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Posted by Mary in PA on 11/26/2010

It’s hard to believe that a year has passed since my last Black Friday post. I’m still not a shopper at heart, but I’ve learned a lot about buying stuff since then. Craig’s List (CL) has turned out to be my friend. Just recently I’ve gotten some attic insulation baffles (not enough, but some), a used rain barrel that is already in use at the property, and enough pricey flex-wrap flashing to do the house windows and doors. I’m frankly surprised at some of the useful building materials that get listed on CL. But try as I might, I’m still a conservative CL buyer. For one thing, I’m not going to drive all over the place to pick up $5 items – I’m definitely not in it for the thrill of the chase. ;-)

Building supply auctions are another area where I’ve gained some experience – both good and so-so. I’ve been to a couple of auctions where I just look everything over and decide not to stay. But there was one auction last spring where John and I found and bought many required things for the farm-shop project. We probably saved 70% off retail, but it was a long and tiring day with a good bit of physical effort. On the other end of the spectrum was a recent auction where we wanted some white metal roofing that we would repurpose for the shop ceiling. It was a very long wait and then when it finally came up, the bidding was crazy – way too high. I think a person can sometimes do well at an auction, but you have to be willing to spend time and physical effort in exchange for the chance to save some money. And these days, there seem to be plenty of people who are more than willing to trade their time and effort for that chance. It is by no means a sure thing.

Since that auction, John has located some metal roofing at... wait for it... the scrap yard. He said it's just what we need and we can get it at 'scrap prices' - way below what it was going for at the auction. The catch? Well it is stacked up high, and he said we have to get it down (apparently a two-person job) and load it ourselves... so I'm going to get my first-ever visit to a scrap yard. I'll be sure to let 'ya all know' how that goes.

 

Note to self: Bring heavy-duty gloves and wear old jeans.


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