It was about 4 years ago. I had just bought a fixer upper that needed a considerable about of work. Among the worst of it was a badly-worn roof that leaked in multiple, multiple locations (yeah, I said multiple twice.). I was pretty strapped for cash but knew getting a new roof needed to be a priority if I was ever going to bring the rest of the house up to a livable standard.
Gathering Some New Roof Knowledge
I began to research articles online to arm myself with some badly-needed roofing knowledge. I also started doing some serious window shopping at my local Home Depot. Then I checked out several used-building-supply stores, because they often carry new things, as well. In addition to this, I made a new friend called Craigslist (it’s been a financial love affair ever since), and started stopping by yard sales that had shingles and roofing supplies for sale.
With some research, I learned that I could locate the existing leaks in the roof and coat them with a healthy amount of tar to stop the leaks. This would buy me the time I needed to take this roofing situation out of the emergency category and into the ‘you’ve got some time’ category.
I then spent the next 6 months stalking down deals here and there, mostly on Craigslist.
Hunting & Gathering Supplies for the New Roof
Sure enough, opportunities began to show themselves. In one Craigslist ad I found several rolls of heavy-duty roofing tar paper, along with a case of roofing nails. I found flashing, drip edging, and roof-tar coating in another. I was able to track down an almost-new roofing nail gun on eBay for a third of the new price.
After several more successful replies to for-sale ads, I had accumulated almost everything I needed, although many of the packages of shingles were different styles. Then, one winter day, I found an ad for architectural, dimensional shingles (these are the nice ones that they put on newer houses). I went over that same weekend and bought around $400 worth, which was all I would need for my new roof.
All told, I had spend about $750 on everything at this point. I felt like I had gotten a great deal and was ready to get down to the hard labor. I set a date on the calendar for an upcoming weekend and let several of my most trustee friends know that their help would be greatly appreciated if they could make it.
What About the Time I Spent?
At this point maybe some of you are probably thinking, “But what about your time? You must have spent hours picking all of these things up”. But as I have detailed here, that was time I wouldn’t have been paid for anyway or otherwise spent earning money. What I could do with this time, though, was invest it in saving the cost of my future spending dollars that I would have otherwise needed to earn to buy the new roof supplies at full price.
More Savings When the New Roof Was Complete
I started to realize that roofing supplies are bought and sold in cycles. People may buy them in the spring or summer to do a repair and by fall, they just want them out of their garage. This worked out to my advantage. I had extra shingles left over after the job. Maybe 10 or 20 packages. I had paid no more than $5-$10 a bundle for them, but I found that when I went to sell them, it was now the busy season for roofing and the price had gone up. I think I sold all of them for about $275.