I am just starting out keeping my horses at home. The biggest thing you can do to help yourself is to compare pricing for everything. My two favorites are the Tractor Supply and Southern States. But where some things are cheaper at Tractor Supply, others are cheaper at Southern States. For instance, t-posts were nearly $2 cheaper per post at Tractor Supply. However, Southern States had larger stall mats for the same price as the smaller ones at Tractor Supply. Call around or look online...you won't even have to waste the gas. Make yourself a list of where you can get what at the best price.
Think about it. If I buy 30 t-posts, I save $60 by getting them at the Tractor Supply. I can use 6 stall mats that I get from Southern States, that would take me 8 from Tractor Supply. I save $80 by going with Southern States. By taking the time to compare prices and shop at both places, on those items alone I save $140. To me, on big ticket items or things you are buying in quantity, it is worth comparing prices.
Things like stall mats, t-posts and those kinds of things are pretty much the same quality. The only time I worry about reviews is when something has a motor, such as a barn fan or when I see an item and there is clearly a difference in quality.
PITT BULLS ARE NOT THE ENEMY. WE ARE THE ENEMY. Shorty Rossi