Home Depot recently announced first-quarter sales of $38.9 billion, up 3.8% from the same quarter in 2021, up a staggering 32% from 2020. These figures should not come as a surprise to all the people who spent a total of $530 billion in home improvement stores in 2021. The average homeowner or landlord has completed more than three projects, each costing an average of $2,800.

If it sounded like you — and, more importantly, if it sounds just like you in the coming months – let’s save you some money not only on the projects you’re working on, but also on your day to day business and personal expenses.

After all: Most small businesses start at home and are funded by savings, credit cards, and hopefully income. (Statistics show that 1 in 3 small businesses start with less than $5,000 in start-up capital.)

Which, if you’re an entrepreneur, makes saving money—both personally and in your business—especially important.

One easy way? Take the time – even if it may seem like a hassle – to sign up for rewards and discount programs that are right for you.

Home Depo Pro Extra

Let’s start with Home Depot. Pro Extra it’s the Home Depot rewards program.

But don’t be fooled by the “Pro” part; you do not need to be a licensed contractor to register. Also, you don’t need to own a business to qualify. (More on using your small business to disclose savings in a moment.)

Members receive perks such as tiered rewards and coupons; so far this year I’ve made $325 on perks, saved $150 on tool rentals, and another $900 on specials. Because we’ve spent over $3,500 on paint, we’re saving 15 percent on all paint and supplies purchases.

Of course, your mileage may vary. Because we own multiple rental properties and have recently acquired several properties in need of renovation, our total Home Depot spending this year is in excess of $29,000. (That’s another benefit of Pro Xtra: it keeps track of all your purchases.)

Three plus percent of overall savings doesn’t sound like much, especially if your spending is mostly in categories like cleaning products.

But that’s not counting the purchases I made on random Pro Xtra Buy of the Day and Buy of the Week deals. I keep a list of the tools and supplies I need or will eventually need, and once a week I spend a couple of minutes checking those tabs on my Pro page. I saved 20 percent on a portable bandsaw, 40 percent on a dressing table that I knew we’d need in a couple of months—it’s a handy way to keep track of deals without having to memorize and sift through individual items.

Pro Xtra also makes it easy to return; enter your phone number at the return desk and the items will be automatically linked to your purchase history. And, if you ever need help, there’s a dedicated Pro customer service number where the waiting time is – at least in my experience – significantly less.

And time, as we all know, is definitely money.

But don’t stop there

Many other major retailers offer rewards and discount programs. Walmart. Costco Business Center. Sam’s Club business shopping. Staples business membership.

To get the most out of your spending, you may need to sign up for several.

Also, be aware that some retailers offer off-menu discounts. Shop for home appliances at Lowe’s. Let’s say you’re buying a refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, and microwave for your company’s break room.

Get the total cost and then have the employee call their corporate office to see if the purchase qualifies for a bulk discount. Sometimes we had to ask the manager as the employee didn’t know it was possible. Despite this, every time we asked, we received an additional 10 percent discount, even if the items we selected were already on sale.

Leverage your small business

If you are a small business, you may be able to claim lower prices from certain vendors.

For example, our cabinet supplier offers wholesale pricing to businesses. Do not enter into contracts with enterprises – Any enterprises. On the other hand, a local marble and granite supplier only sells countertops to contractors with at least a Class C license. (Which I have is only because I am eligible for discounts from certain suppliers, and sometimes the process of obtaining a permit is a little easier.)

So if your part-time job is light construction, consider upgrading your licensing.

The same may be true in other industries. If you are running a home health care business, certain certifications or licenses may lead to access to preferred providers and better prices.

And here’s another thing: Small business owners tend to look out for other small business owners.

Let’s say you need new office furniture. Ask the seller if they offer small business discounts. Or ask if there are goods or services you can exchange.

Often they will – as enterprising birds of the same field, as a rule, stray in flocks.

Because as lonely as running a small business can sometimes feel, in the end we’re all in this together.

The opinions expressed here by reviewers are their own and not those of

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