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Saving on Home Renovations

Renovating your home is often an exciting process but also a stressful one. And one of the most important components of any renovation project is to plan your budget to ensure all the costs are covered. Anyone who has watched any HGTV knows that there are always unexpected surprises that cut into your budget so be sure to allow at least 10% to cover these unexpected expenses. Here are a few tips to help you to save smart and have enough to finish the project properly.

Use Standard Sizes

Custom pieces that have specific measurements can significantly increase your cost in the kitchen or bathroom. Stick with standard sizes to keep your costs low and find other ways to make a statement or be creative with the design of your interior setting. Also by using standard sizes and multiples thereof you can drastically reduce waste. For instance, if you are building a wall you can get 2×4’s, in lengths that are 6 feet, 8 feet, 10 feet, 12 feet, 16 feet and 20 feet. But the least expensive in cost per foot is in multiples of 8 feet. So if you want to build a 13 foot long wall you are going to waste a lot of material. Of course, sometimes you don’t have a choice but if you do have a choice try to stick with standard sizes, they are usually the cheapest.


Do Some of the Work Yourself

Be willing to do some of the dirty work yourself to save extra money. Consider painting some of the rooms and trim work without hiring a professional. You can also get experienced with using a ladder, miter saw, and a coping saw to ensure you can tackle some of the work on your own and save thousands of dollars in the process. When you need a contractor’s help, ask to do some of the cleanup or demolition yourself.

Save on Materials

Saving on the materials that you need is one of the most effective ways to stay within your budget. There are a variety of ways to do this. One is to plan ahead. If you have somewhere to store the materials you can shop for bargains and buy materials bit-by-bit as they come on sale. Another way to get materials very cheaply is to shop at the local Habitat for Humanity “Rehab Store” materials are donated as people remove them or if a contractor has left overs. If you have a relatively small project it is easier to find enough materials to complete the project. I recently found a nice used pedestal sink and enough tiles at Habitat to refurbish a small bathroom in my son’s apartment. I’ve also gotten light fixtures, outlet covers and paint there. All at a fraction of the retail price. Speaking of paint another way to get a good deal on paint is to look at the “mixing mistakes” at the local big box store. Often the paint department will have great deals on paint that they mixed and then the customer didn’t like the color. I was once able to get enough exterior paint to paint a shed for $5/gallon (regularly $30/gallon).

Another great deal from a big box store, was on a very expensive “Front Entrance Door” it was solid Mahogany with a fancy inset window. It had been misordered and was in the discount section. It was regularly $1600 and I got it for $800. You can also find appliances this way with a small dent on the side for half price.

Often contractors waste a lot of materials at the end of a job and it just ends up in the dumpster. They figure it isn’t worth their time to salvage the materials since the customer pays for all the materials anyway. I heard of a guy who built a whole house out of free leftover materials. He bought some land and and built a shed to store his materials and then he started working part-time as a “clean-up crew” for a contractor. He would salvage half sheets of plywood and drywall and partial 2×4’s and put them in his shed. He even went so far as to buy a large magnet with a quick release handle to pick up all the nails. One day the contractor saw him picking up all the nails and told him he didn’t have to be that conscientious… he just smiled and said “happy to do it”.


Think Small

Half Width Counter

Floform countertops says that often you won’t have room for things like a peninsula or island but that doesn’t mean you have to give up. You might consider a “half-width counter” or even a custom counter which could end up costing much less if you are able to build it out of leftover materials. See Tiny Islands for more info.

Create a Schedule

Many homeowners fail to create a schedule, but planning ahead can make it easy to avoid cost overruns. When I lived in New York I was amazed at how inefficient the local government was. For instance, one day I noticed they were putting in a sidewalk and I thought that’s nice. A few weeks later I saw them ripping up the sidewalk and putting in a sewer. And then a few weeks later they were putting in the side walk again.   Take a look at your calendar and plan each day of the renovation process, doing things in the right order can save you thousands of dollars in having to redo things. It’s also necessary to work on the home in the winter months, if possible, to pay less for contractors compared to the summer season.

By preparing for the renovation process, you can have enough money for the costs and create extra wiggle room in your budget. Staying in control of your budget can allow you to complete each step and avoid getting into debt.

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About Tim McMahon

Work by editor and author, Tim McMahon, has been featured in Bloomberg, CBS News, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Forbes, Washington Post, Drudge Report, The Atlantic, Business Insider, American Thinker, Lew Rockwell, Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, Oakland Press, Free Republic, Education World, Realty Trac, Reason, Coin News, and Council for Economic Education. Connect with Tim on Google+