Our obsession with home renovation makes it easy to appreciate everything Home Depot has to offer the weekend DIYer. It’s also just as easy to spend the equivalent of your monthly mortgage payment on just a few products. To an unprepared shopper, the big orange sign can feel like an outright, ominous warning to steer clear of their foreboding concrete aisles.
No one ever said home improvement products were cheap. However, there are a few ways to save money during your next outing — if you know where to look. Before embarking on your next project, consider these 16 secrets to saving money at Home Depot.
1. It’s the best place to get a moving truck
Long gone are the days where people receive a “mover’s coupon” in the mail from Home Depot. Still, the retailer is a valuable resource when it comes to securing a moving truck reservation. They’ve partnered with Penske Truck Rental to offer up to a 10% discount if you reserve online. Add another 10% if you’re an AAA member, military personnel, or college student. Unlimited one-way miles mean you’ll likely acquire a better deal here than with U-Haul.
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2. Don’t shop without knowing the Special Buy of the Day
It’d be unwise to trek to Home Depot before taking a quick glance at its website. The store lists certain items at a serious discount every day for 24 hours only via the Special Buy of the Day program. There’s also a Savings Center section of the website where consumers can snag decent deals and discounts on common items. Lastly, head to the Overstock section to save on — you guessed it — overstocked items before heading into the store.
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3. Summer months are the best time to shop for paint
Another must-know secret about shopping at Home Depot is that there are good and bad times to buy paint. If painting is on your to-do list, wait until Memorial Day, Fourth of July, or Labor Day weekend to stock up. Holiday weekend sales are about the only time paint goes on sale and thrifty shoppers can usually obtain savings of $5 to $25 each during these days.
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4. There’s a hidden department dedicated to “oops” paint
Home Depot has an entire section dedicated to paints that either weren’t mixed properly, mistinted by the mixing machine, or simply dented on the outside. Here, you can find highly discounted paints — especially if you’re not picky on color. Wise Bread notes this hidden department section often sells one-gallon Behr paints for as little as $5 to $8.
But shoppers in this Reddit thread caution that not all colors in the oops section will be the pretty shades of blue everyone wants in their bathroom. Make sure you take a good look at the paint inside the can to make sure it’s something you really want before taking it home.
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5. They understand if you can’t keep plants alive
Not blessed with the green thumb? No problem. Live trees, house plants, and shrubs are expensive, but if your plant dies four months down the road, Home Depot will allow you to dig it up and return it. Their one-year flower guarantee means you can get your money back without ever having to confess your perennial mistakes. Just make sure to show them the original receipt as proof of purchase.
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6. The manufacturer warranty for tools is worth having
Experienced handyman or not, your power tools are likely to need repairs in the future. If your tools are still covered under the manufacturer’s warranty, Home Depot’s technicians will verify the warranty, repair the item, and file a claim — for free.
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7. If you ask, you may be able to score a $50 discount
Strike up a conversation with the cashiers. Unlike other stores such as Walmart and Target, Home Depot employees have the power to give up to $50 off an item without supervisor permission. Of course, you must have a good reason for the discount to begin with, but for large purchases such as washing machines or patio furniture, this negotiating power can save you a nice chunk of cash.
Next: But there’s more!
8. Talking to a manager could get you an even better deal
A former Home Depot employee broke down just how much power store employees have when it comes to saving a sale. In an interview with The Consumerist, he notes that every Home Depot department head or supervisor has the ability to discount up to $100 without calling an assistant manager. The assistant managers can take up to $500 off without approval and store managers can discount up to $1,000.
Now, we don’t suggest you abuse these savings hacks on bargains without merit, but know that Home Depot employees are instructed to do what they can to keep you from going to a competitor’s store.
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9. Don’t plan to renovate kitchens and bathrooms in the summer
A little bit of strategy is all it takes to score significant savings on your next kitchen and bath remodel. Home Depot’s Kitchen and Bath event usually runs from mid-January to mid-March, meaning you could see up to 40% off relevant products. The same can’t be said for the spring and summer months, where you’ll probably spend more than you planned on items you need to revamp these spaces.
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10. Go shopping with a teacher
Teachers and other tax-exempt shoppers don’t have to pay sales tax on items being used for educational purposes. Depending on how much is in your cart, that can be a heck of a discount! Just secure a tax exempt ID online, then present it at the register during each trip for additional savings.
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11. Yellow tags are the best tags
Saving money at Home Depot becomes a lot easier once you understand their price code. First, you’ll want to pounce on anything with a yellow price tag, as those products are on clearance.
Second, pay attention to the items that end in .03 and .06. These items are at their lowest markdown, meaning you’ll score the best deals. Rather Be Shopping says that pricing ending in .06 mean the item will be marked down with in the next six weeks. Items ending in .03 are at its lowest and final price and will be removed from the shelves shortly.
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12. Cheaper, recycled wood is found toward the back
Thanks to Chip and Joanna Gaines, old, rustic looking wood is a go-to home décor style we all want. But unfortunately, lumber isn’t usually one of the cheaper materials for sale in stores. The very back of Home Depot’s lumber section houses stacks of recycled lumber and scrap wood that can be purchased for a fraction of the cost. Just look for the pieces marked with purple coloring and get cutting.
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13. Ask to take the floor model for a larger discount
Furniture stores are often more than willing to let their display floor furniture go at a deep discount. The same can be said for Home Depot floor models, as well. August is a great time to hunt for bargain deals on patio furniture displays, grills, and other lawn equipment.
“For the most leverage, ask in August when the major selling season has ended and everything is already discounted,” the Krazy Coupon Lady says, “They’re more likely to give you an additional discount if the item is a little worn or damaged.”
It is also worth trying your luck on smaller purchases on display in the aisles such as lamps, fans, and vacuums.
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14. Home Depot price matches most other big chains
Keep an eye out for identical items at competing retailers next time you’re preparing for a home renovation. Home Depot has one of the best price matching policies out there according to Nerd Wallet. If you find a better deal elsewhere, the home improvement chain will match the price and give you an additional 10% off — just make sure you bring the ad or a photo of the same item when you inquire about the deal.
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15. You can negotiate damaged goods
Damaged goods can be a store’s worse nightmare and your best negotiating firepower. Home Depot is notorious for slashing prices on items with visible damage either on the packaging or the item itself. Kyle James of Rather Be Shopping scored a 10% discount on a kitchen sink box just because the box had a small tear in the corner. He says the key to wining this type of negotiation is to ask politely in a conversational tone.
Next: Calling all future DIYers
16. Free classes generate some serious ROI
If your DIY projects often end up in the trash can rather than on the Pinterest board, consider attending one of Home Depot’s quick evening workshops. Experienced professionals will teach you how to build stacking tote towers, hang vertical herb gardens, and even install tile backsplashes. You just pay the cost of the project materials.
Kids can learn valuable skills via free in-store Saturday morning workshops, too. They take home a workshop apron and certificate of achievement at the end of the class.
Follow Lauren on Twitter @la_hamer.
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