14 Helpful Secrets Home Depot Employees Want You to Know

The king of home improvement stores has more ways to save than you might realize.

Home Depot
Updated May 28, 2024
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If you love to renovate your home, chances are good that you are familiar with Home Depot. Frequent shoppers are the first to admit to spending a significant amount of cash at the retailer.

But there are many great ways to avoid wasting money at Home Depot if you know some important tips and tricks. Home Depot employees and others who are familiar with the store all know about the following perks and ways to save cash.

Following are some of their favorite Home Depot secrets.

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You can get refunds or exchanges on plants

phoenix021/Adobe woman shopping for potted plants

Folks with green thumbs may already know this, but Home Depot has a generous return policy when it comes to plants. Specifically, “perennials, trees and shrubs have a 1 year guarantee,” according to the retailer.

So, if one of these plants withers and dies, you can get a refund or replacement.

Floor models often are discounted

Zsuzsanna Bird/Adobe interior design in garden centre

If you are in the market for a new grill or outdoor furniture for your patio and you are not too picky about what you end up with, this tip is for you.

Often, if you’re willing to buy the floor model — essentially, a product that sits on display outside of its packaging — you can get a discount.

In many cases, the manager will shave off a percentage of the list price. So, it’s always worth asking if you can get a deal.

You can rent tools instead of buying them

ungvar/Adobe carpenter cutting wooden plank

Do you need to pressure-wash the exterior of your home or strip the finish off a floor? Rather than plunking down a ton of cash to purchase the tools needed, save money by renting them at Home Depot instead.

Renting tools instead of buying them allows you to do one-off tasks for a fraction of the cost.

Pro tip: While it can be tempting to buy a brand-new tool, it’s also costly compared to renting. By renting the tool, you can use the money you save to pay down debt, or put the funds toward another good use.

Get a protection plan on all your appliances

Did you know if your air conditioner stops working, your homeowner’s insurance won’t cover it? Same with plumbing, electrical issues, appliances, and more.

Whether or not you’re a new homeowner, a home warranty from Choice Home Warranty could pick up the slack where insurance falls short and protect you against surprise expenses. If a covered system in your home breaks, you can call their hotline 24/7 to get it repaired.

For a limited time, you can get your first month free with a Single Payment home warranty plan.

Get a free quote

Home Depot matches competitor prices on some items

kerkezz/Adobe man shopping online during kitchen renovation

Home Depot wants to make sure it gets your business as opposed to seeing you turn to competitors such as Lowe’s or Ace Hardware. So, if you find a lower price on an item at one of these retailers, Home Depot often will match the price. This even includes the price of shipping.

This doesn’t apply to all items, such as custom-made products or items on clearance. So, be sure to read the fine print beforehand.

Home Depot might match prices in other ZIP codes

Tada Images/Adobe Ingenico Lane 7000 PIN pad in the checkout lane

Prices at Home Depot stores may vary depending on their location. However, some Home Depot aficionados say that if you take a screenshot or make a printout of a lower price in another ZIP code, your local outlet might match the price.

That’s why it’s smart to put in a few different ZIP codes when browsing Home Depot’s website in order to see if an item is cheaper than at your home location.

July 4 and Labor Day sales are a good time to buy paint

VAKSMANV/Adobe Woman painting wall

Many people buy paint at Home Depot. Painting is a quick and relatively easy way to give your digs a makeover and freshen up things.

If you have a project on the horizon and can time your purchase, you might save money by buying paint at key times during the summer.

Why? Because paint is often cheapest during July 4 and Labor Day sales.

Ask about ‘oops’ paint

Krakenimages.com/Adobe woman with curly hair choosing color of new house wall

If you’re not particular about what paint color you need for a project, you can score some on the cheap by asking for “oops” paint.

Essentially, this is how Home Depot sells off paint that was mixed incorrectly for a custom order, whether the color was off or it has the wrong finish.

Make sure you check on that finish, by the way. You want to make sure you can use the paint for a specific area of your home.

Find discounted wood in the cull lumber bin

joserpizarro/Adobe Scrap wood

Similar to “oops paint,” cull lumber is damaged wood or the wood leftover from custom cuts — and it comes at a big discount.

If you’re looking for any old wood for a small project, head to the area where employees saw wood for custom orders. That’s where Home Depot frequenters say you’ll find cull lumber in a bin.

Some of it only has minor damage, and the leftover wood often has no damage at all. If this wood fits your purposes, you’re in luck, as it’s often 70% off.

Check end caps for clearance items

ungvar/Adobe Home Depot home improvement store

Retailers know how to get customers to spend more. For example, Target is so good at making you buy things you didn’t know you needed that folks coined the phrase “the Target effect.”

As for Home Depot, it’s known for putting clearance items in end caps.

So, check the displays at the end of aisles the next time you are at Home Depot and see if you can score a great deal — hopefully, on something you actually need.

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Decode Home Depot price tags

Ivan Traimak/Adobe man in a hardware store chooses a new screwdriver

Like many retailers, Home Depot has a special system for marking down items that go on sale. Learning how to decode these price tags can clue you in on when the price of something has reached rock bottom.

For example, Home Depot fans say that if a price ends in 3 on a clearance price tag, that’s when it’s time to haul that item to the register, as it’s likely 70% off by that time.

Look for the deals of the day

Kristof Kind/Wirestock Creators/Adobe Home Depot website on a laptop screen

When shopping online on Home Depot’s website, another way to save 10%, 20%, or even 40% is to check out the Special Buy of the Day.

Lest you think the “buy” will only be one item, there are multiple deals in a variety of categories.

There’s even a handy countdown clock at the top of the page so you know exactly how much time you have left to save.

Subscribe to Home Depot products online

leszekglasner/Adobe asian woman making online payment using laptop for shopping at home

You know how Amazon has an option to subscribe to a product you use regularly, and have it delivered periodically at a discount price? It turns out you can do the same at Home Depot.

Whether you shop regularly for laundry detergent, garbage bags, air filters, or pool supplies, sign up online and you will get 5% off each order and free delivery.

Create a Pro Xtra account

md3d/Adobe Sign up text on keyboard button

If you’re a Home Depot frequent shopper, you might benefit by signing up for the Pro Xtra program.

You don’t need to pay anything for this perk; just register with your name, address, and contact info.

Once you do, you’re entitled to discounts, exclusive offers, and other rewards that can save you money.

Use the Volume Pricing Program on bulk orders

jollier_/Adobe An aisle at Home Depot

If you're working on a large project — say you need a bunch of wood, a bunch of buckets, and so on — write up all you'll need and bring it to the Pro Desk.

There, an associate will draw up a quote that'll often get you a lower price than if you grabbed it all on your own.

You'll need a Pro Xtra account for this service, but again, that's free.

Bottom Line

wolterke/Adobe The Home Depot exterior

Home Depot isn’t known for being a super-expensive store, but it is still easy to spend plenty of cash there. Learning the secrets on this list can help you trim your bill.

So, grab one of the best rewards credit cards and head out to Home Depot the next time you plan to spruce up your home.

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Author Details

Cat Lafuente

Cat Lafuente is a Florida-based writer and editor with extensive experience in digital and print content spaces. Her own personal finance journey — particularly consolidating debt and paying it off, in turn boosting her credit score and becoming a homeowner — inspired her to join the FinanceBuzz team; she hopes she can help others do the same.