showroom at Second Chances Inc.
Photo: Courtesy of Second Chance Inc.
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20. Buy Building Supplies at Auction

Brian Peppel, a homeowner in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, attends one building-supply auction each month in nearby Lancaster County. His recent finds include two pallets of concrete block for $10 and a solid-wood prehung exterior door for $65. "Their inventory is everything under the sun, a lot of scratch-and-dent, misordered custom items, or new overstock supplies," reports Peppel. He once watched the auctioneer's gavel fall on a large, custom-made triangular window with an original retail value that he pegs at several thousand dollars. The winning bid? $1.

Cost of solid-cherry wall cabinet at a home center: $300

Cost at building-supply auction: $10

SAVED: $290
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