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10 Ways to Save Money on Home Renovations

Whether you’ve bought a new home, or you’re sprucing up an investment property, home renovations can add immediate and long-term value to your home. They can also be costly. With mounting material and labor costs, your renovation dreams can quickly put a strain on your budget.

But renovating your home so it better suits your needs can pay off in the long term. Especially if you're feeling buyers remorse after going through with such a major purchase. Ultimately, making repairs and renovations on your home now can help you fall in love with it, instead of going through the hassle and expense of selling and buying all over again.   

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Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to save money without having to give up on your home renovation. With good planning and frugality, you can update your home on a budget.

Here are 10 ways to save money on home renovations. 

Make and Stick to a Budget

The first step to saving money on your home renovation is to set a budget. The second is to stick to it. This sounds basic, but you might be surprised how quickly you can bust your budget once work gets underway. 


Do your research as you create a budget to avoid any surprises. Be as specific as possible, breaking down every line item, including materials, labor, and any other expenses that might be included with your renovation.   

Have a Contingency Budget

In addition to creating a well-researched budget for your renovation project, it’s a good idea to set aside additional money or financing for contingencies. Though you may go into your renovations with the best of plans and intentions, homes – especially older fixer-uppers – are notorious for turning up unexpected projects once renovations get under way. 

By having a contingency budget, you’ll be able to stay on track with your renovation plans without having to halt progress while you scrape together more money.

Pick Your Splurges

Save your splurges for parts of your home that will get a lot of use. Door handles, faucets, and cupboard handles are some of the most used items in a home, and picking high-quality materials will help them last longer, saving you from having to replace them soon. These are also some of the more budget-friendly splurges you’ll find.

And while it might be tempting to install a chef-grade stove and oven or a jacuzzi in your bathroom, think about how much you’ll use those items before you buy. Unless you’ll use them consistently, these big-budget items won’t give you an adequate return on your investment now or down the road when it’s time to sell.

Update Rather Than Replace

You can refresh a space without having to buy all new materials. When possible, look for ways to update existing pieces in your home rather than replace them. 

You can save a lot of money on kitchen and bathroom repairs by refinishing, and even relocating, the existing cupboards in your kitchen. With a sander, some paint or stain, and a layout that better suits your purposes, your space can have a completely new look for a fraction of the cost of buying all new cabinetry. 

Buy Model or Used Items

When buying materials for your renovation, look for used items or store models to save money. You can find great deals on new and gently used materials, such as lighting fixtures, ceiling fans, and furniture at estate sales, garage sales, and local online marketplaces. 

When you’re buying appliances, such as a new fridge or washer and dryer, you can save hundreds of dollars by buying a store model instead of an appliance fresh out of the box. Some of these items may have a few scuffs on them, but they’ll like they’re new. 

You can also find bargain deals on paint in most home improvement stores by shopping from their mis-tinted rack. These are pre-mixed paints or finishes that were returned by customers because they didn’t match the specific tint they requested, but they’re otherwise great if you’re flexible with color schemes.

Move Your Own Materials

Moving and delivery fees are some of the more costly line items in a home renovation budget. By moving materials yourself – and shopping local whenever possible – you can save a significant amount of money that can go toward parts and labor.

DIY When You Can

In addition to handling your own moving, you can save money by doing as much of the work yourself as possible. While there are renovation projects that are best left to the professionals – especially anything to do with major electrical, plumbing, or HVAC – you can handle others yourself for the cost of supplies and your time.

Some of the more basic tasks you can handle yourself include painting, installing backsplash, and refinishing floors and furniture. 

Get Multiple Bids

Before hiring a contractor or making a major purchase, take the time to get multiple bids. When they provide their bids, ask if they offer any discounts or rebates, which will reduce your overall spending. If you aren’t in a rush to complete the project, you might be able to negotiate a discount for waiting for their service until a non-peak season.

Remember that more expensive doesn’t always mean better. In addition to getting quotes, don’t be afraid to ask any contractor or wholesaler if they can provide you with references from previous customers.

Plan Plumbing and Electrical Updates Strategically

If you’re renovating an area with a lot of plumbing and electrical considerations, such as the ever-popular kitchen and bathroom, be strategic with how you place items such as sinks and light fixtures. Moving plumbing or electrical fixtures from one part of a room to another is a costly change. 

However, if you plan to change your floor plan, it’s better to plan for that before you start renovations instead of after. You don’t want to have to pay extra costs to redo work.

Use Credit Cards With Rebates

A number of home improvement stores and credit card companies offer special financing deals, including cash-back rebates. You can apply those bonuses and rebates toward your budget to give yourself more room.
If you’re renovating an investment property, you may also be eligible for financing and loans that can help cover the cost of renovations until you’re able to turn a profit through rent or resale.

Thomas O'Shaughnessy

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