7 Ways to Afford Your Next At-Home DIY

Afford Your Next At-Home DIY

Taking on a home improvement project on your own can be a satisfying way to flex your DIY muscles. It’s also obviously a great way to save money on labor. Depending on the project and your skillset, you could save a bundle.

There are also less evident ways you can make your project affordable, no matter your budget. And yes, you need to have a budget. If you jump in without one, you’ll probably find yourself chewed up and spit out before it’s done.

Be clever with what money you spend and how you spend it. Stretching the right dollars will leave you far more pleased with the results. Here are seven ways you can afford your next at-home DIY.

1. Spend Your Money, Not Someone Else’s

Swiping debit card

It’s true that some major home improvement projects will require more than what’s in your bank account. A complete kitchen remodel may add more value to your home than you spend. So in that case, maybe a home equity loan is a safe investment.

For most DIY projects, however, it’s a smart move to save what you’ll need before you get started. Swiping your debit card instead of a credit card will help you avoid adding interest to the project’s overall costs. It will also keep you from overspending on materials.

After the project is wrapped up, sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor and your smart spending. Skip the spoiled fruit, and you won’t find yourself cursing every time you get another credit card bill or payment notice.

2. Shop Smart

Establishing the budget for your project is something of a chicken-or-egg dilemma. Do you let the budget dictate your materials? Or do you let your materials — at least in part — set your budget?

While you’re saving up for the project, research materials so you know what things are going to cost. But when the options are endless, such as with flooring materials, you might want to set a budget limit for that item. It’s a great tactic for helping to narrow the field.

Your budget methodology doesn’t need to take strictly one tack or the other. There are times when both approaches may come into play, so combine them to your advantage. It may keep you from becoming overwhelmed by either money concerns or having to decide among an overabundance of options.

3. Consider the Unconventional

online shopping

Everyone embarking on a home DIY project loves the hunt for décor. The problem is that, too many times, you find something you love that’s way out of your financial league. That’s when it’s time to think outside the unaffordable ready-to-ship box.

Love that $300 West Elm hammered gold pendant light? Buy a $35 aluminum hammered bowl from an online retailer. Add a $30 light kit and $7 can of spray paint from your big box home improvement store, and voilà!

If you lack the skills or creativity to do it completely on your own, there are other people who don’t. A crafty friend or Etsy entrepreneur are viable options. You get the look you want without paying full price.

4. Create a Designer Space Without the Designer

It would be nice if you could hire a pro to design your new space. You may even have one in mind, like your favorite personality from one of those home makeover shows. Hiring them probably isn’t in the budget, but that doesn’t mean you can’t end up with a designer space.

Take screenshots of features and color palettes you like in spaces on shows and websites. Clip photos from lifestyle magazines and take photos on designer home tours (if allowed). Arm yourself with these images when you’re shopping for materials, furniture, décor, and paint.

You know what speaks to you, and your images will help contractors and retailers understand your language. It’s OK to translate the vision of your favorite designers into your space. Re-create it affordably and enjoy the view.

5. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

eco-conscious woman

The mantra of eco-conscious waste management isn’t just one way to save the planet. It’s also a great way to save a little money on your DIY project. The premise is simple: Most old stuff is less expensive than most new stuff.

Look at your own items first to see what you can reimagine in your new space. Then check garage sales and swap shops on social media sites. A little putty and paint, hardware, fabric, sandpaper, a hot glue gun, and a saw can refresh just about anything.

Not needing to buy all new things can make your project significantly more affordable. Plus, you can feel good about being kinder to the environment. Being green and saving green might keep your budget in the black.

6. Put Your Money Where It Matters

Virtually every DIY project involves multiple materials, ranging from fixtures and flooring to tiles and trim. Maybe you can’t afford the top of the line in every category, but you also don’t need to be stuck with the worst. Strike a balance by putting more budget into where it counts and less where it doesn’t.

Maybe you can’t afford your dream flooring, cabinets, quartz countertops, and appliances in this kitchen renovation. So spend more on the backsplash and cabinets, which are more disruptive to replace. Spend less using Formica and keep your existing appliances until you’ve saved enough for an upgrade.

Any DIY project is all about making choices. Decide where it’s more important to spend more and put your resources there for now. Then, look forward to Phase II and having it all.

7. Wait for the Good Things to Come

budget planning

We’ve all been there. You want a new winter coat, so you pay full price when you could have saved a bunch during the offseason markdown. The same principle applies to home renovations. Patience is indeed a virtue and one that can make your DIY project a whole lot more affordable.

It behooves you and your budget to wait for things to go on sale, especially larger-ticket items. Like cars and smartphones, appliances are steeply discounted right before a new model hits the showroom floor. For the sake of your budget, be strategic with your purchasing schedule.

Exercising a little patience could make those state-of-the-art, smart, shiny new appliances budget-compliant. Don’t be in a hurry. Good things do come to those who wait.

Taking on a home DIY project is exciting, no matter how minor or major it is. You’ll get more satisfaction out of one that’s bought and paid for before you reach completion. When the dust settles, you’ll be glad you did.

Article Submitted By Community Writer

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