Buying a riding lawn mower is a major investment for any homeowner. You want to get the most value for your money by purchasing at the optimal time. This guide will provide tips on finding the best deals on quality riding mowers under $500.
When Do Riding Mower Prices Drop?
The best time to buy a bargain riding lawn mower is typically in the late summer and fall after peak mowing season ends. Prices are highest in spring when demand spikes. As the mowing season winds down, retailers offer discounts to clear out inventory.
September and October are prime months to find deals. Prices bottom out in November for end-of-season sales. Shop late in the month for the steepest discounts up to 30-50% off.
Consider a Used Riding Mower
If buying new is beyond your budget, consider a quality used riding mower. You can often find lightly used 3-5 year old mowers in good condition for under $500. Check sale listings and classifieds or visit used equipment dealers.
Inspect the mower closely before purchasing. Test all functions and watch for leaks, damage and excessive wear. Review maintenance records if possible. Consider hiring a mechanic to inspect it. Purchasing used still carries some risk, so weigh the cost savings versus potential repair costs down the road.
Wait for Holiday Sales
Retailers often discount riding mowers around major holidays like Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day and Black Friday. While you’ll find the widest selection of models in spring and summer, shopping these sales can net big savings on off-season models.
Sign up for retailer Email lists to get notifications of mower sales. Check newspaper ads and be ready to act quickly once a holiday sale is announced to get the best pick of discounted mowers.
Take Advantage of Price Matching
If you find a great discount early in the season, ask the retailer to price match that deal later. Many stores will match a competitor’s lower advertised price within a certain time period, usually 30-90 days.
Get the details of their policy. Keep your receipt and documentation of the other retailer’s lower price handy. Politely ask the store to honor their price match when the time comes to get a refund on the difference.
Consider a Warehouse Store Purchase
Warehouse stores like Costco, Sam’s Club and BJ’s often negotiate special bulk pricing with manufacturers. This can translate into significant savings on large equipment like riding mowers, even early in the season.
The catch is you may have a narrower selection of models versus a specialty retailer. Check if they offer an extended return policy in case you change your mind or find issues after using it at home.
Look for Special Financing Offers
Some retailers will offer special financing promotions on riding mowers, especially right before peak season. This includes no interest if paid in full promos and discounted interest rates.
Just be sure to understand the terms and pay off the balance in full before the no interest period ends. Otherwise, retroactive interest is usually charged from the date of purchase.
Gather Coupons and Rebates
Don’t overlook coupons and rebates when shopping for a mower. Check retailer websites, newspaper inserts, mailers and your email inbox. Sign up for mobile apps to get coupon offers sent right to your phone.
Some mower brands offer rebates directly on their websites or through third party rebate services. The reimbursement can take 6-8 weeks but is worth the effort to save more money.
Negotiate With Dealers
Don’t be afraid to negotiate, especially with local dealers and used equipment sellers. Many are willing to bargain, especially outside peak season. Have a target price in mind and make a reasonable counter offer below their asking price.
Offering to pay in cash upfront can motivate a seller to accept a lower price. Be polite but firm and willing to walk away if your offer is rejected.
Buy at End of Model Year
Late in the season, retailers will be clearing out old inventory to make room for next year’s models. This is the perfect time to score a discount on the current model year. New models often have only minor changes, so you still get a quality mower at a steep discount.
Ask the sales staff which mowers are being discontinued. Compare specs on old and new models to make sure you aren’t losing out on any important features before purchasing an outgoing model year.
Consider a Small Riding Mower
If you only need to mow 1-2 acres, a more compact riding mower can save you money while still getting the job done efficiently. They cost less than full-sized models with wide decks. A 30-42 inch cutting width is ideal for small to mid-sized lawns.
Brands like Troy-Bilt, Husqvarna and Cub Cadet make quality small riding mowers under $500. Just ensure it can handle your terrain and has the mowing width you need.
Get the Lawn Mower You Need
While timing your purchase right can save money, ultimately you want a riding mower well-suited for your lawn. Don’t sacrifice key features or capacity just to save a few bucks. Get a mower with the right motor power, transmission, deck size and comfort features to efficiently mow your property for years to come.
Prioritize quality from a leading brand like John Deere, Craftsman, Ariens or Toro. Read riding mower reviews and take models for a test drive. Investing in the right mower, even at full price, can save you money in the long run versus buying a flimsy bargain mower that requires constant repairs and replacements.
Know When to Take the Plunge
For the best value, timing is important when buying a riding mower. But if your old mower dies right before peak mowing season, you may need to pay full price for a replacement. Review financing options to spread out payments if needed.
While not ideal, paying more for convenience and necessity can be worth it to keep your lawn maintained. Just take care of your new mower so it lasts, and time your next purchase strategically when your machine is due for retirement.
Buying a Riding Mower on a Budget
Finding a quality riding lawn mower for under $500 takes some work but is possible if you shop at the right time. With so many options, features and prices, it pays to enter the process informed. Heed this advice to discover the best time and ways to buy a riding mower and save money without sacrificing performance and durability. Consult our guide on choosing the best Lawn Mowers Under $500 to identify the ideal model before you start shopping around for sale prices.