Save on what you need to Do-It-Yourself

May 15, 2012 2:46:15 PM PDT
Spring can be a great time to do fix-up projects around your home, but walking into a hardware store can be overwhelming, especially when you start looking at the prices. So what kinds of tools do you really need to stock your toolbox? We asked an expert.

Beth Allen is the founder of HIPChicks. She runs workshops for women on Do-It-Yourself home repairs.

She says, "You can have a fabulous toolbox, that's going to let you handle most every DIY Project around your house for under $200."

She says the most-used tool is a screwdriver. She suggests getting a set with several sizes and heads for different screws. And a couple of hammers.

"I recommend a 16-ounce claw hammer. It'll handle almost any job you have going on in your house," Allen says. "But I also recommend that everyone owns a small 10- or seven-ounce hammer for those little things."

She also says you'll need both a small and a large level, a good 25-foot tape measure, an assortment of wrenches and pliers, a stud-finder and a utility knife.

She adds, "I think the most important tool every homeowner has to have is a cordless power drill."

She suggests an 18-volt drill, with two batteries for most homeowners -- although she says women who have smaller hands, the elderly, or people with disabilities may want to sacrifice some power in favor of a smaller 12-volt.

And though she picked out tools at the Home Depot, she says there are lots of other money-saving options.

"You can go to yard sales, you can go to thrift stores, and even Craigslist is a great place to find a lot of these tools," she says. "And it'll save you a big chunk of change."

To check out Allen's site and learn more about her HIPChicks DIY workshops, click here.

Here's Allen's Under-$200 tool shopping list (from the Home Depot):
Ryobi 18 volt Cordless drill w/ 2 batteries, case ($69)
Stanley 25 ft tape measure ($10)
Ratcheting Screwdriver/Drill bit set ($15)
Zircon Stud finder ($15)
Hammers, 16 oz. ($7) and 10 oz, ($5)
Levels, 3 ft. ($10) and 12 inch torpedo ($5)
De Walt utility knife ( $5)
Pliers, set ($15)
Wrench, adjustable ($10)
Screwdriver set ($7)
Husky Tool Bag ($20)