“Necessity is the mother of invention”
Spring has sprung, and with it all of the outside projects that I have been pinning all winter. If you are like me you probably have a giant list of home and yard improvement projects that you want to do. My problem is that I get to the store and go into sticker shock when I realize how much it will cost. Instead of spending a ton of money on things I want to update I have found ways to do my projects so I can actually afford to do them.
At my local big box-store and I found an area where they sell the paint that was returned (if a man went to the store without his wife and ordered the wrong color). They sell this paint for 50 – 80% off, which means I can pick up gallons of paint for $5 or $6. I am limited to what they have on hand, but sometimes other people have taste similar to mine (aka, fabulous), so I check in often. I painted an entire wall in my bathroom with some light gray paint I found one day, all for $4.
A local lumber yard in my town casts off all of their warped, badly cracked or otherwise non sellable lumber in a large pile outside of their lumber yard. Anyone can stop by and pick up what they can use. While it’s mostly just small or cracked boards, they are great for my smaller projects. I try to have a project in mind and know what I am looking for before I stop by the pile. Otherwise I would have a huge pile of lumber in the backyard that I would “someday” use.
I don’t sign up for emails or newsletters, except for those from the local hardware company. They send out amazing coupons and have great seasonal clearances. Shopping in the off season saves me a ton of money on projects. I pick up birdseed and feeders in the spring and grass seed in the fall. That way I get them at less than half of the normal price.
I am currently building a raised bed out of scrap lumber and one store sells ripped bags of manure, top-soil and planting soil for a fraction of the price (they average $1 per bag for me). While not as neat and tidy as the unopened bags, I will put in some extra work and get a bit dirty to save money any day.
Between Craigslist and Facebook classifieds, I find a lot of materials that other people want to get rid of. I posted a couple truckloads of river rock that had been around my house. I made sure to mention that it was free and I would help load it. It was gone in two days. I always check for cheap or free before buying new materials.
Whoever lived in my house before I moved in had a love of flower beds. Since they were all bordered with lovely edging bricks, I moved all the bricks to make one large flower bed around the base of a tree in my yard. I used the leftover soil from the beds instead of store-bought and turned the flower beds along the house back into grass. Nothing was spent on the project but my own time (okay, I bought the flowers, but they were on clearance, I swear!).
I was frantic when my chickens outgrew the container they had grown up in, but I didn’t have time to build the coop I had planned. “Necessity is the mother of invention”, I had purchased an old dresser without drawers that I was going to make into a wardrobe for my daughters dress up clothes, instead it became a temporary coop. The chickens love their nice cool house and I love that I didn’t spend a dime on the whole project.
What sort of big projects are you working on? Do you use re-purposed or clearance materials, or prefer to buy new?