How To Save Money During Remodeling | All You Need To Know
Disclaimer | This article may contain affiliate links, this means that at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission for qualifying purchases.
Most people have apprehensions about starting a home remodeling project as they are scared that it will soon turn into a money pit.
If you love to give your house a facelift from time to time but are unwilling to spend loads of money on it, we are in the same boat. Trust us; these two things do not have to be at odds with each other. Plan wisely, and pay attention to expert advice to ensure that your home remodeling does not cross your budget.
For first-timers, it can be difficult to create a proper plan and follow the right guidelines. But don’t worry we are at your aid with a detailed guide that will help you with all the dos and don’ts of home remodeling on a budget!
So, let’s quickly dive in!
Steps To Save Money During Remodeling Projects
1. Plan And Stick To Your Budget
Before we get started with how to budget your own project, it is essential that we first tell you what “budget renovation” actually means. Never think that “budget” is equal to cheap. Good budgeting actually involves making smart choices.
When deciding on renovation costs, it is always best to first decide how much of your disposable income or savings you are planning to spend. This is about spending money smartly and never overshooting your budget.
Take a piece of paper, and write down your requirements and the expenses against them. Once you put the prices against the fixtures and materials needed for the renovation, you will have a rough idea of how much the remodeling project is going to cost.
To make things easier, we suggest that you simply create a spreadsheet and put everything you need to buy in one place. Decide if you want to add new flooring, light fixtures, countertops, and kitchen cabinets. After putting all your requirements on a spreadsheet, you will be able to see what’s taking up most of the budget.
Accordingly, then you can choose different materials for saving money or consider cutting out items that you feel are not necessary. A remodeling planner is essential because it also helps you allot some money for unexpected expenses. On average, you should at least allot around 10% of your budget to cover the unforeseen expenses
How To Make A Proper Budget
You already know that it’s important to set a budget before you start with home renovation or remodeling work. But honestly, making a budget is easier said than done!
Start with listing down all your requirements and make two columns: one that reflects the expected expenses and the other to document the actual expenses.
If you are not very fond of using excel sheets, you can jot down all the details on a piece of paper. However, putting down all the details on Google Sheets will make things easier as you can access the file anywhere you go.
This is not a final list; you will surely have to add more details as the remodeling work progresses. And as mentioned above, it is best that you keep a column titled miscellaneous to note down all the unforeseen expenses. We understand that planning for everything is not possible. So, leaving space for extra details is a must.
Lastly, do not forget about the taxes! No doubt, taxes will take up a major portion of your remodeling budget. Be careful, especially if you are giving the work to a contractor. Some contractors include taxes in their overall budget, and some don’t. So, it is best to get all the details before hiring one.
2. Conduct Proper Research About Your Own Project
To keep your renovating costs reasonable and fair, conducting proper research is an absolute must! Do not rely completely on a retailer or a contractor to give you an estimate. Even if the contractor is trustworthy, believe us when we say that no one cares about your wallet as much as you do.
Knowing the cost of things will not only help you plan and budget properly but will also help you save as much money as possible. And these days, it is very easy to know about the costs of things from the comfort of your home. So, if you do not want to visit a hardware store by yourself, just spend some time looking up the costs of fixtures and other items online.
There are specific sites on the web that throw light on the construction aspect of renovation work. And there are other websites that you can check for home decor, goods, and furniture. Conducting your own research online will help save good money when you are remodeling the whole house.
Plan ahead, and things will surely go smoothly!
3. Saving Money Is Easy- Pay Cash
There are many ways to save money when you are remodeling your house. And one of the best ways is to pay for your project with the money that you already have. If you take out loans or put all the expenses on a credit card, you will have to pay high interests if not paid back on time.
However, things can be a bit different if you renovate your house before selling it. In that case, taking a loan is not a bad idea as you are sure about the return on your investment and can pay off the loan quickly.
We have always saved money when we paid in cash during renovation work. You will not be required to pay any interest and won’t be under any pressure to pay off the loan. So, if you have not saved up enough money for renovation work, we suggest that you start today and create a project fund, especially for this purpose.
4. Take Your Own Sweet Time
It is quite common for people to spend a lot of money in one go when they start with home remodeling work. But we suggest that you take a pause every now and then, and make sure that you take things slow. If you have sufficient funds needed for remodeling purposes, you might feel compelled to give the old house a completely new touch.
But trust us when we say that hurrying through the process can do more harm than good! Unless you spend proper time planning how to remodel the house and create a new layout, the chances are that you will be making all the wrong choices. Be it creating floor models or renovating the laundry room, if you rush; sooner or later you might regret some of the choices.
To get the best output, we suggest that you first take on one or two rooms and finish remodeling them before moving to the other parts of your house. If you feel that the kitchen remodel work is going to be the most intensive project, maybe it’s good to start with it. The idea is to get done with the most difficult part of renovating first.
It is best that you handle one area at a time as that will help minimize labor costs too. If you start with one or two rooms and notice that the budget is overshooting because of unexpected expenses, it won’t be too much of a problem to tackle.
5. Put Your DIY Skills To Use
There’s no doubt that one of the best ways to renovate your house on a budget is to take up a few tasks that you can do. It is true that everyone is not handy and might not be able to put up something as difficult as a load-bearing wall. That said, there are some things you can easily do to save on per-hour crew charges.
Start with creating your own demo, clean up the space and do the basic painting. This does not require too much skill, and you will easily save a lot of money.
If you have moderate DIY skills, there’s absolutely nothing to worry about. You will find thousands of upskilling videos on YouTube to start with. And if you have problems creating a renovation plan, it is best to use a visualizer software.
In case you don’t have the needed tools, simply rent them from the local hardware store or purchase them from big box stores near you.
While DIY renovation work might get you excited, we’d advise against engaging in any work that requires a high level of expertise, licensing, or building permits. For example, stay away from any electrical work unless you are a licensed electrician.
6. Reuse To Your Rescue
When you want to take up a kitchen remodel project, one great way to save money is by reusing old cabinets and usable appliances. It is true that custom cabinets can be of great use, but reusing old ones will help you save a considerable amount of money.
At times, you might realize that a simple repainting job on the cabinet doors might not be enough. Even then, you can save a good amount of money. Yes, you heard us right! If you do not like the door, go ahead and replace the cabinet doors completely. This does not mean that you will have to change the entire cabinet.
You can leave the cabinet body in place; this is a much cheaper alternative than changing the entire unit.
A lot of people do not find anything useful in their house that they can use during remodeling. If you feel the same, visit salvage yards and building material auctions. You can even check out trade websites and the Facebook marketplace to see if you find anything useful. Honestly, your aim should not be to spend less but to spend money wisely.
When finding reusable materials, you will come across many options that will help add character to your project. Reusing not only helps save money but also enables you to do your bit for the planet.
7. Find The Right Balance
Budgeting can become a challenge for most people who are remodeling their entire house, and changing both their internal and exterior walls. Your aim here should be to find the right balance. If you are planning to invest in some big-ticket items, such as a fancy chandelier or a high-tech stove, you will have to cut down on the funds reserved for other areas.
Where you want to allot most of the budget depends on your remodeling needs and style inclinations. Your total budget remains the same, but you will have to adjust everything within it. So, if you are planning to spend more on hardware, consider cutting down on cabinets and painting costs.
And while you are making these choices, be careful not to go overboard. It will look really odd if you install a state-of-the-art stove in your kitchen on a cheap laminate countertop. Always remember that finding the balance is the key to all enviable home improvement projects.
8. Make The Most Of Sales
Why buy products for the full price when you can get the most amazing deals on them? There are certain times of the year when you get items for a better price and end up spending less money. For example, you can look out for Boxing Day sales if you are planning to purchase expensive electronics.
Do not let impatience deter you from waiting and getting the best deals. Just do your research well! You can even consider talking to your contractor as they surely have better knowledge about discounts and sales.
9. Buy From Small Stores
When embarking on your remodeling project, we recommend that you shop from small businesses too. It is true that visiting the big box stores helps save a lot of time because you find everything in one place. However, when you shop from small businesses, there’s a good chance that you will make great savings and find unique products.
We were under the impression that small stores come with “boutique” pricing. And that is true at times, but if you research well, you will find stores that offer products at highly reasonable rates. The best part is that you will surely find interesting and off-beat products here which will add distinct character to your project.
10. Check The Return/ Refund Policy
By the time you end a remodeling project, more often than not, you will find leftovers. At times, you might have a change of mind when the work is ongoing, and therefore, be left with materials that you no longer need.
Most hardware stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot have an easy return policy. If you have shopped from them, you can simply return everything that you do not need without having to pay any penalty. However, this is not the case with all stores. There are some that order your product directly from the supplier. So, they do not accept returns easily or usually charge a hefty restocking fee.
It is true that as a homeowner, the best bet is to be able to return any item that you don’t use. But even if you are not getting good return policies, do not let that deter you from making purchases. If you are sure of what you want and your crew is there to help, do not be afraid to take the plunge.
11. Know When To Ask For Help
We hesitated quite a bit to add this point to our list. But after some consideration, we thought, why not! As mentioned earlier, doing things all by yourself to turn your old abode into a new house might not always go as planned. Sometimes you might mess things up. And if you always hire professional help to undo these mistakes, your remodeling expenses will increase.
If you have friends who are trained electricians or have prior experience in laying new flooring, do not feel shy to ask for help. And if they have all the right equipment needed for the job, that’s the cherry on the cake. You won’t even have to hire or buy equipment from local hardware stores.
Just remember to be judicious when asking for help, and make sure that your friends do not feel overburdened. It is best to communicate clearly about whether you will be able to offer financial compensation in exchange or not.
Also, when a friend asks for help from you, do not hesitate to lend a hand in return.
12. Be Smart When Hiring Professional Help
Hiring the right contractors or crew is essential if you want your remodeling project to go as planned. While some believe that hiring a general contractor can help save money, we believe otherwise. We suggest that you create a crew of different skilled workers who would do specific parts of the renovation work.
It is true that it might seem like quite a task to organize a team, but you will surely get better work at a more affordable rate. Before hiring proper help, always make sure that you read reviews and take recommendations from friends. This will help you choose someone you can trust to deliver great results.
Refrain from hiring a friend of friends unless you know someone who has great things to say about their work. This stands true even when you are planning to hire a friend or family member for one project.
They can be great friends but not that great professionals. And if your project goes south, your friendship might turn sour. Take our advice, and spend some time considering if it is a good idea.
However, it might happen that you have trustworthy friends who will deliver great projects. In that case, it would be a great idea to hire them for the work.
13. Keep Your Schedule Flexible
If you talk to the contractors, they will tell you that remodeling is a seasonal business. Most people tend to plan it around big life events or during spring and autumn. So, if you opt to give your house a facelift around this time, the chances are that hiring costs will be pretty high.
To save more money, it is advisable that you plan your projects during the seasonal down time. That way, you will be able to save big money and get better deals. This holds true for both interior and exterior remodeling. We suggest that you choose the winter months for remodeling work, as the contractor hiring costs are generally the least during this time of the year.
In short, if you keep the schedule flexible, you will be surprised by the savings!
14. Implement Tricks To Save Money
There is nothing to worry about for people with a huge budget who can hire carpenters for the entire remodeling project. But, for many like us, spending lump sum amounts on hiring the most coveted carpenters is not a choice. If you are in the same boat, IKEA can be a savior. You can consider using IKEA bases for cabinet workspaces or for your kid’s toy storage.
However, IKEA is not the only solution to installing expensive-looking things when you are on a budget. You can create massive chunky shelves with little money using construction-grade wood. To give your closet doors a brand-new look, simply use applied molding.
Some people even replace their laminate countertops with a concrete feather finish to improve their looks. Let your creativity run wild, and making cost-effective decisions that make your interiors look better won’t be a problem anymore.
15. Swear By The Classics
While it might not seem like you are spending any less while investing on the classics, in the long run, this is the most cost-effective decision that you can make. If you are sure that you will be happy with old-fashioned checkered floor tiles for the kitchen, do not be scared to take the plunge.
Repairing walls and changing tiles are all big projects that are pretty cost-intensive. So, when you are spending on them, it is best to make safe choices that will suit your tastes for a long time.
Many people these days are using subway tiles in the kitchen. Choices like these are safe and tend to age well. These tiles provide a neutral backdrop, but you can experiment with the other decorative items as well. If you wish to add a fuchsia table lamp or paint the walls in neon tones, you can very well do so.
Sticking to classics is a great idea when you want to experiment with upholstery and lights. We suggest that you follow this advice even when remodeling your outdoor space.
In order to not overshoot the remodeling budget, it is best to stick to your home’s existing layout. While renovating, your expenses will shoot up if you plan on moving the big guys, like the bathtubs, windows, and sinks.
Suppose you think of relocating a wall! In that case, you will have to consider spending a lot of money on load-bearing beams. However, opening up a wall may seem like the less costly alternative if you have to relocate stove ventilation or a gas line.
Changing the layout of your house is a costly affair as you have to pay for the materials needed for the move. Additionally, you will have to pay professionals to get the work done. Unless the existing layout is causing any real problems to the functionality of your house, it is best to refrain from changing the home’s footprint.
17. Opt For Cost-Saving Options
One of the best ways to make the most of cost-saving options is to go for appliances that come with energy-saving features.
It is true that they are a bit costly, and you might not have the funds for them right away. But try not to take loans to buy these accessories, as the interest would cancel out all the benefits you would’ve otherwise enjoyed. Take some time to save up and purchase energy-saving appliances, which will help you cut down on utility bills in the long run.
Also, to cut down on costs, never skimp on insulation. If you stay in an area where it gets extremely cold during winter, exterior walls without insulation will create a lot of problems. It is true that getting the walls insulated will feel like a hefty investment, but you will surely understand the benefits during the winter months.
18. Sell Things That Are No More Of Use
Not a fan of the white ceiling lights in your rooms and want to replace them with warm-toned bulbs? You can very well do it if your budget permits! And while we suggest not discarding the old fixtures immediately, remember there’s no point being a hoarder. Refrain from storing it in your loft for years just because you don’t feel like parting with them.
If you are short on the budget to buy the new fixtures, simply try to sell all the old lights on trade sites like OfferUp or Craigslist. Discarded cabinet doors, windows, appliances, and hardware are of interest to many who are renovating their house and scavenging for the right materials.
However, if you find no one is interested in buying the discarded items, you can simply sell them to a scrapyard and take cash in exchange. If you do not need the money, take proper care while dismantling the old fixtures and consider donating them.
19. Make The Most Of Reward Points
Remodeling projects surely involve a lot of buying, and we suggest that you use your Reward credit card for a few small purchases. Just do not wait to repay the bills; pay them immediately with the cash you have saved for the remodeling work.
That way, you won’t have to pay any interest. You will be able to enjoy the benefits of the reward points you collect and spend them to make other purchases.
How To Save Money During Remodeling Final Words
Give these hacks and tricks a shot! Trust us; there’s nothing to lose.
When you pay attention, stay cautious, and are smart with choices, you can save a lot on the remodeling project. Whether you choose to use home builder software programs or employ the right professionals for the job, there’s always a way to cut down on costs.
Be aware and always try to stick to the plan. Even small deviations from the plan might blow up your budget considerably. As mentioned earlier, it is impossible to avoid unexpected expenses, but with due diligence, you will be able to avoid straying from the plan.
If you are not feeling confident about doing the remodeling work using your DIY skills, it is best to get in touch with a professional for home renovations.
Until next time, take care!
Home Renovation for the elderly
Where to start with your home flooring renovation
What is the Average Kitchen Remodel Cost Breakdown