People say it all the time: The way to save on a home improvement project is to do it yourself. This can be a scary prospect for many homeowners, because even when you know how to do a project, there are many ways that things can go wrong. Still, completing a project doesn't have to be that stressful. Rather than worrying about what you can't do, think about what you can: namely, budgeting your money.

6 Simple Solutions For Organizing On A Budget
15 Home Gym Essentials For Any Budget
DIY Essentials: What To Know Before You Paint

Before starting any project, you should know the best ways to use your cash flow, both by investing it in all the right places and saving it in others. Here are just six of the many ways that you can save on home improvement projects, particularly when you're doing them yourself.

TUTORIAL: How To Buy Your First Home

1. Make a realistic budget … and stick to it.
When looking at the work ahead of you, put aside your money right away. Mid-project delays are time-consuming, money-eating and extremely inconvenient. Avoid them by collecting the money you'll need for the project, factoring in the cost of tools, hardware, time and other supplies. To cushion for unexpected expenses, add a contingency of 10%. If you are doing a major home improvement, such as roof or plumbing replacement, then take your highest estimate and double it. But don't spend a penny more than is completely necessary - your conitngency money is only for unexpected problems.

2. Salvage materials from internet sites and local ads.
Materials like wood, brick and extra paint can be found on sites like Craigslist or in the local Pennysaver, and for much cheaper than you would find them in store. You can also check classified ads for discounts on used or surplus building materials. These are easy ways to save on prep costs.

3. Take advantage of warehouse discounts.
Home improvement and big box stores are always having sales, so look for big discounts in paint, lumber, lighting and décor. Smaller boutique retailers like to convince people that their products are of higher quality, but this may not always be the case. Just look at the quality of the product itself, and do a little internet research if you're unsure. If you can get it at a big retailer, you're likely to save.

4. Work with family and friends.
Two hands are better than one, and four hands are definitely better than two. Whenever there's DIY involved, you want all the help and support that you can get. Don't be shy about recruiting the carpenters, plumbers and other handy people in your family. You can always offer your own expertise in return. Another option is to split the project cost with people performing the same tasks. For example, outdoor landscaping, wood chipping or big fence remodels can be pricey, but if your neighbors are interested in doing something similar this season, consider going in together to pay for the supplies. Time and money saved is never a bad thing.

5. Refurbish rather than replace.
A lot of times, making a project out of something old is the cheapest way to go. Rather than trashing your stuff and replacing it, give it a nice makeover; you'll feel much more accomplished, and save some money, too. Consider painting old cabinets, refinishing hardwood floors or adding new hardware to older doors and window. Each move provides a fresh look and saves you a bundle compared to a major overhaul.

6. Know when to hire a professional.
Nothing hurts more than getting most of the way through a project, and your budget, only to realize that something has gone wrong - horribly wrong. Not only have you wasted away your cash supply, but you've also spent countless hours working, only to have to front more cash for a professional to do it. If there is a project that is over your head, whether it involves intricate electrical work or internal plumbing, don't be afraid to reach out to someone who makes a living doing just that. If you're really gung-ho about doing it yourself, then look into free "how-to" classes at home improvement stores. Don't risk making something worse before making it better.

The Bottom Line
A budget can make or break your home repair scenario. And really, the last thing you want to think about when you're making your home a better place to live is the money. To avoid any dramatic setbacks, and to make your dollar do the most for you, follow our six simple tips. When all is said and done, you'll have a great remodel and a fuller wallet to show for it.

Related Articles
  1. Budgeting

    Don't Let Halloween Haunt Your Bank Account

    With Halloween celebrations getting ever-more elaborate, families can end up spending a fortune. Here, 10 tips to help keep costs down.
  2. Budgeting

    Your Worst Financial Mistakes And Why You Made Them

    No one intends to make a financial mistake, but an unexpected disaster or poor planning could leave you in financial distress.
  3. Investing

    How to Use Technology to Save Big on Travel

    How to leverage the online community and technology to create a one of a kind travel experience that's economical.
  4. Savings

    10 Ways To Budget When You’re Broke

    Budgets are some of the best financial tools around – when planned properly and followed faithfully.
  5. Savings

    7 Ways to Trim Fat from Your Spending

    Check out these seven ways to cut the fat from your spending.
  6. Savings

    7 Millionaire Myths

    Here are seven millionaire myths and realities that reveal they don’t quite have it all.
  7. Budgeting

    How To Save Money When Moving

    Moving doesn't have to be as expensive as you think. Here are some great ways to save money on moving costs.
  8. Budgeting

    The Hard Way We Pay For Convenience

    Convenience is a luxury. However, any cost-conscious individual should be aware of these ridiculous ways we pay for convenience and how to avoid them.
  9. Home & Auto

    5 Luxurious Ways to Boost Your Home's Resale Value

    Not all renovations are created equal. Here are five that are most likely to make a property appreciate (and be appreciated by househunters).
  10. Investing

    10 Ways to Effectively Save for the Future

    Savings is as crucial as ever, as we deal with life changes and our needs for the future. Here are some essential steps to get started, now.
  1. How does a bank determine what my discretionary income is when making a loan decision?

    Discretionary income is the money left over from your gross income each month after taking out taxes and paying for necessities. ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How does the trust maker transfer funds into a revocable trust?

    Once a revocable trust is created, a trust maker transfers funds or property into the trust by including them in a list with ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What is the range of deductibles offered with various health insurance plans?

    A wide range of possible deductibles are available with health insurance plans, starting as low as a few hundred dollars ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How do I know how much of my income should be discretionary?

    While there is no hard rule for how much of a person's income should be discretionary, Inc. magazine points out that it would ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What proportion of my income should I put into my demand deposit account?

    Generally speaking, aim to keep between two months and six months worth of your fixed expenses in your demand deposit accounts. ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How do I use the rule of 72 to estimate compounding periods?

    The rule of 72 is best used to estimate compounding periods that are factors of two (2, 4, 12, 200 and so on). This is because ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!