How to Save Big on Your Renovation Plans

Now that you've bought your perfect home - or the perfect fixer-upper home - you're looking to spruce it up. Check out our tips on keeping costs down!

It’s a great idea to renovate because if done well, you’re upping the value of your home and even if that is not your aim, it considerably increases your quality of comfort and enjoyment at home.

But renovations cost money, lots of money and since you’re a smart cookie (or the more masculine biscuit), you’ve probably figured that out. If you're in the midst of planning your budget to a new dream kitchen (or bathroom or just new everything), check out our cost-efficient tips and tricks to reduce overall costs on your renovation bill.

1. Have a Can-do Attitude

It’s obvious you can’t do everything yourself but whatever you CAN DO, will be deducted out of the total cost. So just what can you do yourself? Try painting parts of the house on your own; it shaves your expenditure down quite significantly.

Hiring a professional house painter could run into the thousands as they charge you for workmanship as well as mark-ups on paint and tool purchases. It might not be as difficult a task as might think with the internet being chock-full of DIY resources to make painting or anything else you might be able to do yourself, a lot easier.

You can 'upcycle' old fittings on your own or varnish the ironwork bits yourself, too.

Plus, it’s a fantastic opportunity to get creative with unique paint patterns by using inexpensive tools available at your nearby hardware store.

2. Contractor Specials

Take advantage of the contractor’s store of material wastage from previous jobs like little (or big) odds and ends, that did not make the final cut in his previous renovations.

These materials could be useful to you and at a fraction of the cost. That said, this is not information that contractors will typically share with you, so be sure to enquire if he could utilise any such extras for your home.

Also, it might be a good idea to be upfront about your budget from the get-go, this will ensure a more accurate cost estimate. Let him know about your priorities, what you would like to skimp on and what you can afford to splurge on. It helps keep both parties on the same page and he’ll keep your preferences in mind when unplanned expenses pop-up.

3. Be a Wise Guy (or Gal)

Knowledge is power, so get smart and think about the costlier aspects of your renovation plan, then downgrade where necessary. On a more technical note, anything that involves restructuring your house, especially the piping, will cost an arm and a leg.

This, as you can imagine, is a rather challenging task that involves the planning and re-routing of an entirely new plumbing system. If possible, avoid repositioning your bathroom and kitchen as special consultancy may be required to ensure a perfectly working setup.

4. Reuse - Reduce - Recycle - Repurpose

Use second hand items where possible – why buy new when pre-loved materials can work just as well, and at a fraction of the cost? Search second-hand stores or online for things like refurbished kitchen cabinets, sinks, doors and even window frames.

However, do keep in mind that just because a piece looks great, it does not actually mean the condition is still good. You might need expert eyes, so do consult your contractor before you purchase anything.

But just because it's not in perfect condition, it doesn't mean you have to overlook it right away. If it's cheap enough and can be refurbished to brand new - why not?

There’s another great benefit to salvaging and reusing materials: you’ll be doing your part for the environment and making Mother Nature proud!

Upcycled spoon lights from dose.com

5. You Don't Have to Customise Everything

It’s fine to want to put personal touches here and there, but try not going overboard with the ‘originality’: it costs more. When your contractor has to passage to the ends of the earth to source the materials you need for a specific design, it’s going to hit you in the pocket.

In actual fact, you don't need to customise every column, wall or panel in the home to have something truly unique - a lot can be accomplished by changing some things and keeping the rest classic.

In addition, customised tiles, cupboards and flooring are more expensive when compared to standard items available in retail. You might want to consider scaling back the grand plans if you are on a budget.

This also applies to fantastical designs you might have in mind. For instance, if you wanted more light you don’t need to bulldoze to your roof for a skylight or break a wall to create a new window– try instead, more lighting fixtures at shadowy spots to illuminate your place. It’s much cheaper and still does the job!

6. Don't Be PennyWise

Or any kind of Stephen King monster hiding in underground grates*. In your noble attempt to save as much as possible, remember to also spend smart – this means that you should keep long-term savings in consideration.

Think about quality when purchasing because believe it or not, constantly having to reinstall or fix the little things will add up in the long run. Door latches, knobs, toilet flushes and taps are easily prone to wear and tear because we use it every day.

So don’t worry about spending a little more on these purchases because having to replace them too often costs money and time (and is a hassle too if you’re doing it yourself!).

Additionally, you should also spend smart on any purchase that consumes electricity to function as they could hide costs that surprise you later. This is because cheaper electrical supplies may not incorporate energy saving technology and could be dangerous to use if it is without a quality seal of approval.

Note that although energy-efficient light bulbs or solar heaters appear more expensive in the beginning, you’ll save in the long run. Clever purchases like these helps you pay less on your utility bills as well last longer.

For security reasons, it's also advisable to not scrimp on grates, grills, padlocks and other such safety devises for your home.

So is it really possible to revamp your property into a dream home and still do it on a budget?

We think so, but it does take a lot of work, so try to consider it a labour of love as you prepare to roll up your sleeves and get totally hands-on (a little luck wouldn’t hurt either).

On a more realistic side-note, don’t be afraid to sacrifice some of your more grandiose plans. If you can’t pay for it now, it’s okay to wait it out and take care of more pressing construction issues first, such as a leaky roof.

Once you have the funds, go ahead and knockout the wall where your new window should be. Happy Renovating!

*PennyWise was the name of the monster Clown in Stephen King's horror blockbuster, IT.

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