Harbor Freight is a well known place among mechanics, carpenters, electricians, contractors, builders, do it-yourselfers, etc. Essentially anyone who needs a tool for something or likes working with their hands has gone to Harbor Freight at some point. If you don't know about Harbor Freight… just don't go! Seriously once you know about it it essentially impossible not to go there.
You won't believe some of the discounts and prices they have on tools there. Mostly everything is imported from China, but when you need a tool you need a tool. Harbor Freight is great if you need that tool only once or some spare odds and ends. You know like gloves, small flashlights, hammers, screwdrivers, pliers, etc. Here are my 4 Tips for Shopping at Harbor Freight.
Always use Coupons: Harbor Freight frequently circulates flyers, ads, and emails with coupons on many of their products. It would be stupid to not utilize them as much as possible. Paying regular prices for a lot of their product is too much for what you get. You can find 20% off coupons for any item in the store. Of course a lot of items are excluded for these 20% off coupons. Typically you can also find HF coupons in the back of magazines. You can also find coupons when you get items for Free, just for making a purchase. There are lots of mega threads for Harbor Freight coupons on forums all around the internet. Do a search and you can print some out. (I print them out in Black and White to save color toner.)
Make a List: Inevitably if you go to Harbor Freight without a list, you will spend more than you really want to. Obviously this is how they want it, but don't fall for this trap. Try to make a list of necessary tools, items, and equipment you need. Try not to get too distracted by things you don't need, since there will probably be a lot.
Pay with Cash: When I make a trip over to my local Harbor Freight in Parkville, I try to only pay with cash and what's on me. If I use my card, I would probably spend a ridiculous amount of money everytime I go. This allows me to say “I will only spend this much today. I can come back and get that later if needed.” It's easy to spend only a small amount of money for different and various items you need but easy to spend a lot on items you don't. If you are buying a larger item and expensive item, such as a toolbox, you can obviously break the rule and use a credit card as that would be easier (and safer) than bringing cash.
Check Reviews: If you look on a lot of forums and sites around the web you can find reviews of what you should and should not buy at Harbor Freight. I would recommend checking them out as I have found people have written reviews for almost anything there even down to small screwdrivers sets. This has made it so that I have made good buying decisions at Harbor Freight, like my toolbox, and avoided bad items there.
I know a lot of you have a love-hate relationship with Harbor Freight, like I do, but sometimes you just need to go there. It's a guy thing I guess! 🙂
If you think my list of tips is good, please leave a comment below and let me know. If you think something should be added about Harbor Freight also leave a comment.
About 2 weeks ago I bought a set of floormats at Costco for my Accord. I had been looking and searching for a good set of floormats but had not been able to find anything. Every set I looked was thin rubber, or a good set with durable thick rubber was $40 or more. Even the sets I would bought for $40 had odd designs. It seemed for keeping dirt on the mat they would have been inadequate. Also lots of floormats have carpeting. Why do you need carpeting on a floormat? Doesn't make sense to me. I checked Sears, Target, Wal-Mart, auto parts stores…everywhere! All had floormats that would have worked, but not thick ones like I wanted for a reasonable price.
Costco's set of floormats are great! Thick, durable, and the brown-tan color blends in well with my Honda's interior. I expect to get a great use out of these mats especially with the bad and wet weather in Baltimore recently.
It was $15 for the set of 4 FloorMats, 2 for the front and 2 for the back. If you want or need a set of floormats, I would recommend these from Costco. They have been great for keeping my Honda's carpeting from grime and dirt. They will prove to be a good invest for a long time.
Going into the cold winter months, floormats are something that would be a wise item to get for your car. Since a lot of people want to get more mileage out of their cars in this economy. Obviously floormats won't help your car run better, but will keep it looking fresh and cleaner for longer.
Notice I like to leave as much rubber material on the mats as possible, even for my small 96 Honda Accord. That way they catch as much dirt and grime as possible, the whole point of the floormats.
Last Wednesday I made a trek up to Harbor Freight to get something fun, the US General Harbor Freight Toolbox. This is actually my first toolbox I have ever bought.
I had looked around at all sorts of different options for toolboxes about everywhere you could think of besides Harbor Freight. I went to Sears and checked out the Craftsman line as well as the website extensively. They had nice setups, but most were too much for what I wanted to spend. I went to Lowes and Home Depot, poorly designed units that were waaay overpriced. I even checked online and tirelessly prowled Craigslist for months. I considered spending a good bit of money on Mac unit, using my 50% student discount. That probably would be worth it, but I don't have much money.
I kept coming back to the Harbor Freight Toolbox though. With 13-drawers and considering the quality… honestly for the money you can't beat it. Out the door, with tax, it came out to be around $370. It's not the best quality toolbox, but for home use and what I need it should be fine. It's sturdy, the slides on the drawers work well and have smooth action, and it holds a good amount of tools considering how much we loaded it with. I was just tired of having tools all around the garage unorganized and impossible to find. I'm pleased with it and I should get good use out of this Harbor Freight toolbox for years to come I believe.
Do you own a Harbor Freight Toolbox? What do you like or dislike about it? If you are consider getting this Harbor Freight toolbox leave a questions below if you have want to know something about it and how it has held-up.
The Snap-On truck stopped by at work today. I noticed something interesting on the truck. This Matco stubby ratchet that the Snap-On man had.
He told me, “This was a ratchet that one of my customers sent back to Matco for warranty replacement. They sent him back this one! It was a manufacturing mistake. This Matco ratchet is $75 on the Matco truck, while at Sears it's $20. I keep it to show people if you are going to pay premium prices for a tool, you should get a premium quality tool!”
The first thing that crossed my mind… maybe the Snap-On dealer bought the Matco and Craftsman ratchets, then put the Matco head on the Craftsman handle. Obviously he wants you to feel like spending big money on his tools is worth it. As Snap-On tools are quite expensive.
Of course you do need to consider Craftsman and Matco hand tools are both made by Danaher. It's totally possible this is manufacturing defect that they overlooked. Maybe both the Matco and Craftsman ratchets are made in the same factory and on the same line.
If you have an on opinion on this, please post a comment below. I'd like to hear your thoughts.
Sears has a brand new program offering 20% Off Automotive Tools and Tool Sets for students in Vocational and Technical school. All you have to do is show a valid student ID and they will give you the discount. The 20% off discount can even be used on specialty tools, such as multimeters, OBD scanners, brake tools, etc. However I spoke with a Craftsman Representative about the program and 20% off will vary by store and location. Also the discount will only apply to regularly priced merchandise. It would be best to call and ask your local Sears store what tools they will give you under the program. Under the program you can also get 5% off sockets, wrenches, or auto specialty tools that are on sale. You can also get 10% any Craftsman branded tools and items that are regularly priced, including shelves, tool chests, power tools, air tools, etc. I'm sure students will find these discounts helpful. I called the Sears store I usually visit (Hunt Valley) and confirmed they are running the discount. It's also right on the Sears website. Be aware the discounts are only good until March 31st, 2011.