Consider the Big Ones
Major appliances such as refrigerators, gas ranges and freezers generally need little in the way of maintenance and repairs. Another key point: They are often the most expensive to purchase in squeaky-clean, brand-new condition.
Those large appliances are the most costly, but they also have the longest lives. A full-size refrigerator can last around two decades with almost no maintenance. A stand-alone freezer has roughly the same life expectancy [source: Mr. Appliance].
Yet people regularly cut loose their big appliances, even if those products have years of life left. Perhaps they remodeled their kitchen and the old fridge looks horribly out of place. Or maybe an elderly gentleman with a bad back just can't stoop to use a side-loading washing machine anymore.
These cast-off products are in great working condition, and you can nab them for a fraction of the new purchase price. Even if your bargain buy conks out after just a few years of use, there's a very good chance you'll still have saved money in the long run.
A couple of exceptions might be built-in refrigerators and gas cooktops. Consumer Reports indicates that these particular products are often more trouble than they're worth, especially if they ever need any sort of repairs [source: Consumer Reports]. Similarly, if you're trying to decide between repairing a broken appliance or buying another one, the Consumer Reports advice is simple -- if the cost of the repair is more than half of the price of a new (or great, used) product, don't even consider the repair.