I have been ’plugged-in’ to cost estimating ever since an early successful experience. So I never shy away from the issue of how much something costs. Eventually I noticed that this tendency of mine was creating these little mini projects as I chased down client requests for the costs of things - doing actual estimates. Finally I got my head out of the sand and looked around. What I saw was that the cheapest way to do things is what you see all around you.
Nature encourages economy and so does human nature.
Rather than charge off into a study of costs, I realized I could usually answer the question by just pointing out what everyone else was doing about the issue in question. If it was reasonable to use the requested 'ABC' material, you would see lots of 'ABC' around you.
Here are a few of the snipe hunts that I went on.