How to Buy Tools for Less

Tools, love em or hate em you do need em!  I never thought I would be as into tools as I am these days.  Once you learn how to use power tools, you get hooked pretty fast.  It feels so great to be able to build a piece of furniture or fix something yourself - especially when you'd rather save the money for a repairman or carpenter to spend on something else.

Here are my top 5 tips to easily afford a nice set of tools:

1 - Buy new with a monthly payment plan.

When I first moved into my latest house, I needed a full set of power tools to do all the work.  I went to Home Depot and applied for their credit card.  That gave me an instant 10% discount off any purchases I made.  Because my tool set cost more than $299, I also had 6 months with no interest to pay it off.  I bought during their Christmas tool sale where you get bigger discounts for every $100 more that you spend.  I also got a free shop vac as part of the deal.

Watch for sales around Father's Day and Christmas where bigger discounts are available.  Some websites offer the option of setting up sales alerts so that you get an email when the product you want is coming up.  Canadian Tire is one store that does this.  Don't buy full price if you don't have to!  If you can combine 12-18 months to pay with no interest on sale priced tools, you'll be able to buy more tools!

**Be sure to divide the total price paid by the number of months you have to pay so that you pay the balance off fully before the end of the no-interest period or you will wind up paying a huge interest fee!**

Nowadays Home Depot offers up to 18 months to pay, watch the flyers for their sales and you can buy a nice complete set of tools for only a small monthly payment.  You do have to be well disciplined to go this way, do not buy into the tendency to think you will be able to skip payments and make them up over time because you most likely won't...

2 - Pawn Shops

You can pick up awesome tools in great shape and at great prices at pawn shops.  You do need to visit often to catch the best deals on the tools you want.  Older tools are a great value, they were better made than most tools manufactured these days.  Watch for brand names such as Rockwell, Craftsman and Delta.

3 - Classified Ads (Newspapers - Ebay - Craig's List)

This is the easiest way to keep your eyes open.  Scroll through the ads several times a week and watch for the tools you want to show up.

4 - Estate Sales

Another amazing source of tools.  Watch the papers for estate sales that list tools.  There are many former woodworkers whose children do not want to keep the tools.  You can find treasures at these sales.

5 - Yard/Garage Sales

I hit all garage sales that list tools in the ads and many more that I find while I'm driving around that aren't advertised.  Last summer I came across a sale of tools that had been passed down from great-grandfather to grandfather to father - what an amazing array of tools I found at that one!

If you want to see my top 6 power tool recommendations, click on the photo below.

Have a great week!

With a small budget, big dreams and a love of a challenge, Anne blogs about renovating and decorating her tiny 1930s bungalow. A self-taught artist and professed power tool lover, she enjoys writing, gardening, photography, nature and diy'ing. And she's never met a dumpster she didn’t want to root through! Come along for the ride!!

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  1. Great post, Anne. I've had some big ticket tools on my wish list for awhile now. I'll start checking out your smart ideas for buying them.

  2. Great tips.

    The only caution is to consider the interest in payment plans. If you make payments, you may end up paying more in interest than if you'd paid in full up front.

    Another option, take the money you would have put in payments & save it. As you're saving watch for sales. If you save up front, you aren't paying interest & you're more likely to get the up front discount...don't be afraid to negotiate a sale even in the hardware stores. If you have cash to pay in full, you're more likely to be able to talk them down some.

    1. Yes, you need to make sure that you're using an interest free payment plan and that you figure out exactly how much you have to pay each month to cover the entire amount by the end of the payment period. That way you don't get hit with any interest payment at all!

  3. Good ideas for purchasing expensive tools, Anne. We were able to get a table saw really cheap just by mentioning to our friends that we were looking for one to buy. Turns out one of our buddies had one he was no longer using and was eager to see it gone. It was nice to buy it used at a great price from someone we trusted. Thanks for the post. ~ Nancy

  4. Good tips Anne....when I frequent estate sales, I have noticed that many of them have great tools for sale for great prices....Have a great day!!!

  5. Just like many of us hoard used furniture, there are a lot of tool sellers out there who are hoarding used tools that are still in great working condition. Great strategy to consider all these options when building a tool collection!

  6. A few years ago, a supermarket was giving us points each time we bought something and then we could exchange our points for a discount on tools. That's how I bought my electrical screw-driver/driller for cheap!

  7. Scheming ways to get more power tools ... seems like a perfectly wonderful pursuit to me!

    We have used 0% interest offers to buy most of our big-ticket items, not just tools. My Jeep is a is the most recent example of this. Did the same thing with appliances at Lowes when we remodeled our kitchen ... and got the 10% additional discount for using their credit card. These deals are the same as saving money ahead, without the waiting period.

  8. Wow! Those are all great tips. Next time Steve needs a new tool, I will suggest some of your ideas.


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