Consider these five practical tips
IN THE SHOP with Rachel
By Rachel Gingell
Let’s face it: tools – especially good ones – are an expensive necessity. If you’ve been repairing your own equipment for very long, you’ll understand how important it is to have the right tools for the job on hand. How can you get these tools without spending a fortune? Here are my best tips.
1. Buy tools with a warranty
For tools that you use (and abuse) frequently, it pays to buy tools that come with a guarantee. I tend to run through screwdrivers more quickly than any other tool – even the best made ones can snap and warp. While it costs more to purchase quality tools upfront, after your third (or, in my dad’s case, 30th!) replacement you’ll come out ahead.
Besides the eventual cost, consider the frustration and work hours that are lost when tools break. My recommendation: spend more for tools that you use the most (screwdrivers, socket sets, etc.) and for tools that have a critical safety function (like a floor jack).
2. But other times, buy cheap
If you’re buying a single-use tool and you aren’t sure if you’ll use it often, head to a discount store and get an inexpensive one. Make a deal with yourself: if you break it or use it often enough that a low-quality feature really irritates you, buy a new one.
After a few years, you might find that those discount tools are still ok for their infrequent use – saving you some money along the way.
3. Buy second-hand
They don’t make 'em like they used to… so get the originals! Tag sales and auctions can be great places to find high-quality tools at rock-bottom prices. It might take a bit of searching, so get the word out to trusted friends and neighbors who like to browse.
While deals can be found at going-out-of-business sales, I often do the best at personal moving and estate sales.
4. Make your own
With a little bit of ingenuity, you might be able to make some specialized tools on your own. Keep some of the basics around – like threaded rod, big washers and scrap steel – and see what you can come up with! It’s especially fun to invent a custom tool of your own.
How about you – do you have any ideas for saving money on tools? If so, share in the comments below!