Home > Personal Finance > How to Stay on Budget With a Home Renovation

Comments 1 Comment

Giving your home a makeover is one of the most satisfying things you can do. There’s nothing like starting with a vision of what your house could become, working hard to make it happen, and then seeing the results right in front of your eyes. And not only is it satisfying, it can be potentially very financially rewarding, too! If you do it right, a home renovation or remodel could add a lot to the value of your home.

Of course, the financial benefit depends entirely on how much you spend during the renovation. You need to start with a budget and be sure you stick to it. Otherwise, you’ll end up spending way more than expected, which will wipe away any extra value you’re adding to your house. How do you make it work? The tips below will help you stay on budget with any future home renovations you undertake.

1. Respect the Current Blueprint of Your House

If you know from the very beginning of the process that you’ll be utilizing the current layout of your house (for the most part), you can minimize your costs. Why? Because often the most expensive aspect of a remodel is taking out existing walls, doors or ceilings and replacing them with new ones — in new areas of the house.

It’s not uncommon to have some complaints with how your house is laid out, but if you want to stay on budget, it’s best to keep yourself grounded and not get carried away with expensive and complex layout changes that may not pay off in the long run. This is doubly true for moving bathroom and kitchen hookups — keep them in the same place to save yourself a lot of headaches and cash.

2. Re-Imagine Your Furniture Before You Replace It

You might be tempted to replace your furniture with a home renovation, but this can cost upwards of several thousand dollars. And the truth is you might not need a new couch (for example) — maybe you just need a new cover for it. So before you sell that old furniture and get wrapped up in new-furniture-shopping fever, ask yourself if reupholstering would have an equally pleasing result.

This way, you get the best of both worlds. Your furniture will look and feel new and you’ll save a good chunk of change that will help you stay on budget. If you’re up for experimenting, you can even try using a slipcover for that trusty couch or recliner. If you find the right size, a nice pullover cover can look fantastic on your old furniture. And at a fraction of the cost of replacing it.

3. Do It Yourself (but Not the Whole Project)

All of us who watch HGTV dream of doing an entire glorious home renovation on our own. While taking on certain parts of the job yourself can save you money, it’s important to understand that you have limits and some aspects of the renovation need to be left to the professionals. If you’re overly optimistic about your abilities, you will likely end up making mistakes that have to be fixed later. That’s a great way to spend more than necessary — and you can’t afford that if you’re aiming to meet your budget. A few things that you can usually do on your own are: interior painting and minor demolition. Just be sure to talk to an expert before getting started.

4. Look for Discounts on New Items

There will be some things you may have to buy brand new — such as granite countertops and appliances. That’s fine, but before paying full price, see if you can find a discounted item. For example, if you’re committed to doing granite countertops but wary of the cost, you can ask the manufacturer for the least expensive pattern (which will likely still look quite classy), and for even more savings inquire about any stone pieces that may have small imperfections. You can get these at a steep discount, and if you install them thoughtfully the imperfections may not even be visible. Along the same lines, when shopping for appliances, you can ask if there are any “scratched” or “dinged” models available for a discount.

Whether you own your home outright or still have a mortgage, being cost-conscious is imperative for any “reno.” No matter what tactics you end up using to save money on your home renovation, just remember that the process is supposed to be fun and that staying within your budget is more important than striving for perfection. If you can complete your remodel for the original cost you laid out at the beginning, you’ll no doubt be more than satisfied with the result. And most likely, any prospective home buyer will be too!

Image: Gary Houlder

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

  • Dennis

    Repainting is the easiest way to freshen up a room nothing is easier and more affordable than that.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team