How to Save Money at Home Depot and Lowe's

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YOU'VE GOT A PRETTY NICE LITTLE SATURDAY PLANNED

If you're considering taking on a home improvement project, chances are a few trips to Home Depot or Lowe's are in your future. DIY jobs can be costly, but you if you know a few tricks and tips, you can save money at these popular hardware chains, both in store and online.
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TAKE ADVANTAGE OF MILITARY DISCOUNTS

Home Depot offers a 10 percent discount to all retired, reserve, and active military personnel, as well as to disabled veterans and their families. The offer is good every day up to $500. All other military personnel get 10 percent off around Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and July Fourth. Lowe's also gives 10 percent off to current military, veterans, and their families.
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CHECK COUPON SITES

Before you buy anything online or in stores, visit coupon sites. RetailMeNot, for example, currently lists more than a dozen coupons for Home Depot, including patio furniture, appliances, electrical, and free shipping on delivery. The average coupon results in savings of $8. The site delivers a similar number of coupons for Lowe's, with average savings of $24.
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SIGN UP FOR ALERTS

Signing up to receive periodic text messages or emails could lead to home improvement savings. Lowe's promises access to promotions for those who join. Home Depot takes this a step further, offering $5 off your next purchase of $50 or more when you sign up for alerts. You can opt out of both subscriptions at any time.
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BUY DISCOUNTED GIFT CARDS

Sometimes people receive gift cards they don't want or need -- or they simply prefer cash. Those people occasionally sell their unwanted gift cards online at a discount. Right now, Gift Card Granny is showing 64 discounted Home Depot gift cards and more than 100 discounted Lowe's gift cards.
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TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ANOTHER PERSON'S MISTAKES

Both Lowe's and Home Depot have sections in their paint departments dedicated to mistakes in paint mixing and tinting. These are affectionately called the "oops" aisles. In some cases, a customer didn't like the resulting shade or color. Other times, some paint accidentally spilled. Either way, oops aisles are filled with a limited selection of perfectly good paints that the stores deeply discount in an effort to unload them.
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RENT RARELY USED TOOLS

From demolition equipment and air compressors to tile saws and augers, there are some tools that you'll use too infrequently to justify a purchase. When you require a tool for a one-and-done job, consider renting if you're sure the purchase won't eventually pay for itself. At Home Depot, for example, you can rent a one-person auger for $55 for four hours. You'd pay more than four times that amount to buy it outright.
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PAY ATTENTION TO HIDDEN PRICING CONVENTIONS

Frugal shoppers always examine price tags for price code secrets, and at Home Depot, it pays to take a closer look. When Home Depot moves an item to clearance, its price usually ends in .06. When that product is doomed to be discontinued and removed from shelves, the must-go item is re-priced to end in .03. Therefore, if you see an item ending in .03, it likely means that it is priced at rock bottom.
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CHECK FOR REBATES

Both Lowe's and Home Depot sell items that are eligible for lucrative rebates. When you're shopping for a big-ticket item like an appliance, furnace, or water heater, check your ZIP code at EnergyStar.gov to see which ones are eligible for rebates. Then compare that list against the washer, dryer, refrigerator, or other product you're considering buying at Home Depot or Lowe's.
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CONSIDER A CREDIT CARD

Like all credit cards, those issued by Lowe's and Home Depot charge interest. But if you pay your balance off in full every month, you can save real money with a store card. The Lowe's card lets cardholders choose between 5 percent off or special financing. The Home Depot consumer card offers no-interest financing for six months on purchases of $299 or more.
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ASK FOR A PRICE MATCH

Both Lowe's and Home Depot price match guarantees. If you find an identical item in a local store or online, Lowe's will match the price if you bring in the competitor's ad. Home Depot takes it one step further by matching the competitor's price for online purchases and beating it by 10 percent in store.
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REGISTER AS A PRO

Both Lowe's and Home Depot offer programs designed to help professionals and contractors save money on exclusive deals and bulk purchases. Other perks of these pro programs include priority checkout and parking, purchase tracking, and discounts on rotating categories like paint and appliances.