Here are my sources for cheap paint, usually $5 a gallon and $1 a quart. Habitat for Humanity Re-Stores, Menards mistake area.
Free paint-one of the local paint stores has a room with their mistakes, free you just have to ask about the area, it isn't promoted. And the BEST thing ever is through our area wide garbage/recycling company. It is located at the place where you drop off hazardous wastes like old paint, chemicals, etc. They have a room which last night I invented the name freetail (get it? retail/free combined) where they have shelves with the good stuff that they take in. All for FREE! I have gotten spray paints, grout, sealers, toilet bowl cleaner, 401 spray cleaner, DIF wall paper remover, epoxy, all sorts of paints. They have it organized by in/exterior, sheen, water/oil based, adhesives, stains. They have a table where you can open them but I usually don't bother since if I don't like it I can just return it. If your community doesn't have this maybe it could be started? It keeps a LOT of stuff from going into the trash.
Also another paint store will sell you their primary colors of tinting, yellow, red, blue but you have to bring your own container. I think it was $3 an ounce. So you could make your free or cheap paint into the color you prefer.
That is just awesome! I'll take paying $5 over $50 a gallon any day! My free paint source is called my basement. I must have 60 gallons of paint of all different colors down there, just things that I've picked up over time. I'm a paint hoarder. :)
Man, I wish I had a free paint option!! The mistake paint is the best source ever. Although I've been overzealous at times and bought colors I knew I would hate. Even a bad color at $5 isn't a deal. :) But I've been known to make a meritage of 3 different colors to make enough paint for a few rooms. Some combos have come out better than others!
That is so cool! I don't score free paint. But...I do watch the oops sections and pick up basic colors and colors that would look great on furniture.
I also love to use sample sizes for my DIY chalk paint...perfect amount for most projects and I don't shell out a fortune for big amounts.
The sample sizes are a great idea too. I bought a sample at Menards for 3 bucks, had it custom tinted and used in on the arms and feet of a chair I recovered. Then used it on a chalkboard frame. Still have some left.