Part of educating yourself is learning the retail price of items you will need for your project. This knowledge will allow you to make decisions about purchasing items or having your contractor purchase them. This knowledge will also help you recognize a deal when you see it. Knowing the retail price of items will also protect you from the substitution of inferior quality materials by unscrupulous contractors or trades-people. For example, when reviewing a quote from a contractor you might see a price for lumber that looks either exceptionally high or exceptionally low based on your knowledge of retail prices. You will be in a position to ask questions about the contractor’s prices. A contractor or sub-contractor may offer to purchase materials on your behalf, assuring you that he or she can get a better price on the item(s). If you know the retail price, you can ask questions to ensure better prices or insist on making your own purchases.

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Spend time on shopping
Shop the sales
Buy materials from manufacturers when possible