How I Find Free, Inexpensive, And Cheap Tools
Tools for DIY projects can get expensive. Over the years, I’ve managed to accumulate a pretty decent set of hand tools and power tools – most at discount prices, and some for free. Here’s how –
I shop the discounted / returned items section at “big box” stores. I purchased a gasoline-powered pressure washer for 50% off retail a few years ago. The original buyer couldn’t figure out how to connect the soap dispensing feature – so they returned it to the store. I bought it, fixed the soap dispenser, and it still works great!
I shop at pawn shops. We have several pawn shops in our area – and most have a big bin, loaded with very inexpensive hand tools, drill bits, etc.
I shop yard sales / garage sales / flea markets. These are great for finding power tools – often rarely used. A few years ago, I purchased a brand new, in the box, drill and driver, for five bucks. As with any item I buy post-retail, I check for recalls and defects.
I shop the Amazon Tools section. Last year, I found a great deal on a set of router bits. Since I only use my router a few times a year, I wasn’t looking to spend a lot of money on expensive bits. Using Amazon, I found an entire set of inexpensive bits – and they work fine for what I need.
I shop eBay. I just checked, and I’ve been using eBay since 1999! Wow. I love eBay for hard-to-find parts and tools. A few months ago, I purchased a set of small screwdrivers, used for repairing electronics. (I have never had much success with Craig’s List. I think it might be because we live several miles from the nearest city on the list. If I lived in a bigger city, this might be a resource I used more often.)
I shop our local hardware stores and farm centers. These are great places for things like nuts, bolts, and fasteners. This past summer – I checked online and with five different major retailers, before finding a part for my lawn mower – at the local hardware store, 5 miles from my house!
I borrow from friends and family. Once in a while, I’ll need a use-it-once, never-need-it-again tool – and I’ll ask friends and family. For instance: I needed to jack-up our kids’ playhouse, but I didn’t have a set of bottle jacks. Rather than go buy a set, use them once, and then have them sit in storage – I asked my Dad. He had some, I borrowed them for a couple of days, and returned them. When I borrow tools, I’m extra-careful with them – and I’m always ready to pay for a replacement, should I break them.
I let folks know that I’m into DIY projects. On a couple of occasions, folks who know that I like to build stuff have just given me their old / unused / unwanted tools. I have a ladder, a chop saw, and a belt sander – and all were gifts from folks who know that I’ll use the tools.
I check the for-sale section at the scrap yard. One of our local scrap yards has a for-sale section, where they sell items that were “scrapped”, but are still in good condition. Last week, I purchased two big spotlights for three bucks. I used them to illuminate our back yard during a party – and there great for lighting a work area.
I shop the aisles at the “big box” store – and look for close-outs. Each year or so, manufacturers refresh their product lines. This is a great time to snag usually-expensive items for less. Last year, I purchased a table saw for 50% off, just because the manufacturer was ready to clear shelf space for a new model.
Over the past few years, I’ve managed to acquire a decent amount of tools. I’m still looking for a drill press – and I’d love a biscuit joiner – but I’m pretty happy with what I have. If you have an idea for saving money on tools and DIY projects – leave a comment in the section below – or connect with me via twitter.com/NCN. Have a blessed week!