How to save money on your home renovation. A quick list of things you can do to save on big or small renovations!
It won’t come as a surprise to anyone when I say that home renovations are?expensive. No matter what level of renovating you’re doing, from a simple refresh of a bathroom to a full blown kitchen renovation, the costs add up quickly! We started the process of thinking about renovating my great grandmother’s home that has been in our family for 60 years back in March. Almost nine months later, here we are finally getting to the fun part of the renovation where things are starting to be rebuilt.
From setting an initial budget to picking out lighting fixtures, I’ve learned a thing or two about the corners that can be cut to save a few dollars here and there. The biggest thing I’ve learned is to over-budget and?that every little bit helps when you’re trying to save money on a home renovation.
For us, we didn’t try to do this renovation in a?cheap way by any means. The neighborhood our home is in is one of the most desirable areas in the Phoenix metro area to live in and home that are being flipped are getting a huge return on investment. Because this is a family home and one we plan on living in until we simply cannot fit in it anymore, we wanted to do this renovation the right way. However, that didn’t mean we had an unlimited amount of money to do it. So we had to be smart with our money and try to make it stretch as much as possible.
Here are a few ways to save money on?a home renovation:?
+ Take the Time to Research
This is a step that feels really easy to skip, but I think it’s essential for saving money! If you’re anything like me, you have ZERO knowledge of what things “should” cost for a home renovation. When you’re researching, you don’t need to know finite numbers but knowing a price range for a bathroom remodel or master closet remodel can help you set your overall budget. I’ve learned that things can vary so much based on what you choose, even things like a finish color for your fixtures. We are doing all oil rubbed bronze fixtures and trims in the house, which apparently cost more than traditional stainless steel fixtures. So, knowing a price range is much more helpful for you to start planning your budget than sitting down and budgeting a fixed number for a kitchen renovation. I found this remodeling cost calculator from Houzz to be really helpful in doing some rough budget research because you can set your location, which can help if you live in an area where costs may be higher and/or lower.
Another thing I spent a good amount of time on is asking others who had done renovations before. I posted in a few Facebook groups that I am in asking people who had done renovations recently if I could ask them some questions. I asked things like budget, timeline, biggest surprises, and their advice. This was so helpful because it gave me REAL experience to reference when planning our renovation.
+ Set a Realistic Budget
After doing some research, it’s time to ask yourself how much you can or want to spend. You will also want to search how you’re going to fund the renovation, because that will also dictate what you can do. If you’re funding it out of savings, you have your budget pretty much set already and now need to decide what you can afford to do with?your budget. If you’re going with a loan to do your renovations, you’ll want to figure out how much you want to spend per month on that loan. What you want and can spend?plus the research you did figuring out what things cost will help you set a realistic budget. I recommend adding at least 20% extra on what you THINK it will cost just for incidentals and design choices you may not be thinking about now.
+ Create a Materials List
No matter what size renovation you’re doing, I highly recommend a materials list. This list has basically been my Bible throughout this renovation. There’s just no way I would be able to keep up with the thousands of dollars we are anticipating on spending or the hundreds of products/materials that are needed for the renovation. I created a Google Sheet to keep track of everything and shared it with my husband so we could both add items that we liked or thought of. Before we even started trying to get our renovation financed, we started on this materials list to get an idea of what we would need to be able to make the renovation happen. I broke down each room and first started by just thinking of everything we would need, down to closet rods, door stops and A/C vent covers. For us, we completely gutted our house, so a very extensive materials list was needed, but even ?if you are doing a one room renovation, keeping a list of everything can be so helpful.
This also helped me stay on budget because I was able to see how much money we had left over to “budget” and spend and also helped me stay on top of researching items.
+ Do It Yourself When Possible
When it comes to a renovation, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. One huge way to save money is by skipping a general contractor and being the middle man between plumbers, electricians, etc. For us, this was just not possible. We live about 35 minutes away from our new house and with having an infant and running a blog and business, we decided it was worth the extra money to save me from managing another thing. But if you’re able to, you can usually save anywhere from 5-15% if you manage it all yourself without having a general contractor. This doesn’t necessarily mean you do the work yourself, but you?are responsible for managing the schedule and figuring out which contractor you need to do the work next.
You can also take on other tasks within the renovation to save costs, like demolition, laying laminate flooring, painting, etc. When you’re doing a renovation it’s easy to be in the mindset to just pay someone to do things for you, but taking on some tasks may help save money and time. You also have to be realistic about your timeline though and think through whether doing things yourself is conducive to your situation, like whether you are living in the house during the renovation, waiting on the renovation to move out of a temporary living situation, etc.
+ Shop Around
Shopping around is one of the easiest ways to save money on a renovation. It’s SO easy to just go with the first quote you get or the first product you get but this can actually cost you so much more money in the long run. For this renovation, I definitely have had my favorite places to shop for things but have to remember to double check prices against other stores. What may seem like a $5 difference now can add up to a $100 difference if 20 items have that same $5 difference, and that’s just on the small scale.
This is also so helpful over the holiday season where stores are constantly having sales! Some stores may have betters sales than others or may be having a special deal on a particular item like rugs, furniture, etc. My favorite place to look for coupons and deals is Giving Assistant. Giving Assistant is such a cool program that has many parts. First, they have coupon codes and deals to show you what’s currently on sale at your favorite stores. You can search in a few ways: by category, by deals or by going to a store site directly.
You can also visit your favorite stores through Giving Assistant to see what sales that specific store is showing. For example, my number one store I’ve been browsing is Wayfair. I can go to the Wayfair page on Giving Assistant to see specific sales and coupon codes to see what I want to shop for.
I love that?Giving Assistant?shows me when deals are going to expire, too, so that I can plan accordingly while I’m browsing for materials. A few other favorite stores that are a part of Giving Assistant that I’ve been?stalking for good deals are Home Depot, Amazon.com and Lowes.
+ Earn Cash Back on Online Purchases
When you’re planning to do a lot of online shopping, utilizing a cash back tool can give you a lot of money back for your purchases! I’ve used others in the past, but really enjoy using Giving Assistant’s cash back options for a few reasons. One, there’s a handy bookmark tool that will pop up when you’re browsing a store that does cash back!
You’ll want to activate the cash back before adding anything to your cart, so when I’m browsing and this pops up I will always activate it just in case I decide to make a purchase within the next 24 hours. There’s also a button on your bookmark bar, so you can always click that to see if cash back is available (and it usually is for me!).
With these tips, you’re on your way to saving money on a home renovation or in general while you shop online! Sign up for?Giving Assistant and you’ll get $5 cash back (after your first cash back is earned) just for signing up!