How to Save Ten Percent At Lowes and Home Depot

There are many ways to save big at both Lowe's and Home Depot every time you shop. With both stores competing for your business, it's getting even easier to save at least 10% on every shopping trip, and often considerably more than that.

Jodi Furman of the award-winning blog, LiveFabuLESS.com (Link below) provides tips that help readers get the best deals at Lowe's and Home Depot.

Furman has taught millions of readers a modern and doable way to live an upscale life without the price through her blog and TV appearances. She has an MBA from Columbia Business School and is a married mom with three young kids plus two dogs and two cats.

Find Yourself a Coupon, Code or Promotion

Sign up: Sign up for emails and mailings, and "Like"/follow both Lowe's and Home Depot on Facebook and Twitter (@HomeDepot and @Lowes). Exclusive promotions, in-store coupons, and online codes are sent out regularly.

If you tend to shop online, sign up for Ebates; they often offer a $10 gift card to Home Depot for new sign-ups and offer cash back (usually 2 percent to 3 percent) on your online purchases at both stores every day.

Check the fine print to ensure that you can use a coupon on your intended purchase. Most, but not all, coupons are valid only on in-stock merchandise, excluding most clearance, irregular or open-box items. Additionally, coupons don't generally "stack" or combine with other discounts or promotions (such as "take an additional 30 percent off all clearance").

Competitors' coupons: Lowe's and Home Depot generally accept each other's coupons as though they were their own. Some stores also accept other local stores' coupons. Contact your local store to verify which stores they consider to be "competitors"; it's usually a very specific list.

Moving coupons: If you're shopping for moving supplies, you can request a coupon from both Lowe's and Home Depot online. Sign up for a Lowe's mover coupon and a Home Depot mover coupons online (see Resources).

Questionable sources: You'll find coupons for both stores offered for sale on eBay. While technically it's not legal to sell coupons, sellers skirt the rules by indicating that you're paying for their time to collect the coupons rather than for the coupon itself. Ultimately, some of the coupons listed online are fraudulent and the proliferation of questionable coupons will inevitably change coupon policies for the worse. Long story short: Don't do it; there are many other legitimate ways to score a coupon or a discount.

Get a Price Match

Both Lowe's and Home Depot will match competitors' prices plus 10 percent. For example, if you find a barbecue grill that's listed at $425 at either Home Depot or Lowe's on sale at any competitor for $400, bring in the ad and you'll pay only $360 ($400-10 percent of $400 ($40) = $360). Employees should be able to price match right at the register without a manager's approval, as long as the price difference is under $50. Matches that are in excess of $50 typically require management approval.

Each store matches actual prices, not promotions (say, "additional 10 percent off"). Items must be identical. Bring in the competitors' ad to expedite the process, and exclusions do apply: the price matching policy excludes special orders, bid pricing, volume discounts, open-box merchandise, labor and installation, sales tax, rebate and free offers, typographical errors, and online purchases.

Get a Price Adjustment

Though neither store has an official price adjustment policy, both stores do have a 90-day return policy. If you see a lower price within 90 days, bring your receipt to the customer service desk and ask whether they'll adjust your receipt and refund you the difference between the price that you paid and the current price. Because price adjustments are done at management's discretion (refunds are policy, but not price adjustments), it goes without saying that the nicer but firmer you are, the better your chance to get satisfaction without having to physically return and re-buy. If they decline to adjust, decide whether it's worth your time and effort to bring in the item to return and re-buy.

Out of Stock? Get an Upgrade

If an item is out of stock, ask the associate whether she can offer you an upgrade to a better item that is in stock for the same price as the out-of-stock item. According to a store manager in New York, Home Depot employees nationwide are empowered to upgrade by a maximum of $50 without requiring a manager's approval.

Give Yourself Credit

Both stores offer various promotions tied to either new or current cardholders, often 10 percent off your entire purchase or an additional percentage off specific departments. Lowe's cardholders get 5 percent off every day (doesn't combine with other promotions or coupons). Though Home Depot doesn't have the same promotion, they might match it when asked to do so.

Buy Discounted Gift Cards

From time to time, generally around the holidays, both stores have offered promotions where if you purchase a certain amount of gift cards you would get a bonus -- for example, you may get $1,100 worth of gift cards for $1,000. Year-round, you can often find discounted gift cards for both stores at legitimate sites, such as PlasticJungle.com. The discount is generally a bit shy of 10 percent, but by combining the discounted gift cards with a sale, a coupon or a promotion, you'll likely save considerably more than 10 percent.

Military Discount

Both Lowe's and Home Depot offer 10 percent off every day for military members (with valid military ID) and immediate family members and, in some cases and at certain times, for veterans and retirees, as well.