You know those home improvement shows where the person gets their home totally renovated for free? That’s the dream, right? For the rest of us though, we need a practical alternative. Say you want to add a fire pit to your backyard, update your kitchen cabinets, or install new doors throughout your entire home. All of these are great ideas and can add some serious flair to your home for years to come. Yet, most of us simply cannot afford to do these things without putting together a financial plan to pay for the improvements.
Planning for the expense of a home improvement project is a little different even if you are already budgeting for expenses. So, how can you plan to pay for an improvement sooner instead of later? Time to jump in!
Set the budget. Do your research to get a good estimate on the cost of materials, labor, and future maintenance. If you want to cut some cost and you have the ability and knowledge about how to complete the project, save the cost of labor and do it yourself. Search the internet and talk to people at your local home improvement store to find out more about your project and decide if it is something that you should tackle yourself, or if you need to hire a professional.
Save 10 percent more than your budget number. There are always unexpected additional project expenses. Plan for it and your plan can go off without a hitch.
Skim off the top. Ideally, with every paycheck you can set aside an amount that you are comfortable with that will be used for your project. This requires you to know how much of your paycheck you need for everyday expenses and bills. So if you don’t budget, wait until all of your expenses and bills are paid and then transfer part of what is left over from your paycheck to savings.
Cut or reduce unnecessary expenses for a few months. Whether it’s coffee, classes, or some other non-necessity – stop paying for it for a bit and put the money you saved toward your project budget.
Thrift/scrap/used parts. Look at discount stores for parts you need for your project that may cost less than at other stores. Keep your eyes on local garage sales and and scrap yards for pieces you can use. You may also already have something you could re-purpose to fit the task as well. Think creatively and you can cut some of your cost.
If you are receiving a tax refund, use part or all of it toward your project. This is always helpful.
Ask for it. Is your birthday soon? Mother’s day? Father’s day? You get the point. Ask for part of your project budget as a gift if people ask you what you’d like. Revamping your kitchen? Ask for a bit of back splash. Materials adds up when gifted or donated in smaller quantities and as a bonus friends or family know they are giving you something you’ll both use and enjoy.
We hope these ideas help you make your next project happen! Depending on how much your project will cost and how quickly you can save, we suggest planning on saving for at least 6 months to a year for your project. This may not always be enough time to save, but it should be enough time if you utilize as many of our saving strategies as possible.