Home renovation costs notoriously spiral. If you’re not careful, you’ll look up halfway through your project and realize that you’ve already blown way past your budget. Unexpected bills and busted estimations are never a nice surprise, but they are especially unwelcome during uncertain economic times.
When finances seem a bit shaky, it’s more important than ever to feel like you have enough stashed away for a rainy day — and that requires coming in at or under budget when you set out to do something. Keep your costs from taking a tailspin by following these four tips:
1. Make a clear plan.
You know what they say: Fail to plan, and you’ll plan to fail! Carefully plotting out each detail is a critical component of keeping the budget buttoned up. Look ahead and see if you can combine efforts in order to save money.
For example, can your electrician take on two projects at once instead of coming in on multiple occasions? Can you take more time upfront to plan, and then place a single large order to save on shipping? If you’re a first-timer on whatever it is you’re tackling, give yourself a wide cushion. It’s a pretty safe bet that labor, material or shipping will be a bit more than you expect, so allow a margin for those unexpected costs.
2. Be picky about your priorities.
Before you really get going, create a wish list of ALL the projects you’d love to see completed at some point or another — no need to write them in any particular order. Next, go through your list and ask yourself a few questions: Which would have the biggest impact for the lowest cost? What would improve a guest or potential home buyer’s first impression? Is it in a “high-touch” area? In other words, which project would make a huge difference in your day-to-day activities? Does it make sense to take on a certain project in this season/weather? Once you carefully assess each element objectively, you’ll be able to keep a clear head about what your non-negotiables are, and which projects take the highest priority.
Related read: How to Prioritize Door Upgrades In Your Home
3. Get exact quotes.
Yes, you should expect (and budget for) the unexpected. That said, do yourself a favor and get real estimates from the vendors or service providers you will work with. A Google search is handy to get a ballpark estimate, but it’s smart to call the actual provider for a more precise number before you get started. Getting multiple estimates may even result in some negotiating power. Be sure to inquire about hidden fees and upgrades, like delivery or installation.
4. Cut out unnecessary costs.
Accomplishing a home project on a budget means you may need to get a little creative with your funds. Run through your wish list and see what could be considered “fluff”, then get rid of it. For example, this may mean choosing a different countertop material because the one you desire would be nice to have, but wouldn’t be a game changer. Maybe you nix the brand-new office furniture and shop your local second-hand store.
Cutting costs may also look like donning your DIY cap and saving on professional labor. Of course, paying a pro is sometimes the right call — and one that may even save you money in the long run. Be honest with yourself about your skillset and limitations, and factor in the amount of time you’d personally be sacrificing to see a job to completion. Considering the common pitfalls of home projects, complex jobs may actually cost you more when all is said and done. To help you determine if you should hire a pro or not, don’t miss this blog post.
Can’t decide if new doors should make the cut on your home improvement list? Be sure to read 5 Telltale Signs It's Time to Replace Your Doors. Of course, if you do decide to upgrade your doors, check out our wide range of high quality, beautifully constructed interior and exterior options.