Shopping at The Home Depot can feel overwhelming for a variety of reasons: You either don’t know what you’re looking for, don’t know where to find what you’re looking for, or have taken on a home improvement project that has you in way over your head (just us?). Pair any of the above with the fact that your bathroom reno budget may be tapped, and we don’t blame you if you feel like giving up. Thankfully, we’ve learned a few insider Home Depot shopping secrets to help you save a pretty penny at the home improvement megastore and ease that Oh man, what have I gotten myself into? feeling. Read on for our money-saving intel and transform the way you do your Home Depot shopping.
Price tags reveal secret codes. If you’re wondering whether an item on your shopping list will go on sale, just look at the price. At The Home Depot, when a price ends in .06, it signifies that there will be six weeks until the next time it’s marked down. If it ends in .03, the item will be closed out after three weeks (this is the best deal you’re going to get). Some items are color-coded: Yellow tags mean the product’s a clearance item.
You can use coupons on clearance items. If that item ending in .03 is not cheap enough for you, track down a coupon or coupon code for extra savings.
The store will beat competitor prices. If you find an identical item at a local competitor’s store (such as Lowe’s or Ace Hardware), The Home Depot will not only match its price but beat it by 10%. How’s that for customer retention? The item must be in stock at both locations, and the offer excludes special orders, bid pricing, volume discounts, open-box merchandise, labor and installation, sales tax, rebates and free offers, typographical errors, and online purchases. One note: The store will price-match online purchases but not beat them.
You can haggle. If you encounter any sort of customer service issue with your purchase, ask a store clerk for a price adjustment. Every Home Depot employee has the authority to give up a $50 discount if it’s warranted.
Paint goes on sale on holiday weekends. Thinking about painting a room in your home? Wait to do your Home Depot shopping until the next major long holiday weekend, such as Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, or Labor Day. On these holiday weekends, paint gallons are usually $5 off, and five-gallon buckets are $25 off.
Damaged goods are good for your wallet. Keep an eye out for slightly damaged boxes as you’re browsing the aisles. If the packaging of an item is damaged, ask for a discount, and the store will give you a small break of around 10%. Of course, if the product itself is damaged, you won’t want to purchase it.
If an item goes on sale after you’ve purchased it, you’re in luck. The Home Depot offers price protection within 30 days, which means if something you’ve already purchased goes on sale, you can bring your receipt back in, and the store will refund you the difference.
Some locations accept competitor coupons. It seems to vary from store to store, depending on the leniency of the store manager, but some Home Depot locations will actually accept coupons for competitor stores, such as Lowe’s 10%-off coupons. Give it a shot at your location. Even small discounts can add up when you’re making a big purchase.
Shop a few of our favorite Home Depot finds below.
This story was originally published on February 23, 2016, and has since been updated.