One of the major hindrances to DIY projects is cost. Materials are expensive, and if you aren’t careful, you can find yourself spending a lot of money. Over the years I have tried as much as possible to keep my DIY projects inexpensive, and in almost every case, I have saved money by building rather than buying. I have put together a list of the top 5 ways I have found to get free or almost free materials for DIY projects. For the sake of this list, I am defining almost free as $10 or under.
Don’t be afraid to go through the trash to find materials to use in DIY. I have found left over lumber from construction dumpsters. I have found perfectly good cabinets someone was throwing out when remodeling their kitchen. I have found picture frames still wrapped in their original plastic wrap. You would be surprised what people throw away. If you are willing to look and get a little dirty, you will be able to find all kinds of free things that people throw away. The following projects used materials I picked out of a dumpster:
2. Brag about your DIY projects.
I talk about, show pictures, and generally get excited about building DIY projects. They even have become an occasional sermon illustration. I have found the more I talk about my projects, the more people ask if I would like materials they have sitting around. My neighbor, who saw me working in my garage, gave me a tray she found at a garage sale. A friend from church gave me a pallet he found. Another friend from church gave me two doors that I am transforming into something really cool. I also have been given left over wood that was just going to be thrown away. If people know you are going to use materials they have sitting around, they are happy to see that material go to good use. Here is the tray I made:
There is inexpensive used furniture that can be upcycled or refurbished if you are willing to spend the time to find it. Check yard sales, thrift stores, used furniture stores, estate sales, and online auctions. You have to be patient, but you can find bargains for under $10. In the last two weeks, I have found a side table for $10 at a vintage market and I purchased another side table on an online auction for $5. I am going to refurbish both of them and put them on our new lanai.
4. Refurbish, repurpose, and upcycle your old stuff.
I love using my old stuff in DIY projects. Right now I have two piles of old things to be refurbished, repurposed, and upcycled. I have old nightstands, picture frames, metal cooking trays, etc. that are going to be transformed in upcoming DIY projects. Keep checking the blog because awesome projects are coming.
5. Keep your scrap wood.
I know you technically purchased the wood already, but when you use scrap wood for a DIY project, it feels like it is free. Sometimes I challenge myself to make something out of the scrap wood I have without buying any other lumber. Some of my scrap wood projects include:
I love saving money, and I hope these suggestions help you find ways to get the most out of your DIY budget.