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Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Cheap Sniveling Tool Kit, Part 1

As a Cheap Sniveler, I have discovered that having the right tool, and knowing how to use it, can save me huge amounts of my hard earned money. Whether it be saving an appliance from the trash (what would it cost you to replace it?) doing a home improvement project (what would a contractor charge?), or changing your own oil, (about $30 on up if your mechanic does it) buying tools and maintaining a tool kit is defiantly an investment that will pay for itself many times over. Besides that, if you are reading this blog, there will be some money saving projects here that you can do. Even if you are convinced you can't fix anything, even if your the type would rather pay someone to do it for you, you should always own at least some basic tools. Even if its only 2 screwdrivers, a pair of pliers, and a hammer, it is worthwhile to have tools around. If you're not handy with tools, you may have a friend or family member who, upon seeing your half finished project, will declare "I can fix that!"

So, as a newly minted do-it-yourself-er, and being of a frugal nature, you need to know WHAT tools do you need, and where to get them at a reasonable price. I would suggest you seek out garage sales as a great source of hand tools. Quality hand tools tend to be very durable, and are a bargain at used prices. However, unless you REALLY know something about power tools, I suggest you buy them new. Some sources for tools are: Walmart, Kmart, Lowes, Home Depot, local hardware stores, Thrift stores, and Dollar Stores. Please see my RESOURCES page for some specific sources.

What you'll need:

This doesn't have to be a real toolbox, just a place to keep your tools. So, you could dedicate a drawer in your kitchen or bedroom, or a shelf in a closet. But it will be difficult to keep them organized, and worse yet, when you have a project you'll have to move your tools from where they are, to where they need to be. So I do suggest a real tool box. Even if it is only a cardboard box! But better by far is an inexpensive tool box, which you can obtain from your local dollar store, craft store, or hardware / department store. You can find good deals at garage sales, too! Make sure it's big enough to hold your planned hand tool purchases. Read the suggested tools below, and spend some time with the list in a hardware store. Find the biggest honkin' hand tool you're likely to buy, and then find a tool box that it will fit into.

Work area: 
This is a tough one for an apartment dweller or college student... but you need to get creative. You NEED a place to work, but it doesn't have to be a permanent workbench. A desk, counter top, or table will do nicely, provided it is large and sturdy enough. Just remember to protect the surface, you don't want to be drilling through your great grandmothers heirloom dining table. Use a little common sense. You could use a piece of plywood to cover the tabletop while you're working.

If you have a place in your home where you can have a dedicated work area, you are lucky! Ideally, a corner of your garage or basement where you can put a workbench puts you and your messy projects out of the way and helps reduce the noise and also the size of your toolbox, giving you a place to store your ever growing collection on shelves and in drawers.

Wherever your "workbench" is, don't forget 2 important things: Electrical outlets, and GOOD lighting!

So, give some thought to your workspace and toolbox.
In my next post, I'll give you ideas for a BUNCH of tools to fill it with!

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