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How to stick to a budget on a home renovation

Worried about the cost of your next home renovation project? Here are my top tips on how to create and stick to a budget on a home renovation.

One of the most stressful elements of planning a home renovation is the cost, and the fact that renovations can get super expensive quickly.

We are big advocates of doing very detailed planning before diving into a renovation. And, a major part of that planning is creating a budget.

But – what if things don’t go according to plan?

It’s important to have a detailed, realistic budget and to have contingency plans for how you will handle overages.

This way, if you need to cut costs halfway through a renovation, you aren’t panicking. You are just pivoting to a pre-decided plan B!

Let’s take a look in more detail at our top tips for creating and sticking to a renovation budget.

how to stick to a budget on a home renovation

How to stick to a budget on a home renovation

Creating a budget is one of the most essential steps in planning a home renovation project. Here’s how to make, follow, and adjust a project budget.

How do I come up with a home renovation budget?

The best way to come up with a home renovation budget is to price out a very itemized list of materials, labor, and tools you will need to get. By being detailed, you will have the most accurate possible budget.

Here is the process I use:

  1. Make a list of all of the steps to or elements of your renovation project.
  2. Break down each task and list out who you will hire or what supplies and materials you will need.
  3. Take the time to research each item and give it a price based on the actual market.
  4. Track these prices in a spreadsheet. Add links or details to the store. If an item is on sale, note the full price. Be sure to add on any shipping, taxes, or other fees.
  5. Get quotes from multiple contractors – ideally at least 3. Make sure that the quotes cover the same scope of work so you are comparing apples to apples.
  6. Once you have your numbers set, allocate an extra 10-15% in case of overages.
planning a renovation

How do you keep costs down when renovating?

There are a few great ways to cut costs when renovating!

  • Shop materials at a discount – such as memorial day or black friday sales.
  • Get multiple quotes – but don’t always choose the lowest quote. Take all factors including timeline and quality of work into consideration.
  • Reuse materials or elements from your existing space as much as possible. It’s free and budget friendly!
  • Consider re-selling items from the room that you can no longer use to generate a little revenue.
  • Determine what you can do yourself and what you need to hire out.
  • Try to rent or borrow expensive tools you won’t use again.
Crafted Renovator Workshop Mockups (Instagram Post) (10)

What do you do if you go over budget on a home renovation?

It is super important to track your budget as you go on your project so that you will immediately know when you are going over budget. That way, you can react quickly and get it under control.

There are a few options for what to do if you go over budget on a renovation.

Increase the budget

The easiest thing to do is increase your budget. Easy as in – easy on the renovation, not easy if you don’t have the extra cash! If you don’t have the ability to put more money into it, move on to the next option.

Extend the timeline

If you can’t afford to do the whole project now, look for elements that you can delay into a Phase 2 down the road when you have had more time to save money.

It’s not ideal, but it is a great way to still get the full renovation that you want, even if things start going over in cost.

tile picking

Determine wants vs needs

If you have to start cutting elements of the project, my biggest tip is to divide the list of remaining tasks into wants and needs.

Needs are necessary for the function of the space. Wants are nice to haves.

When you need to cut costs, you cannot cut needs. But, you can cut wants and still have a functional space in the end.

While entire elements might be a “want” – such as upgrading to a larger TV- higher end materials could also be a want. Consider slightly downgrading on things like tile or light fixtures if you need to save a bit of money.

By following these steps, you are ready to create a budget, follow it, and adjust it as needed throughout your renovation.

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