Share Your Tips: "I always buy____ and I really like it"


Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
We've all had those discussions with a friend that go something like, "I've started buying my _____ from ____ and I really like the quality I'm getting at the price!" So I thought let's start a thread talking about miscellaneous small purchases on consumables, paint, cables, hardware, little tricks and tips of what you like to buy and why. What do you get it? What do you like? Where do you get it etc.

So here are a few tips from me to start this off:

I love these Hosa Pro Rean XLR cables from Amazon. $17 with prime shipping. Can't beat the price with the 2 day shipping. I really like the quality of the cable itself, it's feels heavy duty in your hand, yet it coils really nicely.

Need a quality cable of some sort? I've been really happy with the quality of "Mediabridge" products on Amazon. They make a lot of different cables from RCA to mini phone plug adapters to HDMI cables. I've purchased 3 or 4 cables now and I've been really happy with the quality and price.

Of course we all know about buying things from Monoprice right? When you just need a cheap cable of some sort. Monoprice is the place to go. Sometimes there's a basic model and a pro model of the cable. Go for the pro version, it's usually only a small amount more and the quality is worth it.

Sets Construction:
For building flats, signs, and anything that needs a thin sheet of plywood I love the 5.0mm Utility Panel Sheeting from Lowes. 5mm is about 3/16 for the non-metric's in the room. It's weird that Lowes sells it metric and not imperial when everything else is imperial. It comes primed on one side and only costs $13.47 per sheet (looks like it's currently on sale for $12.12 on the website). I can't find anything that cheap at Home Depot or the local lumber yards. The other "luan" options are always at least $25, not primed, and rather fragile.

For dimensional lumber I ALWAYS go to my local lumber yard instead of Home Depot/Lowes. They simply don't do a good job of storing their dimensional lumber and it gets warped and beat up. It tends to cost a little more, but I get straight boards every time. In Seattle, it's always Dunn Lumber for me. They also deliver for free if you purchase more than $250. Check with your local Lumber Yard for delivery prices. You may find that the slightly higher prices come with better wood and a great deal on delivery saving you time and money in the long run.

I avoid buying screws, nuts, and bolts at Lowes/Home Depot the price is always higher than my local lumber yard. Some times by a significant amount. You can get good deals on fasteners from McMaster-Carr and Grainger too.

If you have a table saw, use CDX 3/4 plywood instead of 1x4's for bracing. I'm building a set and needed a bunch of 1x4's for bracing. Instead of paying about $3.50 each. I got a sheet of CDX 3/4 plywood for $23. Run it through the table saw and I now have 12 "1x4's" for $1.92 each. Sometimes you'll get a piece with a bad knot in it which is weak and cracks. So look for weaknesses in the sheets when you buy them. Also sometimes you may find it cheaper to buy something like a 10' 1"x12" piece of pine instead of three 10' 1x4's. So be creative with your table saw.

I buy the little alcohol wipes like the doctor uses to sanitize your arm before a shot. They come in a box of 100 for about $3 at your drug store (diabetics use them). After you install a new lamp in a fixture, crack open an alcohol wipe and clean the lamp. You remove any chance of a stray finger print damaging the lamp. I've been amazed at times at how dirty the lamps are from dust in the factory I guess.

I got a great deal on a box of medical tape for taping wireless mics to actors at my local fire extinguisher and emergency supply store.

Makeup Removal:
Buy the giant box of baby wipes at Costco. It's like $15.
I run through blue jeans very quickly. No matter how much I spend, they don't last more that a couple months, and that's only if I don't get paint on them. I had been spending $40 - $50 a pair at kohls for a pair that fit nicely, until one time they didn't have my size. Now I buy These from Target. They are better about keeping sizes in stock and the pants are usually on sale for $20. Also, they are a little more stretchy which is nice. I've worn them climbing several times and didn't find my mobility to be limited.

My new favorite way to buy blu-rays is They deliver the same day of release so whenever there is a movie coming out that I want on release day, I just buy it online the week before and it's waiting in my mailbox when I get home the release day.
Pizza from Pepe's in New Haven CT. The best. No question.

Need a sleeping pad for backpacking or camping? Can't beat Exped.

No regrets on Souris River canoes.

Maybe not what you had in mind.
I usually buy 3m transpore tape from amazon

The Kirkland brand AA Batteries from Cosco are a great deal for a quality consistent AA batteries. Their packaging for the 46-72 batteries has changed but It's still my go to for most shows.

I'm a fan of ProCo Cables from (while it's their brand i think other sell it as well.) under light to moderate use it holds up nicely, has a great feel, sturdy connector and a nice look, for when presentation matters.

For moderate quality hand tools that will walk away with students or guest technician's Harbor Freight is a great place to get "disposable tools, that will do just enough of a job before they grow legs and walk, or to do the one job you need them for at decent/low price. (things that come to mind. Adjustable C-wrenches, replaceable Drill driver Philips head bits, "disposable" drill drivers perfect for a student that would break your nice one whether they were careful or not, at least now they are breaking one thats only 50$, etc.

Pepperridge Farm Goldfish Crackers are one of the best tech snack foods for techweek. (purchased anywhere but in bulk from Coscto prefered)
I've gone to using the Panasonic Enloop Pro AA rechargeable batteries. I believe they last longer than standard alkalines. They cost about $5 each on Amazon but they are fantastic and can be recharged 500 times.

The Kirkland brand AA Batteries from Costco are a great deal for a quality consistent AA batteries. Their packaging for the 46-72 batteries has changed but It's still my go to for most shows.

Samsclub brand AA batteries are great too. I have a friend who used to design batteries for a major manufacturer. At the time every alkaline battery in the country was made in one of three factories and basically any standard alkaline was exactly the same, just a different wrapper. It's only the newer high performance batteries that are really different. My friend always advises people to buy CVS store brand batteries... they are exactly the same as ******** with a different wrapper.
ETC gear when I have a choice and they make a product that fits the application, which is almost always.

Martin moving lights. I have MAC 700's and Aura's and they are amazingly dependable units. The Aura's kick butt.

Lex power stuff. They make most of what I need or can make it and are very reasonable, price wise.

City Theatrical stuff. The best lighting accessory line and well made.
Pepperridge Farm Goldfish to Canoes, I love where this is going! I don't know why we didn't think of this before. Keep up the good work!

Users who are viewing this thread