In the past couple of months I have been plagued with repair necessities. Washing machine, dryer, ice maker, gas oven, lawn mower and weed wacker.
In doing all of this work I have done a bunch of shopping around and I am amazed at the variation in prices for parts. The washing machine needed a kit to repair the agitator. Part price varied from $4 to $15, and freight was all over the map.
The ice maker project was looking to be about $90 in parts until I found that ABT electronics In Chicago would ship me a whole brand new kit including everything from the water valve to the ice bucket for $41 including freight.
I actually ordered parts for my mower 4 times. The first round was a carb overhaul. Amazon came up with vendor with a good price, but the shipping and handling was mostly handling, but I made an end run around Amazon and got the vendor to send it first class mail for a couple of bucks and had it 2 days later.
I saved about $40 when I ordered the parts to fix the governor over what Sears had for their prices.
I discovered a needed part when I was pulling every thing apart and found it a little cheaper on line with freight rather than getting it local and I can get buy for a few days with the old part.
The last thing was just the v-belt for the drive. (I originally thought the belt was OK until I was cleaning the deck before re- installing the motor. I figured the local auto parts places would have it (nope not a size used on cars so not stocked. I finally got one at a farm supply for $6, I checked, and Sears parts had one for $17 plus freight, Getting one from the place I got the engine parts would have set me back &14+ and McMaster Carr had them for about $4.50. A few places had them a buck or so cheaper, but probably would clip me on the freight.
The igniter for the dryer had a really big swing. If you ever need an igniter there is only a few styles and the biggest difference is the sheet metal bracket that holds the ceramic encased glow bar. the generic ones can be found for as little as $13 but you might need to splice the wires (ceramic wire nuts provided.) or re-use your old bracket. Ordering these as an factory original part can cost around $80 so this is really worth the time to shop.
The weed whacker needs an ignition module (solid state magneto, sans points) and so far the used one on e-bay for $14 is tempting me vs. $30 for a new one.
Also I wonder how may folks out there forgo all the fun I have and either pay for service calls and labor, replace repairable items or hire out the task of mowing the lawn (Of course for the first 10 years of home ownership I had a guy that charged me $6 a week to mow front and back, so I didn't bother buying the lawn mower until he retired.) or giving the mower a oil change and tune up.