woman standing with plate of cookies
Photo: Jeremy Samuelson/Getty Images
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Negotiate for Leftovers

If a homeowner nearby is having work done, ask if she'd sell you any extra materials at a discount when the job is done. This could save her the hassle of making returns or paying someone to dispose of the excess. For small jobs, like retiling a kitchen backsplash, that last box of white subways is likely all you need to spruce up your space. Depending on the contract for the job, it may be the pro, not the homeowner, who owns the materials. In this case, first ask the homeowner if it's okay to engage with her contractor so as not to be an interloper. Once you get the green light, start baking cookies. "If it's up to me, I might even give materials for free," says Siegrist. "Later on it could come back as a benefit, since they may call me for their next remodel project."
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