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Got any MONEY-SAVING Secret Sources?

A note from TOH Features Editor, Amy Hughes:

We are gearing up for our annual Secret Sources guide. Tell us where you go for lifesaving home improvement products and services. We are particularly interested in your money-saving sources.

For example, do you know any custom crafters who sell unclaimed goods at a discount? How about a kitchen showroom that sell floor models for cheap when they switch out their cabinetry and appliance displays? Any sources for good-quality factory seconds?

Reply here with YOUR tips, and you could be featured in a future issue of This Old House. Make sure your user profiles are updated with current email addresses so we can contact you if we feature your Secret Source.


Madame Editor
Re: Got any MONEY-SAVING Secret Sources?

To save money on building supplies, I go to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore near my house -- I can also donate materials there. You can find a list of ReStores nationwide here:http://www.habitat.org/env/restores.aspx (and no, I don't work for them :-) )

Re: Got any MONEY-SAVING Secret Sources?

I also go to my local Habitat ReStore to get materials. I have also registered with my local chapter of Freecycle (freecycle.org) and I check posts on craigslist to see if anyone has what I need for free before going to the hardware stores. You'd be amazed what you can get for free when someone else does a remodel (I've seen everything from closet doors to garage doors).

Re: Got any MONEY-SAVING Secret Sources?

I agree with everyone who likes Habitat's Re-Use stores. That would be the first stop.

I also like my local Craig's List for supplies and tools.

Here is one most people miss, the clearance area of any home improvement supply store! Ask someone where the "clearance section" is, then check it out. Sometimes the prices aren't special BUT, if you are interested in something, ask the manager is they can do better on the price. It might feel momentarily uncomfortable but, just try it once, what have you got to lose. I have purchased clearance items at Home Depot for 50% of the original price! The store manger now knows me and when she has "stuff" to "get rid of" she'll ask ME when I come in.

412 e. beaver c...
Re: Got any MONEY-SAVING Secret Sources?

I have found that Lowes is the best for supplies, and installation if needed. They are willing to discount damaged but usable supplies where their competion will not discount.

Re: Got any MONEY-SAVING Secret Sources?

If you are a serial rehabber, there is only one source in Va-Md for lots of good stuff at half retail price, i.e. building auctions. One is Peakauctions.com; they hold an auction about 3 or 4 times a year. The other is southernsalesservices.com, a big auction every month or so in Baltimore. Auctions are tricky; you can buy items you can not use, if you are not experienced. But the savings can be huge. Doors that sell for $2000 bought for $300-400. Flooring of best kind for $1-2 a ft., and on and on. But learning can be risky, so practice first, and go for the big items.

Re: Got any MONEY-SAVING Secret Sources?

I always go to Lowes because they discount damaged goods and are the cheapest for building supplies. Then I also go to the Habitat Re-Store...

Re: Got any MONEY-SAVING Secret Sources?

Job sites have produced new oak flooring that would have been burnt, wormy chestnut from old barns, hand cut rocks that were slated to be put in a landfill, and the price is the cost of hauling it away. Not a scavanger, a recycler. Not cheap, thrifty and appreciative of value.

Re: Got any MONEY-SAVING Secret Sources?

Don't be sold on contractors just because of their advertising. If you know somebody who knows somebody. If you work with somebody whose husband does work. If your husband's job site is having work done and there's networking there use it!! It's likely that contractor is just as knowledgeable and just as talented to fix up your old house as the big guy. And at a more affordable rate too.

Re: Got any MONEY-SAVING Secret Sources?

we have also used the habitat restore.Where we live in Ct.WE get a free local paper every week.They have a section where you can make requests for anything and it is usually a t a very low cost or free.Craigslist is another good source as is Freecycle.We also have an auction around here that is good for tools and lumber.Right now I am in the market for some dry wall.I also check the yard sale adds each week for those that list what they have.We also have some really good flea markets that are open year long.I live In the Green Vally area of Ct.It is mostly rural so there are not a lot of salvage or surplus stores.I have not had much luck at construction sites since there are so few.There are not a lot of new housing going up since the emphasis is on keeping this part of Ct.as rural and undeveloped as possible.

1876 Italianate
Re: Got any MONEY-SAVING Secret Sources?

I honestly find the best money savings by carefully shopping Ebay. Since I don't live in a big metro area my sources for old house renovation are very limited. I find that most sellers are truthful and offer a good price for things I can only see in a magazine. I've bought fretwork, hardware, plumbing supplies, lighting and an amazing number of period items I would never have access to any other way at a price I could afford.


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