Remodeling your home is dream most of us wait years for, even decades! Whether you are in just dreaming right now, making plans or even in the midst of the project, I have some money-saving tips so you don’t spend a fortune on your home remodel.
Remodeling your home is such an exciting time yet if budgets aren’t put into place and priorities set, it can quickly snowball into financial issues. The joy is gone, and the adventure has turned into a big burden.
My first piece of advice is to choose your priorities. Before emotions are high and energy is low decide what you will invest in the most. What is the number one item want to get the top of the line on? Kitchen cabinets? Flooring? New furniture? Appliances?
Decide now, what you are willing to go over budget for if needed. After you call for estimates and spend hours on homedepot.com the actual cost will usually be higher.
On the flip side, decide on what you don’t care about. Do you need new appliances or are you okay with finding used ones on Craigslist? Do you really want subway tile along with your entire kitchen, or will a vinyl wallpaper look-a-like do? Make a list of the rooms or materials that are on the bottom of the totem pole.
Here are several ways I saved $1000’s on my remodel. Some of these may seem easy, and others more challenging. I promise will a little youtube, you can learn how to do ANYTHING.
#11- DIY Electrical
Electrical work is not brain surgery, and you shouldn’t have to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars to fix a few things. Rewiring a few outlets, or moving a switch here or there, is something the average homeowner can easily handle. We moved 3 outlets in our bathroom, converted all the switches to a newer style throughout the entire home, and rearranged almost every outlet in our kitchen. Wires are color coded to tell you exactly what they do, and so it is pretty hard to mess this one up. Youtube was our teacher, we researched exactly what needed to be done, such as “How to move your fridge outlet” and watched several movies to see different ways the job could be done.
This all cost us about $100, the estimate for each outlet move from a professional is about $75, as well as labor for the new switches. This project was going to cost us $600. We finished all the electrical in one day.
#10- DIY Plumbing
This one scares lots of people, but yes you can do your own plumbing. If you are removing your flooring already this is a simple project. Floorboards are cut out and removed so you can get to the plumbing. Dry fit everything first, before you glue pipes together, and yes research online BEFORE you start your job. Everything is figure-outable, including plumbing. Visit Youtube, again, it is amazing the in-depth movies it has teaching you exactly how to move your toilet, shower or sink drains. We never got quotes for plumbing, so I don’t know how much we saved, but our entire project of moving our shower, toilet and sink in our bathroom, cost about $50 in supplies and took about 6 hours of work.
#9- Save on Appliances and Furniture
If you are in the market for furniture or appliances, buy them around the big holidays- Black Friday, Presidents Day, or Memorial Day weekend. We purchased a new appliance bundle on Black Friday, saving over $400. On Presidents Day weekend (make sure to go after the weekend, when they really want to make up for any low sales) we negotiated a great deal on our furniture, saving about $500. The store we purchased it from would store it for 90 days for us, so we could get the deal but not have to worry about where to put the furniture. Win win!
Also, once you find the furniture piece you want, search by name for it on google shopping. I found a white entry bench on wayfair, and then searched online. The exact same bench, was also sold at Home depot, and Walmart. The price was $150 lower in one of these companies. Before you add to cart- do a quick search.
Don’t forget used wood furniture. This bathroom cabinet was 40 years old, and a stained mustard yellow, and a deal at $20. I shellacked it, and repainted it a deep blue. And I am in love.
#8- RTA Cabinets
RTA (Ready To Assemble) cabinets are the new deal for homeowners. We literally saved over $8,000 purchasing RTA cabinets and installing them ourselves, rather than having someone bring built cabinets and install them for us.
We also got to have every cabinet custom made for our exact measurements, getting the most efficient use of space in our kitchen. For more details on this, read my detailed tutorial here.
#7- Repurpose Old Cabinets
If you are getting new cabinets, save money in other rooms by reusing your cabinets. We repainted a few kitchen cabinets and put them in our laundry room. This saved us $450, which new stock cabinets would have cost. The rest of our cabinets went into our garage, giving us upgraded storage there. If you don’t want your old cabinets, consider selling them on Craigslist and make some money to go towards your remodel.
#6- Underlayment Shiplap
When you go to your local hardware store for shiplap panels, they will offer you 6 precut 6-inch 8 foot boards for $62. That is about $10 per board. My wall here used about 100 boards, which would cost me easily $1000. I choose to purchase a 8ft x 4 ft underlayment board at $15 each. Then I cut up this board into 6-inch strips, getting the exact same product as their $62 package. The underlayment board was $2.50 each, saving me $750. All I had to do was use a table saw to cut my board myself.
#5- DIY laying tile
Our remodel plans included a lot of tile. We had tile in both bathrooms, not only on the floor but also the walls, and the kitchen had a tile backsplash. We knew we could save a lot of labor fees if we layed the tile ourselves. The average cost for laying tile (meaning not the cost of the tile or supplies, but just laying it and setting it) in my area this labor costs $8 per square foot. My husband and I placed a total of 340 square feet of tile in the kitchen and two bathrooms. This saved us a total of $2720.
According to good old Google, it costs about $2500-$5000 to have someone demolish your house down to the studs, depending on size and location.
Invite your friends over, buy some pizza and have a field day. You can read about how we demolished our upstairs and what we learned during this process there. With helpful friends, we got our project demolished by 3pm that same day. Renting a dumpster was $250, which meant we saved about $2000.
#3- Fireplace Mantel
We remodeled our fireplace using cedar wood planks and distressing them myself. After I was quoted $7 per plank, I went to home depot and used cedar fence posts which were $1 each To learn detailed steps about this tutorial you can read my article here.
You can also saved money on the fireplace mantel. I used poplar wood and stained it walnut-colored, instead of purchasing walnut wood (which was about $80 more). The mantel slab was purchased from a lumber house, instead of a box store, or a custom distressed lumber yard. This entire project was quoted to be about $1500, I saved $1350 paying only $150 for the stain and lumber required. For more details, check out the link above.
#2- DIY Painting
We wanted to repaint our walls, ceiling, and trim. Big box stores rent sprayers, but for the hours we would use it, it would actually save us money to buy a sprayer. Afterward, we could sell it or keep it for future projects. We bought a Graco Magnum Airless paint sprayer for about $250 (again hit the big holiday sales). This sprayer worked like a charm. It never clogged and came out very even and controlled.
The estimate to have someone paint it for me was $3000, saving me $2750.
This project did take a lot of time taping edges and covering surfaces, but the actual painting went very quickly, our ceiling throughout the entire house was done in about one hour each coat. The walls, with drying time, were done with 3 coats in one day.
#1-DIY Install Flooring
Flooring has become more beautiful durable and easier to install than ever before. We purchased Aquaguard laminate flooring. This is a very durable flooring. The company we purchased it from offered free installation classes every Saturday morning, and of course youtube was our go-to educator for great tips from the professionals. This project did take us about 4 days, so take your time and make sure each board is in place correctly. They lay on top of each other so if you mess up one, and realize it 4 boards later, they all need to come up. Installation is about $5-$8 per square ft. Using the lowest estimate We saved an estimate of $8000. Yes please, I will take those savings!
Doing the labor yourself really is the #1 way to save money in a remodel. If there is a project you don’t feel comfortable doing, hire a professional, saving money where you can. The total estimated savings for my home remodel was at least $25,920.
Learning how to do a new skill not only saves you money but gives you useful tools for the future. If you have any additional money-saving tips comment below to share them!