Example Entertainment Center: $25 for plans + $750 for materials + $1200 for good quality tools = $1975. Less than a few grand! Of course you don't have to buy brand new tools; search the sale lists online (i.e. Craigslist, Freecycle.org, etc.) in your area. You are sure to find some good deals on power tools and even materials! (A good set of tools includes a table saw, miter saw, nail gun and compressor and four piece cordless tool set.)
A magnetized screwdriver or driver bit makes starting screws a lot easier. It’s like having an extra hand to hold the screw. We also like to magnetize a screwdriver when working with tiny screws that are nearly impossible to find if you drop them (been there?). You can use a magnetic bit holder in most cases, but not in tight quarters. Instead, you can just magnetize the bit. We’ve even magnetized tweezers to help pick up tiny parts.
Here’s a traditional Swedish farm accessory for gunk-laden soles. The dimensions are not critical, but be sure the edges of the slats are fairly sharp?they’re what makes the boot scraper work. Cut slats to length, then cut triangular openings on the side of a pair of 2x2s. A radial arm saw works well for this, but a table saw or band saw will also make the cut. Trim the 2x2s to length, predrill, and use galvanized screws to attach the slats from underneath. If you prefer a boot cleaner that has brushes, check out this clever project.
Just redid my dining room table with this technique and I an observation/suggestion others might find helpful. The boards did not line up well putting it together upside down, even on a flat concrete floor with me standing on the boards while they were screwed. I would have combined biscuits with the pocket holes to ensure a better alignment of the boards. Lots of sanding was required after assembly, and this might not be a huge deal with pine, but I used hard maple so it was quite a chore even with a belt sander. Also, be aware that the 1x2s around the edge may not line up perfectly -- I had to trim about an eighth inch from each side after assembly to get nice smooth, even edges. Not a big deal, but the top turned out a little smaller than the specifications I was give by SheWhoMustBeObeyed. Otherwise our table now looks great, and thank you for the post!