Find Bargain Building Materials for Your Project

Everybody likes a Bargain and in the tough economic times we're going through now, it's more important than ever to save a dollar wherever you can. Finding a Bargain on Building Materials isn't hard if you know where to look. I'd like to share some of the sources and methods I've used as a contractor and homeowner to find great deals on lumber, plumbing and light fixtures, flooring, and much more. Of course you won't have access to the same variety or selection that you would if price were no object, but, as we know, price often is an object. Some of the sources I've used may give you different ideas on places to look in your area. The key is to open your mind to the possibilities and develop a sixth senseabout finding a Bargain.

The Internet
The web has truly changed the way we do business. Increasingly, when looking for products or services, people turn to the internet instead of traditional sources like the phone book and the newspaper. While it may not have crossed your mind to look for Building Materials online, there are lots of deals to be had, especially if your willing to spend the time and really do some digging. The most obvious places to start would be Amazon and Ebay. I have bought many products for my personal home, as well as jobs, from both sites and have generally saved money. But you may have to do a little browsing to get to the real deals. You can find new or used merchandise on either. If you decide to buy used products, just make sure to look at all of the information as well as the return policy. When you're shopping on either of these power houses, you really don't have to worry too much about getting scammed. Both sites have good policies in place to protect the customers. Another online source, that has really become popular in recent years, is Craigslist. If you're not familiar, Craigslist is basically online classified adds. It is completely free for buyers and sellers and you can find pretty much everything. Most major cities now have their own page and it is a great place to find a bargain. A few years ago I was remodeling my own kitchen and I found a glass cook top that retailed for over $500 for only $85. Most of the stuff you find here will be used, though there are businesses selling new merchandise as well. One of the big benefits of Craigslist is, since it is local, you can go pick up your purchases and avoid shipping charges. There are many more online sources such as efaucets, the light, and The thing you have to be careful about online is over paying. While the are a lot of great deals, some thing are priced too high. The number one thing you must do is read and understand the shipping price. Don't purchase anything without getting the shipping price in writing. A lot of online retailers will price an item extremely low and then put a ridiculous shipping price on it to make up their profit. As is always the case, do your homework and educate yourself about what you're buying and you should be fine.

Classified Adds
This is the old stand-by. For years classified adds have been the place most people looked to when they had something to buy or sell. Though the internet has made a major dent in that market, there are still great deals to be had in the classified adds. Major newspapers are the most common source and I have found deals there, but, what I prefer are small local publications. In Houston we have a classifieds paper called"The Green Sheet". I think it may also be published in other areas, but I'm not sure of their coverage. In many rural areas there are papers like "The Thrifty Nickel". The reason I choose these smaller papers is; the price to run an add is much less than in a large paper. When you advertise to sell an item, you have to factor the cost of the advertising into your price. The added cost makes it more difficult to find a true Bargain. The one thing you have to remember is, when you buy this way, there is almost never any sort of warranty. Once you buy it, it's yours. So, make sure you look it over good. The classifieds are also a good source for, clearance, overstock, and discontinued materials, especially things like tile and flooring.

Scratch & Dent and Floor Models
If you want to save some money, but still want new products, scratch and dent items or floor models is the way to go. For anyone not familiar with those terms, scratch and dent refers to items that may have been slightly damaged during shipping or while in storage. Floor models, also known as display, are the merchandise that is out on the showroom floor. These are all new items, but may have slight damage or may not be in the original packaging. Scratch and dent and floor model merchandise almost always carries the same manufacturers warranty as brand new, but make sure you ask and get it in writing. Another type that fits in with this category is returned items. Scratch and dent is just what it sounds like, but the condition of the items can varygreatly. The most common type of scratch and dent items are probably appliances. This can really work to your advantage because with most appliances, at least 2 or 3 sides don't show once it is installed. I bought a built-in double oven for our kitchen at Sears. It did have some very small dents on one side, but because it is built-in, only the front shows. This oven sold retail for $ 2200, but we paid $ 1200. Display items will often be marked down when the stores are getting ready to bring in newer models or change up the display. They have served their purpose and the store just needs them out of the way. Many times customers will buy items and return them for a variety of reasons. Maybe they weren't satisfied or they just changed their mind. Some people (my wife) almost seem to have a sickness about returning things. Whether it's buyers remorse or second guessing, I don't know. The point is these items, most of the time, have been opened and may not have the original packing. The merchants usually have to take them back. With all of these items, the stores are forced to mark down the price because, even if the damage is minimal, or there is none, no one is going to pay full price when they can just buy a new one. Somemerchants will offer only a very small discount. Make sure you know what the real price for a new one is and try to bargain with them. A lot of times they need to move the items to make room for new products and will take whatever they can get. Always ask, all they can do is say no. In addition to appliances, you can also find these types of deals on doors, windows, plumbing and light fixtures, and many other items.If you know you're going to be starting a project, start looking for this stuff several months ahead and be ready when a deal comes along.

Garage Sales
Obviously, in this area, you're going to have a much more limitedselection and 99% of what you find is used (some of it, very used). But, if you've got the time to look, you will find occasional deals. Many times, when people make repairs or improvements, they just need to get rid of the old stuff. Most of the time, it will be junk, but occasionally, people will make changes just out of personal preference and what they're replacing is in good working order. This method of shopping is much more time consuming. But, if you find something you want, you may be able to pick it up for next to nothing.

As you can see, the Bargain possibilities are endless. It make take some time and work on your part, but the money you save will be well worth it. Just remember, research the materials that you need and you'll be prepared to act quickly when a Bargain presents itself. 

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