How to Make a Budget for Home Improvement Projects

As a homeowner, it’s important that you set aside funds for ongoing maintenance and repairs for your home, both inside and out. Setting up an annual budget is useful, but you’ll also want to create an accurate budget for each project that you take on.

Below are four tips to help you make an accurate budget to take your next home improvement project from the starting point all the way through to completion.

1. Get Estimates and Set Your Spending Limits

Many homeowners make the mistake of diving into a home improvement project or home remodel without having a firm budget in mind. This might be acceptable if you have plenty of money in the bank.

But if your home repair budget is limited, then it’s very important to know up front how much you can afford to spend on any specific project.

Most contractors will be happy to come out and give you a free estimate for your remodeling project.

Even if you plan on doing all the work yourself, you should still get a few itemized estimates to give you an idea of how much this will cost you in materials.

money for home improvements

For smaller repair projects — the kind you can do in an hour or two — you can just price out the materials yourself at your local hardware store and go from there.

2. Decide What Is and Is Not Essential

One of the most overlooked factors in setting a home repair budget is prioritization. Many homeowners begin with a list of features that they want the new project to include, but as they move along in their remodel, they find that they are going over budget.

So they begin to cut back to reduce expenses. But in the process, they often cut out features that they really wanted while less important features have already been paid for and built in.

A better approach would be to decide on your priorities up front and begin adding those features in first. That way if the project begins to go over budget, you can cut out the unnecessary features without any issues, since you saved them for last anyway.

3. Check for Deals Online and In-Store

Ask any experienced homeowner how to save money on home improvement projects, and they’ll tell you to be patient and shop around for deals. A good starting place is to go online and see what deals you can find there.

If you’re hiring contractors, don’t just look them up in the phone directory. Also check their Yelp page to see if they offer any discounts on services and materials.

painting wall

If you are hiring the work out through your local hardware megastore, check to see if they have financing deals.

If you pay for the installation with their store credit card, you can often get zero interest for 12 months or more.

That can save you hundreds of dollars on a large remodel that you were planning on paying off with your regular credit card.

If this is a DIY project, be sure to check the newspaper, company smartphone app and store circulars at the entrance for coupons and special pricing too.

4. Plan for Unexpected Costs and Contingencies

Lastly, as touched on above, home improvement projects sometimes go over budget as unexpected costs creep in. So you’ll need to expect the unexpected and add an extra 10 to 20 percent to your budget, just in case.

Effective home improvement budgeting doesn’t have to be complicated, whether you’re doing a small appliance repair project or a major remodeling of your bathroom or kitchen.

The keys are to thoroughly understand the scope of the project from the start so that you can start with a realistic budget, prioritize the features you want, shop around for the best deals and budget ahead for additional costs that might creep in unexpectedly.

Follow these four budgeting tips and your next home improvement project will likely be a huge success.