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10 Secrets Home Depot Doesn't Want You to Know

From buying plants to timing sales, here's the inside scoop on the home improvement store.

Whether you have the urge to peruse colorful paint samples or you're looking to revamp your kitchen, Home Depot will undoubtedly have all the tools and remodeling supplies you need. However, roaming around the store can be an overwhelming experience, even if you're a seasoned shopper. So, we turned to the retail pros to find out what you should be aware of the next time you're tackling a home improvement project. Keep reading to find out the 10 biggest Home Depot shopping secrets.

RELATED: There's a Secret Way to Get 11 Percent Off Your Home Depot Purchase.

There's a very generous return policy on plants.

home depot garden center with shrubs
karenfoleyphotography / Shutterstock

Planting a garden can be a serious investment, even when you know exactly what you're doing in terms of watering and using fertilizer. No matter how green your thumb may be, it's not always sure that your hard work will pan out. But if you source your plants from Home Depot, you can rest assured that you won't suffer the consequences of a bogus botanical purchase.

"It's true, if you buy perennials, trees, or shrubs and plant them only to have them die within the year, you can dig them up and return them to your local store," Julie Ramhold, a consumer analyst with, tells Best Life. "Note that this doesn't include cut flowers or floral arrangements, so keep that in mind when making plant purchases."

This is still true if you're shopping through the store's website. "If you purchase live goods online and they arrive damaged, you can notify customer service within three days, and Home Depot will ship a replacement at no charge," Ramhold says.

Your vegetable garden is guaranteed.

home depot garden center
Emma'sPhotos / Shutterstock

Fortunately, the store's generous policy toward plants doesn't end with the decorative selections.

"Home Depot has a Grow a Garden guarantee. This applies specifically to Bonnie plants used with Miracle-Gro soils and plant foods, but Home Depot guarantees a harvest this way," Ramhold says.

"If you follow these requirements and your Bonnie plants don't produce anything during the growing season—which runs from March through October—you can receive a refund for your plant and Miracle-Gro purchase," she explains. "Before purchasing, you'll want to make sure your Bonnie plant is under the Harvest Guarantee products, but as long as it is, you can then bring your plant and receipts to your local Home Depot store."

But there are still some crucial things to consider. "Note that your receipt must show the purchase of both the plant and the Miracle-Grow product within three days of each other if not on the same receipt, and your purchase must have been made within the 12 months," Ramhold points out.

RELATED: 8 Things You Should Never Buy at Lowe's, Retail Experts Warn.

You can save big on "Oops" paint.

Home Depot Paint Aisle
The Image Party/Shutterstock

Painting can be a time-consuming and costly project, whether you're sprucing up a room or rethinking your home's entire color scheme. But if you're a bit flexible, you might be able to save some serious cash.

"Home Depot sometimes sells paint that was incorrectly mixed or returned at a discounted price. This section is known as the 'Oops' paint section," shares Samantha Landauconsumer expert at "Typically, Home Depot stores carry a stock of discounted 'Oops' paint. However, your chances of finding it may be higher after a holiday since many customers try home improvement projects, potentially leading to an increased occurrence of paint mixing errors."

You might be able to talk your way into a better price.

home depot shopping cart
99Art / Shutterstock

The convenience of shopping at Home Depot is often matched by the fact that you're likely getting a pretty good deal on whatever you're buying. But experts say that just because you're already looking at a low price doesn't mean you can't talk your way down to an even better bargain.

According to Kyle James, a former Home Depot employee and author of the retail website, the store has a policy that allows employees to take up to $50 off certain merchandise. As Best Life previously shared, this usually applies to items with damaged packaging or floor models and returns.

RELATED: This $33 Home Depot Gadget Can Help Lower Your Electric Bill, Shoppers Say.

You can save 5 percent on regularly purchased items.

Man shopping for electrical supplies at the local Home Depot retail home improvement store in Snohomish, Washington.
Belen Strehl / Shutterstock

Home Depot has made a name for itself as a reliable source of the materials you need for bigger builds and once-in-a-decade repairs. But the store is also great for staying stocked on the items you probably use daily or need to replace often. But what few shoppers realize is that you could be saving money on these regular purchases if you shop online.

"Home Depot has select items that are eligible for subscriptions, like cleaning supplies, household essentials, light bulbs, air filters, and more. By setting these repeat purchases up for a subscription, you'll save 5 percent and get free delivery," Ramhold says.

The store does more than just match prices.

home depot website on computer

Sometimes, it can pay to know when you're getting a good deal on an appliance, piece of hardware, or important tool. In the case of Home Depot, doing your research on the competition could wind up saving you both a bunch of cash as well as a trip across town.

"It's known as the 'Low Price Guarantee,' and Home Depot will match the price of the item plus shipping costs, so you're getting much more than just the same price elsewhere," Ramhold shares. "There are exceptions to the price match policy, and only certain competitors are eligible, but it's good to know when shopping around, especially with inflation affecting prices on many items now."

RELATED: Delivery Driver Says You Should Never Buy Wayfair Furniture—Here's Why.

You can save money on appliances by buying a floor model.

Home Depot Appliances

While ordering appliances online might be easier, you could save money if you purchase a floor model straight from the store.

"These are dramatically discounted options, but often may have a small imperfection," says money-saving expert Andrea Woroch, who notes that they might have nothing more than a dent or scratch.

The caveat with this option is that you will need to take it with you at the time of purchase. "As long as you have a truck and someone who can install the appliance, it's a great way to save," Woroch suggests.

Shop on certain days for a better selection.

checkout aisle at home depot
Tada Images / Shutterstock

Yes, Home Depot will be more crowded on the weekends, but Landau says this is when you'll get the best selection.

"Home Depot usually restocks their inventory on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays," she shares. Try to go early in the morning to beat the crowds.

RELATED: 7 Home Stores That Sell the Best Quality Couches.

Use a cashback site when shopping online.

Home Depot App on Phone
Tada Images/Shutterstock

The experts agree that using a cash-back website can save you big if you're shopping online at Home Depot.

Landau recommends her site,, since, at the time of writing, Home Depot was offering up to 12.12 percent cash back.

Woroch suggests shopping through Coupon Cabin: "They're currently offering 1 percent cash back at Home Depot and that can add up fast if you're spending hundreds of dollars on a home improvement project."

Buy seasonal items at the end of the season.

A man holding a patio chair while shopping in a furniture store
Shutterstock / Jasen Wright

While it might make sense to get that new grill or patio set before summer commences, this is a bad idea for your wallet. "Wait until the end of the season to buy these goods for better sales and deeper discounts," Woroch notes.

For example, look for sales on cold-weather items such as patio heaters and snow blowers in March, she suggests.

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Courtney Shapiro
Courtney Shapiro is an Associate Editor at Best Life. Before joining the Best Life team, she had editorial internships with BizBash and Anton Media Group. Read more
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