Buying material and tools at the best possible price, is where you can reduce the cost of your new home considerably..
One popular do it yourself talk show host used to classify material, methods and tools as good, better and best. I think he missed one classification. There is quite a bit on the market that could only be considered “junk,” or practically worthless, and should be avoided when building your house.
I am not an advocate of the old adage, “you get what you pay for,” because I have seen that you often do not get what you pay for. I have purchased tools that did not last through their first use, and material that I found nearly unusable.
I once bought a skid of utility grade studs because of a very good price. When I cut the strapping, I found that the only good edges were to the outside of the skid. When freed, they immediately sprung into multiple configurations, none of which were near straight. It took me about 3 years to use up that skid for small pieces and firewood.
I will sometimes buy cheap tools, and material depending on the usage, but I still try to make sure the quality is adequate for the job. I will very rarely buy the most expensive, as I believe you are often paying extra, for no more than a well known brand name. I guess I am saying, that I buy the product that makes the most economic sense for the situation. Don’t cook four eggs for breakfast if you are only going to eat two.
There has been a lot of talk in the past about the environmental cost of packaging.
I agree to some extent, and am not a fan of bubble packaging. I will buy bulk when I can, and likely at a far lower cost. I am a advocate of hardware stores, and lumber yards, that sell bolts, screws and nails by the pound (or gram). I usually buy more than my immediate needs, just to have some on hand. On the other hand, it is difficult to get 50 lbs. (or 20 kg.) of nails home without the box.
There has been considerable concern with the off gassing that may occur from composite material used in your home, and the effect this might have on indoor air quality and your health. The rub is that, even natural material such as wood will off gas for a period of time, and may be even more likely to promote mold growth. Unless you have special health problems, I would spend more time and money on good ventilation, and filtration, rather than agonize over the properties of common materials. This is not to say that some products will not give off unpleasant and possibly dangerous fumes. You can be less certain of material made from recyclables, as it may be impossible to determine exactly what goes into the mix. Best to be careful, and to check reviews when possible.
All in all, most manufacturers are very conscientious, and do their best to provide the best product they can for the price. The exceptions do not usually stay in business for long, or have to change their name often.
One of the most important considerations is your own taste. There are literally thousands of choices out there, and you are almost certain to find something you like that you can afford.
When buying material or tools, don’t spend extra on something that does not provide some degree of extra safety, durability or beauty. Don’t spend extra, for durability if the product will be rarely used, or on beauty that no one will see. Don’t spend money on a bunch of bells and whistles that you will rarely use, they are just added maintenance issues. At the same time, do not skimp on things such as strength, if there is any reasonable chance it will be needed.
Always hire the best tradesmen you can find and afford. Don’t take the advice of any tradespeople without a grain of salt. They may want to sell something, and they usually have a bias.
We began buying items for our current project some time ago, watching carefully for opportunity buys in both new and used. We have so far purchased light fixtures, a one piece tub surround, a four foot walk in shower, house wrap, sinks and faucets, kitchen cabinets, and much more. Much of this was new, but all was purchased at one half, or less, of new price. Yesterday, we were able to purchase a tankless water heater that had been installed but never fired, so essentially new. List price on this unit is over 2600.00, but can be purchased on sale for around 1800.00. Our cost was 600.00 with about 200.00 worth of fittings included.
Kijiji, or other free internet classified ad sites, are good sources for finding new or used bargains. Internet shopping sites are a good place to check prices, before going on your buying trip.
This is just one example of savings you can effect with diligent searching of the web, and by buying at outlets such as ReStore. Restore is an outlet for new and used building material that is operated by Habitat for Humanity, a very worthwhile charitable organization. You have the added satisfaction of knowing your buying is helping a good cause.