When money’s really tight, certain things just don’t get replaced. I use things I’ve already got. Food is the big one, but once that’s replaced, I can buy other things.
Small tools take a beating. I lost one of my vise grips on Rt 95 in CT. Long story. Finally got around to replacing it. Rather than buy a cheap knock off, I waiting until I could afford quality. That’s the sort of tool that’s used when it’s time to get mean. The regular proper tools haven’t worked: bolts are stripped, parts are corroded, and so on. Vise grips are abused. Cheap ones will break and bust your hand.
I bought tacks and a proper tack hammer. Having the right tool for the job makes all the difference. For too long I’ve had to drive tacks with a framing hammer. It’s like trying to perform delicate surgery with a machete.
Then there’s all the other bits that get used up: screws, glue, stain, pencils, clips, tape and whatnot. That stuff adds up. By the time I got out of the hardware store, my wallet was $70 lighter.
There’s nothing I bought that I absolutely had to have, but it’s not possible to do everything with nothing. A tool using animal needs tools.