the DIY guide to home improvement store hacks: ways to save money on upgrades, crafts, and more!

Home Depot used to be the bane of my preteen existence. Going to the obnoxious orange store with my dad on the weekend usually meant being dragged around every aisle while being promised a hotdog and tiny bag of Lay's afterwards.

I seldom got the snack, but I did (somehow) develop a deep adoration for the ever-present sawdust and concrete floors of that place. Now, at 24, I don't mind frequent trips to home improvement stores and hey, neither should you! So I put together a small list of ways I pinch pennies at these money-sucking black holes. Good luck 😉

  • Repainting something? Not set on a specific color? Check out the "oops" paint! This paint is usually a gold mine of forgotten colors. When someone asks for a specific blend and the swatch on the lid isn't up to snuff, off to the "oops" pile it goes-- with a deep discount. I've gotten many gallon cans for under $5. 

    • Protip: Snatch up the neutrals for great craft paint! I recently used a sample sized "oops" can to paint a wooden sign. Multipurpose, ooh yeah.

  • Two words: Lumber. Clearance. Usually there's a cart in the lumber section with wood bearing the "dark mark" (aka, usually purple spray painted slashes). The wood in the specified area might be a little warped or not the prettiest, but that's where imagination comes in! Look for pieces with just enough damage to make your project unique, but not harder to fix than actually buying a full-price piece of wood. 

    • Protip: If you have a specific project in mind or a smaller car, let the professionals cut it. Home Depot and Lowes both offer free cuts on wood (within reason) if you ask nicely.

  • DIY-- Do it yourself! It's probably more expensive to hire a professional, and obviously use your own discretion for this tip (my personal rule is no messing with electricity or water), but sometimes doing things yourself can be sort of...liberating? It's nice to step back at the end and say "I did that!" 

    • Protip: if you're stuck on a project, head to YouTube. There are plenty of resources on the web, but YouTube's easy access and plethora of sources make it one of the most valuable out there.

  • Clearance endcaps are your friend. Just like any other store, Lowes and Home Depot have areas in their stores where they pile up the clearance items. Can't find them? Don't be afraid to ask. Many have more than one area, and are stocked full of discounted items you didn't know you needed.

  • I hope that these tips help you better navigate the industrial wonderland that is the home improvement store of your choice. Once you start using these hacks, you'll never think of that concrete floor home-away-from-home quite the same again!


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