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6 Essential Appliances You Need When You Move Out

By George Hadgelias

Moving out of home for the first time? Cue the excitement, adventure, plans for your first dinner party and the quick realisation that there’s a lot on your shopping list.

Whether you’re moving into your first rental or you’ve managed to take the first step on the property market by buying your first home – a new home requires a bunch of different goods to feel fully decked out, but some of the most crucial are appliances.

Some items will ensure your comfort in a home – like a heater or air-conditioner – but can wait until you’ve saved up for them. While others are tough to go without – like a fridge.

Some appliances, while they’ll cost money to buy upfront, will actually save you down the track – either in money and/or time. We’re looking at you, microwave and slowcooker.

To help you figure out what you do and maybe don’t need, here’s our guide to the essential appliances to buy when you move out.

6 Essential appliances

In our opinion, these are the absolute non-negotiables. While you may be fine not having them for a short time, you’re likely to soon realise just how much you need them.

1. Fridge

Of all the essential appliances out there, a fridge is number one. Without it, you won’t be able to store perishable items like milk, cheese and meat, plus the included freezer allows you to stow away leftovers and bulk meals.

Look for one that’s the right size for your needs. If you have housemates, for example, you’ll all need adequate space to store your food, but if you’re living solo, you could buy a smaller unit.

Also consider the energy efficiency rating (which could help you save money on bills) and the freezer’s frost-free function.

Average cost

An average-sized fridge with a 400L capacity is usually $1,000 or less.

2. Kettle

Sure, you could boil water on the stove, but who’s got time for that? An electric kettle allows you to boil water in mere minutes, which is ideal if you need to cook a quick pasta or vegetables, or make tea or coffee before work.

Kettles come with all kinds of nifty features including temperature control, but you don’t need to get fancy if you’re on a tight budget. That being said, you could go for a higher wattage kettle that boils water quicker if you’re tight on time in the mornings.

Average cost

Kettles can vary wildly in price, but low-cost department stores sell them for less than 10 bucks.

3. Vacuum cleaner

When it comes to cleaning, a vacuum is a non-negotiable – especially if you have carpet.

There are many different types of vacuum cleaners to choose from, ranging from traditional barrel models to high-end stick versions.

They all fit within different budgets, too. The main thing to go for is a vacuum designed for your flooring type and, if it’s cordless, a model that has the battery power to clean your whole home in one go.

Average cost

An entry-level vacuum is normally around $200, although you can find super affordable models for $50.

4. Washing machine

If you’re in an apartment, you may be fortunate enough to have a communal washing area. In this case, you can get away without having a washing machine.

If you don’t, or if you’re in a freestanding home, save yourself the hassle of lugging your washing to the laundromat and buy a washing machine of your own.

To save on electricity and water costs, consider a model that has a high energy and water efficiency rating.

Average cost

Whether you opt for a top loader or front loader, a basic model usually starts at around $400.

5. Iron or hand steamer

OK, you don’t exactly need an iron to survive, but it does ensure you look presentable if you’ve got an important event like a job interview. Alternatively, you can buy a hand steamer which also does a good job at removing the wrinkles from your clothes.

You can often find very cheap irons and hand steamers, but try to get one from a reputable brand – this’ll ensure your clothes don’t get damaged in the process.

Average cost

Irons are one of the more inexpensive essential appliances, with prices starting from less than $10. The average cost is around $30-40.

6. Toaster

Toasters are great for a quick breakfast: you can put together something on toast in a matter of minutes. You can also use a toaster for bagels, English muffins, waffles and other bready goods, and you can often find one for less than $30.

If you can live without a toaster, though, know that you can also toast bread under the grill in your oven.

Average cost

Toasters don’t cost a whole lot, but for a model from a decent brand, expect to pay just under $100.

6 Semi-essential appliances

You might consider the below appliances to be must-haves, but we reckon you could live quite comfortably without them.

1. Microwave

If you’re a fan of bulk cooking or frozen meals, you’ll need a microwave to reheat or defrost your food. You can also use a microwave to cook some meals if your new home doesn’t come with an oven.

Many multifunctional microwaves have handy functions that allow you to defrost, bake, steam and grill. While these models can be a little pricer, they’re great if you want an all-in-one bench-top appliance.

Average cost

A microwave may set you back around $160-200, but you can often find one for less than $100.

2. TV

A TV is great and all, although these days – thanks to the introduction of streaming services – you can just as easily watch things on your laptop or tablet. You can also get your daily news from the many news services online.

If you absolutely can’t live without a separate television, you can find pretty good bargains both new and second-hand.

Average cost

There’s really no limit to how much you can spend on a TV. But for a 32-inch screen, expect to shell out around $300.

3. Dryer

Your home might come with a clothesline, in which case a dryer may not be necessary. You may also have outdoor space like a balcony where you can set up a drying rack.

In saying that, a dryer is really handy. It dries clothes (obviously) in a relatively short space of time and doesn’t require you to spend ages hanging everything out – both big advantages if you’re time-poor.

You may be able to rent one if you don’t want to fork out for a dryer upfront.

Average cost

For a traditional entry-level dryer, prices can range from $350-600.

4. Slow cooker/rice cooker

Slow cookers and rice cookers aren’t at all necessary, but they do simplify food prep. The former allows you to set and forget your slow-cooked meals, while the latter makes cooking rice a breeze (and helps you avoid mushy or burned rice).

They’re both very useful if you want to batch cook or prepare meals before you leave the house, saving you time when you get home from work – as well as money when you don’t have to buy lunches for work as often.

There are many on the market now that cater to all budgets, so you should be able to find one to suit.

Average cost

Slow cookers range from $50-350, but you can pick up a bargain at low-cost department stores for less than 30 bucks. Rice cookers are cheaper and shouldn’t cost more than $100.

5. Blender

A blender is a fantastic multipurpose tool: you can use it to make smoothies, soups, purees, sauces, dressings, dips and more.

But if you’re not much of a home cook, or none of these dishes are in your repertoire, you can likely do without one.

Reckon a blender might come in handy? There are lots of options on the market, including those with a food processor attachment – another excellent appliance that can do a multitude of things.

Average cost

A standalone blender tends to start from around $50, but for a dual food processor and blender unit, the price will obviously be more – expect to pay at least $100.

6. Portable heating and/or cooling unit

Your home might already come with heating and cooling, but if not, a portable version can make summers and winters a lot more bearable.

Portable heaters and coolers are great because you can take them from room to room as needed.

Portable heating options include fan heaters, column heaters and radiant heaters, while for cooling you can buy a fan (often very cheaply) or portable air-conditioner.

Average cost

You can pick up a portable heater for as little as $20, but the average cost is between $50-100. Fans are very cheap, with many as low as $15-20.

Portable air-conditioners cost considerably more – entry-level units start at around $250.

How to save money on essential appliances

There’s no need to break the bank when you’re buying essential (or semi-essential) appliances. Here are our tips for saving a few dollars:

Do your research

Looking online at various retailers and comparing prices will help you find the best deal.

When calculating the price of something, consider extra costs like delivery and power consumption – because everything adds up.

Know that cheaper isn’t necessarily better

The up-front price of a cheap appliance might be lower, but in the long run it could end up costing more.

It may be more expensive to run, or it could break down in a short amount of time, meaning it needs to be quickly replaced.

If you plan to keep your appliances for a while, and your budget allows, consider going for higher-quality goods and trusted brands with longer warranties.

Buy items second-hand

Used appliances are often way cheaper than new ones, and sometimes you’ll get lucky and find something that’s barely (or never) been used.

Searching online marketplaces can be a great place to start but be wary of offers that sound too good to be true – they often are.

Consider renting appliances

Only living out of home for a short time? Just need some appliances to tide you over until you buy some more permanent ones?

Renting or hiring appliances can be a good option as it may save you money on purchasing everything up-front but be sure to read the terms and conditions carefully to make sure you wont pay extra if you need to exit the agreement early.

Go for package deals

Package deals on appliances tend to be cheaper than individual items. For example, laundry packages often include a washer and dryer for a discount.

Ask for a discount

You might be able to negotiate a discount or free delivery, especially at certain times of the year.

Also ask the storeperson about floor stock or models with minimal damage – sometimes these are offered at a reduced price.

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