday gifts online.
Car Deals for Victims of Superstorm Sandy
Drivers in Sandy's path may find they now need a new vehicle. That's because a car that’s even partly submerged in saltwater is often damaged beyond repair. Fortunately, auto manufacturers are stepping up, offering savings on new purchases as well as payment extensions on vehicles already owned by the storm's victims.
GM owners in FEMA-identified counties can receive $500 discounts on any 2012 and 2013 model purchased or leased through the end of the year.
The Ford $500 Disaster Relief Bonus Cash program is open to residents of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast who can prove Sandy damaged their cars. The bonus applies to buyers of a new 2012 or 2013 Ford or Lincoln, other than the Mustang Shelby GT/GT500, Mustang Boss, Focus Electric, Edge SE AWD, F-150 SVT Raptor and Taurus SE. Ford Credit’s Disaster Relief Program will let some Sandy sufferers delay one or two monthly payments on existing loans or leases.
Nissan is selling all new Nissan and Infiniti vehicles (except the Nissan GTR and Nissan Versa Sedan S Trim) for $750 to $1,500 “under invoice” to buyers whose cars sustained damage in federally designated disaster areas.
Toyota is also offering deferred payments for customers sidetracked by Sandy.
Get Up to $300 Back for Recycling an Appliance
Many storm-battered homeowners will need new appliances, too. But even if you live nowhere near the damaged area, you may be in the market for a new water heater, furnace, refrigerator, washer or dryer. More than a dozen states are dangling rebates — as high as $300 — for buying energy-efficient appliances and recycling old models. Typically, you get them through your local energy company.
Unless noted otherwise, all the incentives below expire Dec. 31. To qualify, most programs require that the appliance you’re junking is in working order and that you’re a customer of the participating power authority. For more information about local offers for recycling an appliance or buying a new one, visit the U.S. government’s Energy Star website.
Arizona: Through April 30, 2013, Salt River Project, which provides water and electricity to central Arizona, is offering $50 for Phoenix-area residents who recycle refrigerators through its Appliance Recycling Program.
California: PGE, in the San Francisco area, has rebates and recycling incentives. You may qualify to receive rebates of $50 for a new washer or dryer, $75 for a refrigerator and up to $300 for a gas furnace. PGE is also giving customers $35 back for recycling refrigerators or freezers and $25 for recycling room air conditioners.
Colorado: Xcel Energy sends customers a $50 "thank you" check once they recycle an old refrigerator through its recycling program.
Maryland: Potomac Energy offers $50 for recycling refrigerators and $25 for recycling room air conditioners.
Massachusetts: MassSave, a program sponsored by a handful of gas and electric utility providers, will give you $50 for recycling your second refrigerator.
Michigan: Detroit Energy will pay you $40 to recycle your refrigerator.
Minnesota: Not only does energy provider Xcel send a $35 rebate check when you recycle an old refrigerator, but it also throws in two free compact fluorescent light bulbs.
New Mexico: Xcel Energy offers $100 for customers who recycle refrigerators.
New York: The Long Island Power Authority will give you a $100 rebate when you purchase a new refrigerator and an additional $50 for recycling your old one.
Ohio: Efficiency Smart, a network of public power providers in 49 communities including Cleveland and Columbus, is offering two types of rebates. In addition to money back on new refrigerators, washers, ceiling fans and heat pumps (up to $250 for those), you can get $50 for recycling a refrigerator or freezer. Customers have until Dec. 31, 2013, to buy a new appliance and Jan. 7, 2014, to file for a rebate.
Texas: CPS Energy South Texas has the following incentives for refrigerators: $35 back on a new energy-efficient model and $65 back for recycling your old fridge.
Washington State: Through Dec. 15, qualifying Puget Sound Energy customers can get $300 back when they buy certain Electrolux or Frigidaire washers and dryers. The utility company will also give you a $25 prepaid VISA gift card for recycling a refrigerator (up to three cards per household).
Shop Early, Save Big
If you plan to start getting a jump on buying holiday gifts online, I’d recommend first visiting Ebates.com. I begin all of my online shopping at this shopping portal, which links to popular online shopping and travel sites, from Amazon.com to Virgin Atlantic, and gives you cash back on purchases made on site. You’ll need a PayPal account — any money you get back will be deposited quarterly. (In the past year, I've earned back $133.02 from buying wedding presents, my new iPhone and booking a hotel room.)
Ebates has a "Holiday Deals" page featuring money-savings coupons as well as cash-back deals. Rebate examples: Body Shop will give you $10 off any order, plus 10 percent of your purchase price back. Bloomingdale's is offering 20 percent off and 6 percent cash back.
Coupons, rebates and participating online stores change weekly during the holiday season. So keep checking.