Wow, it’s been a while! I severely underestimated how time-consuming owning a home is. Fortunately, we are almost a year into this, and I think I
definitely might be starting to figure out how this works. Plans are starting to come together for landscaping, fencing, all of the fun things that make you really feel like you have your shit together in life.
One of the great hallmarks of adulthood comes from one particular activity. Regular visits to one location that we all dreaded as children; we begged our parents not to make us go. We were never allowed to touch anything. To describe this place further would simply involve me poorly paraphrasing a Donald Glover bit, so instead, I’ll just suggest you go watch Weirdo, which is on Netflix as of this writing. No, today, I’m here to desperately try and help you life hack a visit to your local Home Depot.
Now, the day that we closed on our house, Home Depot was basically the first place we went. I’m pretty sure we went to the actual house first, basking in the accomplishments of adulthood. Then, we quietly realized what we had just done, pulled out a legal pad, scrawled down all the things we now needed, and immediately drove to Home Depot. Like…. Immediately. Now, I won’t say that we bought a ton of frivolous things, we didn’t. We bought things like new locksets, more efficient light bulbs, a new thermostat. Pro-tip: if you buy an older house like we did, consider investing in a smart thermostat to help you more efficiently regulate heating/cooling. Many electricity providers actually provide rebates for making your home more efficient. I have a feeling making your home more energy-efficient will be coming up in a later post.
As I’m sure you can imagine, this was a pretty expensive trip to Home Depot, and it was immediately followed by at least one trip a day for two weeks after. It’s only been in the months that followed that we learned to pay closer attention to the Clearance sections. These are in different locations at every store, but if you learn the system – and there is a system, you can save yourself quite a lot of money.
Generally, you can tell how many times an item has been marked down by looking at the price. More than one markdown is of course contingent on clearanced stock sitting on the shelf for a little while. Most people will see that yellow tag and immediately grab it, so use the below information at your own risk!
First tier markdown: Price ending with xx.00, xx.06, or xx.04
This is the first markdown tier, and generally, the discount off of the regular retail price is usually not that great, but not always.
Second tier markdown: Price ending with xx.03 or xx.02
After spending time at the first tier, unsold clearance items get dropped to another tier. This tier is usually somewhere around 75% off of the normal price, and a great find! This is supposed to be the last clearance tier, but in some cases, items sometimes get marked down to literally $.01. Literally. At that point, staff is supposed to remove the item from shelves, but sometimes this doesn’t happen. I’ve read the trick here is to take it through self-checkout and complete your transaction as quickly as possible. Right up until the transaction is final, the store may try to take the item away from you (even though they are not supposed to, per Corporate Policy), but once you have actually finished paying and have your receipt, it’s just not worth their trouble to take the item and issue a refund for literally one penny.
Its worth noting that it can be extremely helpful to use the Kiosk that’s over near the Pro-Desk or Customer Service. The kiosk has a program called “Price Check” that can help you locate specific clearance items, such as a specific brand, or item, like light bulbs. Then you can refine results for Clearance items to see the prices and see if you are really going to get a good deal or not. Note that this does not work with the mobile app, which pulls Internet Prices, not in-store prices like clearance items. Also, check the yellow clearance tag and note the date. The older the date, the higher the likelihood that the price has fallen even further. Sometimes the actual tags just flat out don’t get updated, and you may not know if the price has fallen, or even if you have your hands on a penny item until you go to check out.
Per corporate policy, if a customer finds an item that is marked down to a penny, they have to honor the price. Their failure to remove the item is your gain. This absolutely does not mean that the staff know or honor this policy, so if they try to take it from you, tell them to get the manager. If that manager tries to take it from you, tell them to call Corporate, or you’ll do it for them. In cases like these always call corporate. They cannot make the situation right if they don’t know its a problem, so bring it to their attention!
As a perfect example, we went in to Home Depot last week for one thing and one thing only. A plunger, which apparently we just decided not to bring with us when we moved. As is always the case, we stopped by the Clearance section at our store, and while I was looking at Scrubbing Bubbles like the responsible grown-up I am, I noticed that D had a box clenched in his hand like he expected the Hulk to try and take it away from him. When I turned to see what he thought he was just going to toss onto the scanner and take home with him without my noticing, I saw what he had.
Nest Cam’s have been listed at our local Home Depots from anywhere between $199 and $249. Completely by fluke, we found this one in the clearance section.
I tried to take the box so I could see what the deal was, but he literally would not unclench his hand until we walked out of the store. We damn near forgot the plunger and only remembered because we happened to be walking down that aisle to get to the self-checkout kiosk. We visited the same store (and a couple more) the next day, literally 12 hours later and they were all gone. Every.single.one. My guess is that someone bought all the rest and will resell them much closer to the original $199 price and make a bit of money.
Hopefully, this will at least help you save some money when you have to go to Home Depot. Checking this regularly has helped us save quite a bit of money, like when D decided to replace every.single.light bulb. with LEDs. On his birthday. After he installed gutter-guards.