Trust the Home Remodel Savings Bible

Slicing money off your home renovation project’s budget can feel like trying to squeeze water from a stone, like trying to jump straight to the Major Leagues from your co-ed rec league softball team and trying to compel a screaming two-year-old to stop shouting “No” in a crowded supermarket line.

Good luck and keep dreaming.

With today’s ever-increasing home renovation costs making even the smallest project more expensive than it was just three years ago, saving money on your upcoming job can feel like Mission: Impossible. And, alas, you’re not Tom Cruise. And you’re most certainly not Warren Buffett or Oprah Winfrey.

“Busting the budget is everyone’s biggest fear when it comes to renovation. And with good reason,” This Old House’s James Glave writes. “Even if you follow the essential advice we’ve been dolling out for years – build a 20 percent cushion to cover the nasty surprises, get contractor references and check them, banish the words “while you’re at it” from you vocabulary – it’s hard not to end up shelling out more than you want to, even if you want to pen a check for a million bucks.”

A recent Houzz survey found that Americans today are spending more money on renovations, tackling multiple projects at the same time, and, sadly, increasingly bankrolling projects on their credit card.

OK, before you get blackout crazy and cross your dream island off your kitchen remodel must list, take heart. There are sound, proven and easy ways to save on your remodel budget without giving up the essential elements of your remodel.

Have no budget-cutting fear, the savings secret to your next home remodel project are right here.

If Not Needed, Don’t Do A Complete Remodel

With today’s complete kitchen remodel running $60,000 on average, don’t completely gut your kitchen and start from scratch unless absolutely necessary. The simplest and easiest way to fashion rehab your kitchen is to refurbish existing fixtures and purchasing materials like granite, flooring or lighting yourself.

“Staining the current cabinetry, replacing old drawer handles and knobs, and refacing moldings can save you thousands of dollars,”’s Daniel Bortz said.

As Angie’s List stresses, refinishing existing cabinets can save you up to 50 percent compared to the cost of buying new cabinetry.

“Take a good hard look at what you have and what you could keep with a little refurbishing,” Houzz’s Amanda Harding stresses.

Go Midgrade

Going with premium options and materials will give you a name brand kitchen or bathroom, but will it necessary make your remodel better than if you went with midrange materials? Oftentimes, the only noticeable difference is thousands of dollars spent in a remodel budget. Don’t write off the discount aisle before giving it a serious look.

For example, if you’re re-carpeting, skip wool (which can run from $9 to $11 per square foot) for $1 to $2 options like basic olefin and polyester.

Be Your Own Prep Man/Woman

You can cut hours off your contractor’s day and week, but doing the light prep work – like discarding old tile or carpeting yourself.

Go DIY The Smart Way

If you’re remodeling on a small scale (painting a bathroom or bedroom), you and your best pal Sal are the perfect guys for the job. However, for your sanity, your budget and your project’s quality, go with a pro. Sure, it costs more, but it’s worth it.

“Let’s face it: the last thing you want to do is cheap out and need to pay a second contractor to redo the work,” Bortz writes.

Shop Around For The Best And Best-Priced Contractor

As we focused on last month at Corridor Kitchens, going with the first or cheapest contractor you find on Google is not an option for any successful remodel project. As the oldest saying in remodeling goes, “time is money.” Taking the time to find the contractor for your project can save you serious money.

Finding the perfect middle ground for your remodel will help you find the perfect budget, previously unknown savings and a remodel that makes both design and financial sense for you and your family.

“Committing to an entirely high-end renovation means you’ll have to spend a whole lot of cash,” Harding said. “Meanwhile, always opting for the cheapest of everything might make you wonder why you bothered undertaking a renovation in the first place.

“The best thing is to find a middle ground.”

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