Spring time is upon us, and that means sunshine, fresh flower blooms . . . and spring cleaning. This is the perfect season of the year to not only organize those cabinets and disinfect every nook and cranny of your appliances, but it is also a great time to conquer some of those home improvement projects you’ve had your mind on. You can bet that you’re not the only one with this great idea, and that might mean facing down some competition (and high prices) when it comes to procuring the supplies you need. You can save money on home improvement materials this spring, but it might mean being a little creative.

Home improvement stores. Sure, these stores mark up their products before they put them on the shelves, but they also drastically slash their prices when they need to liquidate their inventory. Check out your local home improvement store sales flyers each week, and don’t be afraid to ask employees when a material you have your eye on will be going on sale.

Discount stores. There are a number of home improvement discount stores that sell brand new materials at low rates. They usually specialize in one type of inventory (flooring, cabinets, or lighting fixtures, for example) and have a warehouse-type setup. Browse through your local yellow pages to find these great sources for cheap home improvement materials.

Second hand stores. Thrift stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army often get donations of home improvement materials, including things like tile, lighting fixtures, and even bathroom sinks. My wife and I even found a nice leather sofa when remodeling the basement for the kids once. The trick to finding what you need through the second hand store route is persistence. The same store will never have the same selection twice, so make it a point to stop in to your local thrift stores on a regular basis. Also, don’t overlook Habitat for Humanity’s “Restore”–a thrift store that sells nothing but home improvement materials.

Classifieds. Your local newspaper classified ads, as well as online classifieds sites like Craigslist and Thrifty Nickel, are perfect places to search for home renovation supplies on the cheap, especially if you are open to reusing or recycling materials. However, just like with second hand stores, the pickings are sure to be random, so you will have to be vigilant about checking these resources out on a routine basis.

Spring is a great time to give your home a new look and feel. Fortunately, there is a way to give your space the makeover it needs without bankrupting your savings. It’s just a matter of being resourceful and persistent.