Secret Sources of Free and Low Cost Paint

paint brushesWhile painting is a relatively inexpensive way to improve your home, the price of paint and supplies can really add up. However, there are a couple of frugal tricks to getting free and low cost paint.

Ask Friends and Neighbors

Chances are, there are plenty of garages all over your neighborhood where paint is hiding. Primer, interior paint and exterior paint, it is all there. Most people are only too happy to pass it on to someone who will use it. People tend to overbuy paint because they are afraid they will run out. They don’t realize that with computer matching, it is much easier to get a perfect match of paint, if you need to go back for more. Also, stores will generally take back extra paint, especially if the cans have never been opened once taken from the store.

Through asking friends and family, I have gotten a lot of primer and white ceiling paint this way. Everyone seems to have cans and cans of those two types of paint. I’ve also gotten enough black exterior paint to freshen up my house numbers.

The Secret Section at The Home Improvement Store

There is a secret little section in the home improvement store. It is usually located near the least used outside door, but it may also be found elsewhere. It is the place where all of the returned paint goes. Most stores have a guarantee policy on paint. They will take back full cans of it with no questions asked. The stores then discount the paint by a hefty discount.

Don’t be afraid of this section. You would think there would be lots of cans of garish hot pink paint that someone thought might be good at the time but then later came to their senses and returned. There is some of that, but most of the returns I have seen are very desirable.

Recently, I’ve found gallons of designer paint in neutral colors that did nicely in my bathrooms, some exterior grade white paint that freshened up our kitchen porch door, and a nice cranberry color that was perfect for my living room trim. I’ve also found tiny (sample) cans of paint in bright colors that worked well for bookshelves in the kids rooms, as well as for painted wood crafts.

Do you know of any other sources for free and low cost paint? I would love to hear your comments!

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About Mary Ann Romans

Mary Ann Romans is a freelance writer, online content manager, wife and mother of three children. She lives in Pennsylvania in the middle of the woods but close enough to Target and Home Depot. The author of many magazine, newspaper and online articles, Mary Ann enjoys writing about almost any subject. "Writing gives me the opportunity to both learn interesting information, and to interact with wonderful people." Mary Ann has written more than 5,000 blogs for since she started back in December 2006. Contact her at maromans AT or visit her personal blog