How to Renovate Your Home When You’re on a Budget

Home renovations don’t have to be expensive. Indeed, they can be extremely affordable if you think outside of the box. Get creative and be open-minded, and you can make over your entire home in a …

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Home renovations don’t have to be expensive. Indeed, they can be extremely affordable if you think outside of the box. Get creative and be open-minded, and you can make over your entire home in a relatively short period. All it takes is a willingness to ask for help, dig a bit deeper for good deals, and be flexible with how you make your purchases. Before you know it, you’ll have a home that makes you the envy of your neighbors and raises the value of your property.

1. Find Alternative Ways to Purchase

One of the easiest ways to get what you want for your home project is to find alternatives to paying for everything upfront. After all, some of the materials for major renovations can be cost-prohibitive. Replacing windows can cost thousands of dollars, and installing solar panels can cost tens of thousands of dollars, for example. Many homeowners would love to make these upgrades to their homes, but can’t come up with all those totals.

Instead of paying upfront, you can pay over time. Consider leasing solar panels as opposed to purchasing them outright. This will allow you to make affordable payments over 10 or 20 years or longer. Find window companies that offer their own credit services with reasonable interest rates, and you can swap your old windows out sooner than you planned. As a bonus, leasing or financing these upgrades often pays for itself in the money you’ll save in energy costs.

2. Look for Recycled Materials

Another option for getting renovations done on a tight budget is to opt for used, recycled, or refurbished materials. Brand-new lumber, flooring, and other supplies for both interior and exterior projects can be so expensive only the super-rich can afford them. You might find yourself over budget before the project even begins. To make matters worse, those materials may be made of poor quality that wears out in a matter of years and needs to be replaced.

In contrast, you can find top-quality used lumber, metal, iron, and copper supplies that add character and authenticity to your home. Local lumber yards, restaurants going out of business, and even older homes being torn down can offer wonderful opportunities for scavenging. You might even find awesome beams, planks, and scraps for free. Tell business owners what you’re doing, and they’ll likely be excited to see their items go to a good home.

3. Shop End of Season or Clearance

Still hoping for brand names or specific types of materials that are typically way out of your price range? It doesn’t have to be that way. Just like with clothing, buying top-of-the-line brand-name items when they’ve just been released will set your wallet back quite a bit. Name brand, quality, and the excitement of a new line justify these insane price tags. But if you’re willing to wait a bit, or a lot, you can often find great deals that save you hundreds or thousands.

Shop for appliances, flooring, paint, and other name-brand items at the end of the season, when people are less interested in doing home projects. Check with stores in the fall and winter, while everyone else is out doing their Christmas shopping. Also, look for outlet stores that sell name-brand supplies on clearance or aftermarket. When you’re willing to be patient, you can usually find great deals.

4. Borrow or Rent Equipment

Once you’ve got the materials you want, you likely need equipment to get the job done. You’re probably doing your project yourself, which is where you’ll save a ton of money, but that means you need saws, nail guns, drills, power washers, and even trucks! And those items can add up fast. Sure, you’ll have them for your next project, but you may want to spend that money on another area of your project right now.

Fortunately, many hardware stores will allow you to rent the equipment you need by the hour or by the day. Shop around and find the best deals, and you can save hundreds of dollars on your project. Check out U-Haul for truck rentals each time you need to pick up large supplies or do a dump run for all your excavation work. And if you’ve got friends in your area who regularly do projects, ask if they’ve got the equipment to lend you while you’re working on yours.

5. Trade Labor

Speaking of friends, don’t be afraid to ask them for help with your labor. For many large projects, like building decks or balconies, cutting down trees, or renovating kitchens, you can’t do it all by yourself. The appliances are too heavy, the beams are too long, and the equipment can be unwieldy. It’s important to remember that humans once relied on their friends and neighbors to swap labor in times of need.

Ask your friends for help, and let them know that they can ask you for help when the time comes. And if you’re new to an area and just making friends, start by offering help on their projects, so that you’ll feel good about asking for them to reciprocate when the time comes. It’s a great way to save money on labor, which is often the most costly part of a project, but you’ll also build community. And who doesn’t love strong communities?

In the end, you don’t have to be wealthy to get your home projects done and end up with the house of your dreams. There are myriad ways to save money, find great deals, and get top-quality materials for your home. Beyond the dollar sign, shopping and renovating in this way also creates lasting memories of the hard work, time, and energy you put in. And it can even strengthen friendships and tighten bonds in your family. The benefits are endless.

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