How to Save Money on DIY Supplies

A broken piggy bank with coins spilling out and a hammer next to it.

Purchasing supplies for a home improvement project can quickly cut into your savings, especially when you need a lot of materials. Fortunately, there are many ways you can save big on whatever you need. From using scraps to online shopping tips, here are a few ways you can keep your budget in check when tackling your next DIY project.

Price Check

It's always a good idea to do a price check online before you buy from a local store. You can often find better prices on large online retail stores, such as Amazon, which carry affordable supplies for DIY projects. You cannot always find a better deal online, but it's worth a look before purchasing local. Shipping costs should also be factored into the final price if you purchase online and it requires a little planning ahead if you want to get the supplies on time.

Shop With Coupons

A smart phone a coupon app.

Coupons are a great way to save big on DIY supplies. You can find coupons through apps, websites, or by subscribing to email lists from your favorite stores. Using coupons takes a little bit of forethought, especially if the coupons are related to specific items, but the savings can be significant. The holidays are a prime time to load up on coupons. Sometimes you are even allowed to re-use them!

Borrow or Rent Tools

If you only think you'll need to use a tool once, there is no need to purchase it. Instead, try and borrow or even rent the tool from a local supplier. For example, if you find yourself in need of a power tool for a specific project, it will be far less expensive to rent it than buying a new model outright. If you have a friend with a whole workshop of tools, see if they will let you borrow one for the weekend.

Buy in Bulk

A couple walking through a warehouse.

It’s usually better to buy in bulk because each item costs less as a larger unit than by itself. Buying in bulk takes a little planning, but it's the way to go if you are planning on doing a lot of DIY projects. That said, not everything needs to be purchased in bulk and you can end up spending a lot of money up front with this method. Exercising a little caution goes a long way, so make sure you can really use a supply before buying it in large quantities.

Shop Online for Free Items

There are plenty of great websites for purchasing DIY supplies including Amazon, eBay, Craigslist and Freecycle. Amazon and eBay carry all kinds of supplies, from nuts and bolts to leather and even wood, while you can find some of the best bargains on sites like Craigslist and Freecycle. There is even a “Free” section on Craigslist where contractors will unload their unwanted scraps. You can even find used tools online, though you should never buy something used unless it's certified, or you can inspect it in person to make sure it works.

Save or Use Scraps

A sign that says "free scrap" next to a pile of wood in front of a house.

Avoid throwing away scrap materials when you're finished with a project. You never know when you might need some extra materials for a new project. Scraps are also great for testing and can help prevent you from ruining new materials. If you do not have a lot of scraps or are just starting out as a DIYer, you can find a lot of free scraps online or at local shops. Industrial shops tend to throw away excess materials and will gladly give them to you for free or at a reduced cost.

Negotiate Prices

There are certain DIY supplies that you can negotiate on price. Some basic supplies can be bought at much cheaper prices, either online or at local stores, such as rope, sand paper, and safety gear. These types of supplies are often single-use and are not worth a large price tag. That said, some supplies are not worth negotiating the price, especially when you need a tool or material that will hold up over time.