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Spring is in the air, inspiring homeowners everywhere to dream of ways to spruce up their abodes, both inside and out.

If you are among those enterprising folks, a trip to the local home improvement store may be in the cards in the near future. The two titans of this industry — The Home Depot and Lowe’s — are likely to offer plenty of good deals this spring and summer.

However, with a little ingenuity, you can save even more at the register. Following are six things savvy shoppers can do to cut costs at both Home Depot and Lowe’s.

1. Get Discounted Gift Cards Before Shopping

Sites such as Cardpool.com and Raise.com offer discounted gift cards for both Lowe’s and Home Depot. We recently saw Lowe’s gift cards at a 10% discount on Cardpool and an 8.9% discount on Raise.

Meanwhile, we found Home Depot gift cards for 6.5% off on Cardpool and 5% off on Raise. What do-it-yourselfer could turn a blind eye to such savings?

2. Sign Up for the Garden Club

If you love to plant, the Lowe’s Garden Club can add a little “green” to your efforts — in the form of cold, hard cash.

Sign up for the club and you will receive a weekly email with coupons for foliage and gardening supplies. The emails also contain gardening tips from bloggers, videos and other goodies.

The Home Depot Garden Club also sends members emails with “special promotions, offers, how-to project information, expert advice and more.” In addition, you can sign up to receive up to 10 text messages per month with similar offers and advice. It looks like savings are in full bloom.

3. Take Advantage of Price-Match Policies

Sometimes it pays to do a little research. If you find that a competing local retailer has a lower price on an item stocked by Lowe’s, bring in the competitor’s ad and Lowe’s will match the price — and then beat it by 10%.

The Home Depot offers a similar match +10% policy.

Both retailers have exclusions to these price-matching guarantees, so it’s important to read the fine print.

4. Use the Military Discount

If you are a current or retired member of the armed services with a valid, government-issued military ID card — or an immediate family member of someone with such a card — you can get a 10% military discount on every in-store purchase at Lowe’s.

Veterans also can get discounts on Veterans Day, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July so long as they hold a valid Form DD214 or other proof of service.

Lowe’s notes:

The Military Discount must be used on personal purchases only and cannot be used for Lowes.com purchases, previous sales, or the purchase of gift cards or services including product installations.

It also cannot be used with some other promotions.

5. Shop Through Ebates

Ebates is a popular cash-back website that can save you additional amounts with every purchase. For example, if you stop at Ebates before shopping at the Lowe’s website, you can save 3.5% on your purchase total.

If you visit Ebates before visiting The Home Depot website, you can save 1% on your purchase. It may not sound like much, but it adds up, particularly if you shop at these stores on a regular basis. In addition, there are sometimes specials that will considerably raise the rebate. You can read more about how to use Ebates in “Anatomy of an Online Deal: How I Paid $4.75 for a $25 Item.”

6. Be on the Lookout for Damaged Packaging

Product packaging sometimes gets a bit damaged during transit or stocking, and you may be able to use these imperfections to your advantage.

Many stores — including Lowe’s and The Home Depot — want to rid their shelves of items with torn or otherwise damaged boxes. So if you see a box that looks a bit worse for the wear, ask the store manager if they are willing to discount the item.

After all, the worst they can say is no — and often, they won’t.

This post originally appeared on MoneyTalksNews.

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