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6 Ways to Save Money on Home Improvements

In the last decade, I’ve been fortunate to style and design several different homes. From a rental beach cottage to a ranch style acreage property I’ve remodeled many spaces – and learned a lot along the way! Usually, I’m operating from a pretty tight budget which means I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve. Whether I complete my own DIY update or hire out for a project, I’ve found some simple ways to save money on home improvements. 

black and white bathroom remodel

1. Get Several Bids

It seems obvious but sometimes the most clear cut tips are the easiest to ignore. When looking at any home improvement, spend the time to receive multiple bids. 

Getting multiple bids will not only give you a clearer sense of the entire scope of the project, you can also move forward with confidence. Or, you might look at the bid and think, man, it’s actually worth it to do it myself.

So even if you think you might install DIY shelves or paint that fireplace yourself – getting a bid can give you valuable information to start your project!

How Many Bids Should I Get?

It may be a pain to schedule and make time for multiple experts, but I find that it’s always worth it. I usually get at least three bids. Most of the time there is one outlier and two pretty similar. 

Look for any differences in the bids. Does one include random labor costs? Is another bid anticipating an issue the others might have looked past?

shelf installation home update

2. Use Bids Strategically

Ok, so you’ve made the time to have a professional come look at your project. This is not the time to check out and just see what they say. Oh no, this is the time to really step it up and be strategic. 

Use that time to learn more about the process and materials. This is how I’ve learned a lot of my personal DIY skills.

When a contractor comes to bid out a project I have a whole list of questions in mind.  These are questions I often ask:

  • What does this project entail for you? 
  • Can you write up the estimate with line items for different areas, aspects?
  • Are there other solutions you can think of for this project? 
  • What are some common issues you see with this type of project?
  • Which aspect of the job is the most expensive?
bathroom home improvements

3. Prep the Project Yourself

Building on the last couple of tips, I find it often saves money to do at least part of the labor and prep work on your own. Of course, it’s important to confirm this in advance (which is why line items can be helpful). Plus,  it’s not always cost effective if someone may be able to finish with more efficiency. 

For example, while getting bids for interior paint work, I found that if I removed all of the light switch covers and curtain rods in advance, I’d save hundreds on labor costs.

Similarly, when I had new LVP floors installed, I moved as much furniture as I could to avoid some of the hourly prep time costs.

painted black kitchen cabinets

4. Be Open to Creative Solutions

Whether you want new kitchen cabinets or want to rip off old wallpaper, considering other home improvements options often saves a lot of money. 

For example, in my small kitchen remodel, I really wanted to update the outdated oak cabinets. However, completely replacing them was well beyond my budget. On the other hand, painting the existing ones felt like a temporary band-aid. 

Ultimately, I opted to keep the original solid wood base and have those painted. I then added new drawer and cabinet fronts, in matching paint, for a more modern look. By going middle of the road, I achieved a high impact look for less money than a full cabinet replacement. 

5. Schedule Work Off Season

Speaking of bids, you can save tons of money on home improvements by obtaining bids and completing them in the off season.  Because there is less demand, bids will often come in much less.

Looking to have the house interior painted? Wait until the winter when painters have less work.

woven wood shades

6. Plan Projects Then Wait

We tend to complete projects just when we really want something or have finally gotten around to it. However, I find it can really save a lot of money by planning in advance and then waiting until either materials go on sale or I’ve lined up the best time to hire someone. 

As an example, I know I want woven wood shades in my home (I use the same ones in every space, I love them so much!). This means I do all the measuring and confirming details in advance. Then, when that big seasonal sale drops, I hit purchase. 

Or, I might have materials ready, such as my kitchen backsplash tile so when a friend was able to help on a weekend, I had everything on hand and ready to go! 

home decor freebies

More Home Improvement Info

Hopefully this list gives you some budget friendly options for your next project. I also suggest keeping tabs on average home improvement costs in advance to avoid some sticker shock. If you’re feeling stuck, no worries! Check out my post on 3 Ways to Get Out of a Home Decor Rut or Where to Start a Home Update.

And, if you’re looking for more budget friendly home projects, check out 9 Easy Home Updates Under $200.