Your remodeling budget may very well be the most important aspect of your project.
Oh my goodness I know how we all hate the word budget. A budget is never a fun thing to talk about. In fact the b word could very well be considered a dirty word by some people.
But it’s a very important consideration, especially when remodeling.
You sure don’t want to get started on a project and midway through it find out that you can’t afford to finish it. Or that you can’t finish it the way you want to.
So before you start any project – be it remodeling or decorating, make a budget of what you’re comfortable spending and a number than you can afford.
Don’t think of this as limiting, think of it as freeing. Now you are free to take on the project and you know what you can accomplish.
Of course my first tip is going to be to be sure to leave a cushion of 10% (at least) because there are always going to be surprises!
Here are some more tips for how to keep your remodeling budget on track.
1 – Ask a Professional
If you are new to DIY or you’re tackling a project that is bigger than paint, it might be worthwhile to have a professional come in and check it out for you.
We are all about the DIY projects, but if you’re unsure about what you’re doing or it requires special skills then it’s definitely worth it. No amount of watching Youtube videos can make up for experience.
While the upfront cost may seem high, a pro can save you tons of money down the line.
When you hire a professional they can direct you toward money saving options and economical design decisions. They can also view your space with fresh eyes and may make suggestions that you hadn’t considered for improvements.
A professional will keep you from tearing all the drywall off that load bearing wall only to find that you now have to put it all back.
They can also point out the reasons why your plan might not work, but they can also help you find solutions. And many times those solutions can save you money, time or frustration.
2 – Check References of Anyone You Hire
When you’re hiring a contractor of any kind, you should be sure to always check their references.
This is so easy to do these days since we’ve got so many places online to find companies and contractors.
The best place to start your contractor search is by asking your friends for referrals. If they were happy with a contractor and want to share their information that’s always going to be the best way to find someone.
If you’re looking for someone that you can’t get a friend reference for then you should take to the internet. There are reviews for many businesses and many also have facebook pages. You should be able to see some photo’s of their work and ask questions.
Here are a couple of things you might want to ask about:
- Communication – were they easy to work with and did they communicate effectively about the project? Especially if you’re not used to working on a certain project, it helps to have someone that knows the right questions to ask.
- Did they meet their deadline? If they don’t show up on time or they miss their deadlines it can wind up costing you money in the long run. (Because time is money, am I right?)
3 – Stick to Your Goals (Have a Plan)
When you start a project be sure that you know exactly what you’re trying to accomplish.
It’s so easy to get distracted along the way with lots of decisions to be made so be sure you know what your goal is in the beginning.
Create a plan alongside your budget and don’t get distracted by the “since we’re doing this then we should do this too…”
You’ve heard the story about giving a mouse a cookie right?
The key here is just to focus on a single project and stick to that one until it’s done. If you’re adding new flooring in the kitchen does that mean the whole house is going to need new flooring?
Believe me, I know that one project leads to another. So have a plan for that!
4 – Keep It Simple
Moving load bearing walls and plumbing are going to major expenses any way you slice it. If you can incorporate a new design into the space you already have you’ll easily save on your budget.
If it’s possible to make a plan work in a similar layout then you’ll save money in a big way by not moving plumbing or beams. Which takes us back to number one where you might want to consult a professional.
We did our kitchen remodel in 4 different stages and the first one was just a “mini” remodel. We removed our upper cabinets and painted the walls a crazy color. It was easy to do something dramatic because we knew that it wasn’t going to stay that way and it was a style that we’d tire of.
It did, however, make our kitchen more bearable while we worked out the big details and projects and our remodeling budget for the bigger makeover.
5 – Use Stock Materials
Stock materials and stock sizes are going to be less expensive than custom hands down.
There are lots of options for semi-custom in areas such as cabinetry, but try to stay within the stock sizes on these also. Anytime you stray into a completely custom style it’s going to effect your pocketbook.
6 – Order Your Materials in Advance
Be sure you know which items are going to need a lot of lead time, such as cabinetry or windows. You’ll want to make sure these are ordered before you start the project so that you don’t encounter delays down the line.
Because guess what? Delays cost you money.
Time is money.
One delay generally leads to more delays.
Such is the life of remodeling.
If you’ve already picked out your tile, go ahead and order it. You don’t want to fall in love with it now and then 6 weeks down the road find out that it’s on backorder. That one decision can derail a host of others along the way.
7 – Look for Bargains
A great way to save money on your remodeling budget is to check those clearance bins and know when big sales are happening.
Most local home centers have big sales at Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day.
If you are remodeling a kitchen you can generally get a discount when purchasing multiple appliances. It’s also a great idea to work with a salesperson in that department and ask them about any discounts. They may know of a sale coming up or a discount on older models that’s available.
We know that paint will be on sale the 4th of July weekend so we try to plan our projects accordingly. A few of these little savings can add up to a lot of savings over the course of a project.
If you have future projects in mind you might want to check those clearance bins too. We found a deeply discounted front door at our local home center.
A front door was on our wish list of items to do one day but that price moved that project from way down on our list to the front of the line. We saved thousands of dollars over what we had been pricing and wound up with a home improvement we weren’t planning right then. But at a price we couldn’t pass up!
Which goes against our previous advice on number 3 – keep your eye on the ball.
Don’t stray from the project at hand.
Remember – use the tips that work best for you and your project!
8 – Don’t Make Big Changes Mid-Project
In remodeling you may encounter some surprises that require you to change up your plans.
Well who am I kidding? I have rarely done a remodel project that didn’t start one way and end up another.
In remodeling, you will encounter some surprises that will require you to change your plans.
Some changes are inevitable but making big changes in the middle of a project can be a budget buster. And it can cause delays.
Sometimes these are unavoidable, like you remove all your drywall and discover a pipe that no one expected.
Other times it’s just changing your mind mid project. And that’s not the kind of delay you want to have.
And guess what delays do? They cost you money and time.
Ask me how I know……
9 – Know When to Save and When to Splurge
If you run into a budget busting situation think about the areas that you can upgrade later.
When you start a project it’s a great idea to know your priorities. And the best way to know these is to start with a plan.
And a remodeling budget.
If you don’t care what the shower tile looks like but you’ve chosen a floor tile that you’re in love with, you can use that to save money. Get that floor tile and then go with something inexpensive in the area that you’re not as passionate about, like the shower tile.
I really wanted to add marble tile in our bathroom but it just wasn’t a realistic expense at the time. We found some fantastic porcelain tile in a unique shape and that made our bathroom floor look amazing. It also saved us thousands of dollars in the process.
Try to think about places that you can upgrade in the future. Tile and cabinetry are definitely not items for later but there are other places that are.
A few areas that your remodeling budget could cut back on now and be added to the splurge list later are light fixtures, window treatments and hardware.
If you spend your money on the items that are labor intensive you can upgrade some of the others in the future.
10 – Do Some of the Work Yourself
No matter what level of DIY you’re at there are places that you can do the work and save yourself some money.
In a bathroom or kitchen you can remove the cabinets and fixtures yourself. This can save money and time if you have a contractor coming in to rebuild these areas.
If you’re not afraid to try installing your own tile, or any other flooring, this is certainly a project that is an easy DIY. If you’re afraid to try laying tile check at your local home improvement center and see if they have a class.
I’ve seen a lot of great beginner classes that will show you the basics of a project. This is a great way to use the proper tools and be able to ask questions without being as worried about the outcome.
YouTube has all manner of tutorials that you can try.
Of course painting is always a great DIY! It’s not everyone’s favorite part of a project but it’s certainly one that anyone is capable of doing.
Respect Your Remodeling Budget
There are many ways to use your budget on your next project but be sure you start with a plan.
A plan will save you time and money and it will help you stick to your budget.
Remodeling isn’t for the faint of heart, whether you’re hiring someone to handle it or you’re doing it yourself, but the rewards are immeasurable.
It can also be a bit addicting, one project can lead to another. And each one will teach you new skills and ideas.
Do You Need More Help with Home Decor?
Here are a few things that will help you: