5 Money-Saving Tips for Electrical, Wires and Fixtures

Buying electrical fixtures like outlets, switches, wiring, and lamps can suck the money from an investment business fast. Copper isn’t cheap, which is one reason it tends to go missing from abandoned properties first.
To save money on electrical fixtures, use the tips below. Buying it yourself, buying quality, buying wholesale, buying locally, and paradoxically buying more expensive wiring are all great ways to save real money on electrical products. See below for a list of tried and tested vendors, too.

1. Buy it Yourself

The biggest and easiest way to save money on electrical fixtures like light switches, lamps, and light bulbs is to buy them yourself. That is: don’t buy fixtures from an electrician. Electricians often mark up the cost of their materials by anywhere from 10% to 40%. That makes self-sourced electrical products the cheapest by far. Already convinced? See below for four ways to save when buying your own electrical fixtures.

2. Buy Quality

The “you get what you pay for” adage doesn’t always hold true, but buying quality almost always saves money. Wiring like Romex is basically a commodity, but avoiding cheaply priced (and cheaply made) switches, outlets, and other fixtures can mean less hourly pay for an electrician down the road. Going with a higher-priced flame retardant wiring options can also save you from a costly and devastating fire.

For lamps and bulbs, LED lighting is the new gold standard for saving money through quality. While the up front cost is the highest out of all the options, the long term price of LED bulbs is about half the cost of fluorescents and 1/7th that of incandescents. That’s because LEDs burn a lot less power and last a good deal longer.

3. Shop Around

Comparison shopping takes time, but it’s a tried and tested way to save money on electrical fixtures. Don’t make the typical mistake of assuming your local big box store automatically has the lowest price. For lamps, wiring, bulbs, switches and other fixtures, check Amazon, Google Shopping, Lowes, and Home Depot. Also check with local suppliers who (surprisingly) often have the better deals.

For lighting, it’s hard to beat IKEA, though Schoolhouse Electric, CB2, and Urban Outfitters offer some good lighting at great prices.

For wiring, don’t overlook eBay, since they’ve often got the best prices from people looking to unload a roll or two for ready cash. Lowes is a good option for any size under 10 gauge, but they tend to run pricey for larger sizes. Definitely compare local supply stores to the big box stores for price, since they often come in a lot cheaper.

For electrical fixtures like switches and outlets, save money by finding quality brands, then sourcing the best prices at eBay or in local stores. Never save money on these fixtures by buying the cheapest option from a big box store, since that’s basically a ticket to redoing the job in a short time.

4. Buy Wholesale

For real estate investors with a lot of rental units, buying wholesale and then holding a little inventory makes a lot of sense. WestSideWholesale and even Home Depot sell outlets and switches in bulk. Buying good quality electrical fixtures cheap in bulk may create a storage issue, but for those who have the space, it can save a lot of money.

5. Spend More, Save Money?

Is it possible to save money on electrical fixtures by spending more on it? According to the copper industry it might. They’ve admittedly got a horse in this race, since the more copper wiring you buy, the happier their members are. Even so, they’ve done some math that’s worth a look.

Buying a bigger gauge of wire than what’s called for decreases resistance, increasing the efficiency of the system and ultimately saving money. According to their study, the extra cost pays for itself in short order. Property owners can use the method to save an estimated $100 per property per year.