How to Create and Stick to a Home Improvement Budget
Depending on your skill level, a DIY project can range from smaller jobs that can be done in a weekend or even a day to large remodels that take weeks or months. People consider DIY home improvement for all kinds of reasons. Most enjoy rolling up their sleeves and doing the work themselves and many do it to save money. But if you aren’t careful, a DIY project could end up costing more than you anticipate and you may regret not hiring a professional to begin with. The key is to create and stick to a budget.
Creating a budget
Before you can create a budget, you’ll need to do a lot of research regarding the project you’re considering. Make sure you fully understand the scope of the project and all it entails. Do research into the materials that you’ll need for the project and don’t forget to also include the cost of any special tools that you don’t already have into the estimated cost. When creating a budget, estimate high so that you’re more likely to spend less than you anticipated rather than more.
Preparing for contingencies
Ideally, the home improvement project will be completed without any setbacks but you should always plan for something to go wrong. As you begin work, you may uncover some damage or problem you didn’t know about previously or you may find that the project will require tools or materials you hadn’t considered so you should set an additional 15% of your budget aside just to be safe. Best case scenario, there are no setbacks and your project is under budget. Worst case scenario, there are setbacks but you’re prepared to incur the additional costs.
Stretching your budget
There are good ways you can stretch your budget and bad ways. Don’t use inferior tools or materials to save money because your finished project will be of poor quality. However, that doesn’t mean you always have to use premium materials. Granite or marble counter tops in the kitchen or bathroom, for instance, are extremely expensive while quartz is much cheaper and just as durable. You know what you can afford so plan accordingly.
Stick to your plan
The number one reasons that home improvement projects go over budget is homeowners changing their minds. Before work began, you should have had a clear plan in place and you should stick to that plan throughout the course of the project even if new and exciting ideas occur to you afterwards.
Bring in the pros
Finally, you need to recognize your own limitations when it comes to DIY. There are some projects you should never even attempt to do yourself such as electrical, plumbing, and roofing work since these require a license and it may not be legal to do so. But there are some projects that you shouldn’t do even if you’re allowed to if you don’t feel you have the necessary skills or tools. You’re sure to go over budget if you attempt a project beyond your skill level and have to bring in a pro to correct your mistakes and do it right.
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