If you’ve ever started a home-renovation project, you know that costs can add up quickly. Even with tens of thousands of dollars, you’re limited as to what you can do. That doesn’t mean that you can’t remodel your home – you simply need to find ways to save money. By making smart decisions, you can transform a room without breaking the bank.
1. Salvage What You Can
One of the best ways to save money on a renovation is to salvage everything that you possibly can. That way, you have fewer things to buy — which means that you spend less. For the biggest savings, look for high-ticket items such as cabinets and flooring. Instead of replacing all of your kitchen cabinets, you can keep the frames and update them with new doors and drawer fronts. If that’s too expensive, try replacing the hardware and giving the cabinets a fresh coat of paint. Wood floors are another great opportunity to save; by sanding and staining, you can create an entirely new look without paying for new flooring.
Other things to salvage include:
- Trim and crown moulding
- Built-in bookshelves
- Sinks and bathtubs
2. Do it Yourself
Even if you’re new to remodelling, there are plenty of things you can do on your own to save money. Painting, sanding, removing carpet, and taking out tile are all time-intensive jobs – which means high labour costs. By doing them yourself, you can cut the renovation budget dramatically.
As you’re choosing DIY projects, look for big jobs that don’t require technical skills. Instead of hiring someone to sand and refinish your floors, rent a sander and do the work yourself. With a little guidance and a few YouTube videos, you can also install subfloors, put up a tile, replace your toilet, or install a new sink. If you want to repaint, you can tackle the taping, sanding, and painting on your own for just the cost of materials.
Of course, when you’re doing your home renovation on your own, it’s crucial to know your limits. After all, it’s easy to make big mistakes when you take on projects outside of your comfort zone. This is especially important when it comes to crucial systems like plumbing and electrical. Often, you’ll need to bring in a professional to fix those mistakes, which costs you more money in the long run. The trick is to DIY within your capability and brings in a professional to finish the rest.
3. Get Many Different Quotes
When you need to hire a professional to complete your home renovation, make sure to get quotes from multiple providers. Costs can vary dramatically from contractor to contractor, even in the same town. In some cases, you can save thousands of dollars simply by using a different provider.
One option is to look for someone who does renovation work as a side gig. Since they’re not running a full-time business, they don’t have to spend as much on rent, salaries, and advertising — which means that they often offer lower prices. The work might take a little longer due to schedule constraints, but the savings can be worth it.
When you’re choosing a contractor, be sure to check reviews and ask for recommendations. A provider that does shoddy work can end up costing you more money in repairs down the line. By paying a little more up front, you can rest assured that the result will last for years.
4. Source Your Own Materials
When you hire a contractor to do your remodelling, they may offer to include the cost of the materials in the job. However, to make a profit and cover the time costs of finding materials, these professionals often upcharge you. To save money, try hunting for your own materials.
Before you bring in a contractor, start scouring the internet for affordable options. If you know the exact size, material, and finishes you need, you can get a big discount over brick-and-mortar stores. If you need custom shutters, for example, shopping online can bring considerable savings; if your contractor handles the project, you’ll need to pay for measuring, material sourcing, and labour for the custom build. By going here, you can schedule a consultation with a shutter professional — they’ll help you measure windows, select the perfect style and material, and install your shutters, all at a fraction of the contractor price. Another great way to save money is to buy some of your renovation supplies at websites such as Wayfair and Overstock. These sites are particularly good for finding discounted appliances.
You can also get great discounts when you’re shopping in person. Before your renovation begins, start watching local home-supply stores for sales. You might find a killer deal on the tile you love, for example, or you could score some building materials at a going-out-of-business sale. This method requires more of your time, but it allows you to save a great deal of money.
5. Consider Used or Overstock Material
There’s no question that construction materials, appliances, and fixtures are expensive. When you’re on a budget, you can cut costs by looking to used or overstock materials. When contractors have leftover materials from big jobs, they often bring them to places like the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. There, you can buy them for a fraction of the new price. The scratch-and-dent sections at big home stores also sell slightly irregular pieces or floor-model appliances at a steep discount.
If you love a vintage look, you can save big by buying used or antique materials. Instead of new wall coverings, countertops, or shelving, used reclaimed or salvaged wood. The same goes for large fixtures. If you’re dying for a claw foot bathtub, you can usually find options locally — and in some cases, all it will cost you is a rental truck and some time to transport it to your home. This is also a great way to find wood stoves, vintage furniture, and unique tiles.
The trick to scoring the best-used materials is to know exactly what you need in advance. Measure your space, plan your renovation, and put everything into a document. That way, you don’t end up with too few tiles or a door that’s too small for your frame. Every time you pass an estate sale or a home-supply sale, check the stock against your list.
6. Pay in Cash and Ask for Discounts
With the high cost of home remodelling supplies, it’s tempting to put everything on your credit card. Although this method allows you to pay over time, it also means that you’re going to pay extra in interest. If you’re charging $10,000 or more for home materials, those interest costs can be staggering.
A better option is to save for your renovation and pay in cash for as much as possible. That way, you avoid expensive costs. Plus, by saving for the cost in advance, you’re able to buy supplies in bulk — which means you can get discounts on the order. Big-box home stores often allow you or your contractor to get a discount of between 10-20% on big orders. If you’re spending $10,000 on supplies, that could mean a savings of $1000-2000.
Another way to get a price break is to ask for the contractor discount when you’re ordering supplies. If your order is big enough, suppliers might be willing to give you the professional price, even if you don’t have a license or a contracting business. They win because they’re bringing in more sales and you get a price cut. During a big renovation, even a 5% discount can lead to hundreds or thousands of dollars in savings.
7. Recruit Your Friends
Labour costs can eat into your renovation budget, leaving little room for new appliances and materials. That’s where your friends come in. Don’t hire a team of labourers to demo your kitchen or repaint the living room — instead, host a DIY party for your friends and family. You provide the beer, food, and fun, and your helpers provide the labour. The event gives you a chance to get together. Plus the work goes faster when it’s shared.
The trick to this process is to divide the project into smaller goals. Create a list of tasks in advance, and ask your friends to pick the jobs they’re comfortable with. If you want to make the process even easier, take care of the prep work in advance. If you’re having a painting party, tape off the area with painters tape before your friends arrive. If you’re moving heavy items, know exactly where they need to go. A little advance organization and preparation can help you get a more professional result.
If you have friends with special skills, ask them to help you with specific projects. They might be willing to do the work with you at a discounted rate or the price of the materials. That way, you can respect their time and get your remodel done for less.
8. Don’t Alter Your Home Layout
One of the easiest ways to save time and money is to stick to the same layout in your home. After all, knocking down walls, moving major appliances, and adding windows often means that you need to reroute electrical and plumbing. It can also mean structural changes, which add up quickly.
To save money, try sticking to the same footprint. Instead of removing a wall, try creating a pass-through window to open up space. Instead of moving your stove to create extra counter space, add an island in the centre of the room. If you’re not sure what’s possible, bring in a contractor for a consultation. The contractor can help you identify cost-effective alternatives that can give your space a new look without the high price tag.
9. Do Your Own Deliveries
When you’re buying home-renovation supplies, your new purchases may not fit into your everyday vehicle. In many cases, that means you need to get the products delivered. Unless you’re buying everything at once, these delivery costs can add up to well over $1000. If you’re on a budget, that cost might not be worth the convenience.
The solution is to handle your own deliveries. For the biggest savings, borrow a friend’s pickup truck and enlist your strongest family members to help you with the hauling. If you don’t know anyone with a truck, you can usually rent one for less than $100 for the day or weekend. Don’t look for standard car-rental agencies — hauling is dirty, high-energy work that might leave expensive scratches on rental vehicles. Instead, rent from a moving company. You can get bigger vehicles for bargain prices, and the agency won’t be worried if you scratch the truck in the moving process. Plus, you can often rent dollies and pads for a discounted price.
In some cases, you can even hire out the delivery work entirely and still save money. A quick ad online can help you find a couple of strong college students with a truck who is willing to do your hauling for less than the store charges. Another great option is to buy a trailer to use during the renovation; then, sell it when you’re done to recoup the majority of your costs.
10. Sell Existing Appliances and Supplies
In many cases, you might want to renovate your home before your appliances and materials have reached the end of their lifetime. This is good news — it means that you have the opportunity to make a little money on your existing supplies. After all, your used items might be exactly what someone else needs for their project.
Before you start renovating, take time to clean up your furniture, cabinets, appliances, and flooring. Then, tear it out carefully to prevent damage. Take high-quality photos of your items and list them on local websites. You can make hundreds of dollars in the process. Plus, you don’t have to pay to dispose of your items, and you can avoid adding extra waste to local landfills.
Home renovation projects often come with shocking price tags. However, with a little ingenuity, time, and labour, you can save a huge amount of money on your remodelling jobs. By taking your time and planning carefully, it’s possible to achieve beautiful results without going over your budget.