5 Ways to Save on Your Summer Home Projects

by Kailey Hagen | Updated July 19, 2021 - First published on May 30, 2020

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A young couple standing in their home renovation and picking out paint colors.

Image source: Getty Images

Sprucing up your home doesn't have to cost a fortune.

This summer, my husband and I are embarking on a home remodel and addition. We're probably not the only ones looking to capitalize on the nice weather and longer days to get some work done around the house. But big projects often carry big price tags, which puts some people off or forces them to compromise.

As with any large financial goal, it takes diligent saving, possibly over several years, to get the funds you need for a major home project. But there are a few ways you can reduce expenses and still end up with a final product you're happy with. Let's take a look at five of them below.

1. Create a detailed budget

Having a clear budget and sticking to it can prevent you from spending a lot more than you'd originally intended. If you have to borrow money to complete the project, your bank or lender may even require a budget so it can see where the money is going before it gives you the loan. 

Think about what you plan to do and research the costs of materials and labor, if you're not doing the work yourself. That way you can work out how much cash you'll need. Prioritize each item on your list, and consider putting some of the work on hold if you don't have enough money to do everything right now.

2. Do what you can yourself

You can save a lot of money on labor costs by doing work yourself, though it does take more time. You also have to weigh the difficulty of the task against your own skill level. Complex things like running new electrical wiring and plumbing lines are best left to the professionals, but you can probably learn simpler things, like tiling a floor or backsplash, by reading a few articles online or watching a video tutorial. 

However, you need to be realistic about your abilities. If you bite off more than you can chew, it could just make things even more expensive because you'll have to hire a professional to fix your mess. You also need to be honest with yourself about the time you have for the project. You may have the skill, but if you lack the time or the focus to do the work, your project may not get done.

3. Compare prices from several stores and contractors

It never hurts to shop around. Visit a few different home improvement stores or check out their inventories online to find the best prices for the tools and materials you need. Read customer reviews to get a sense of the quality of the product and how well it will hold up over time.

If you're hiring a contractor to do the work for you, interview a few of them. Explain what you'd like to do and ask what they would charge and what their timeline is. You should also make sure any contractors you work with and any subcontractors they hire are properly insured. That way, you aren't held responsible if anyone gets hurt on the job or damages something.

4. Watch for sales

Keep an eye on your local newspaper for coupons or information about upcoming sales at home improvement stores. You should also check online before you buy anything in case you can save a little money.

Think about the quality of the item as well. If the sale product doesn't look as nice or won't last for as long as you'd hoped, it's probably worth spending a little more to get what you want. Your home is going to be around for a long time, whether you're living in it or someone else is, so you want to choose durable materials that won't need replacing for a while.

5. Reuse and sell what you can

Sometimes, you can improve the look of an item significantly with just a new coat of paint. Before you throw things out, think about whether there's any way you could repurpose the item. You may decide it's worth keeping, or you could try selling it to someone else. If you're updating outdated appliances and the old ones still work, you could also try selling them. Use this extra money to help offset some of the expense of your home projects.

If you have a mortgage, your home probably already costs you a lot, so you don't want to spend any more on renovations than you have to. Use as many of the above tips as you can to keep your costs low as you move forward with your projects this year.

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