How to budget for your home improvement

Three people sitting at the table and having a discussion
You have dreamt of doing a home improvement project for years, and now it’s finally time. But hold your horses. Do you have a budget? Budgeting is tough and sticking to that budget is even more challenging. Creating a realistic budget is the first thing you should do before embarking on a home improvement project. You'll thank yourself later. 

Create a budget that works for you

One of the most exciting things you can do as a homeowner is to embark on a home improvement journey. The best tip we can give you is to plan, plan, plan! The more time you spend planning, the less likely it is that you will get stuck with unexpected costs. That's why having a budget and sticking to it is vital.

When it comes to budgeting, remember all home improvement projects are different. Don't get caught up in finding the perfect template: create one that works for you!

Prioritising: need-to-have vs nice-to-have

Have a list of things you need to have and a list of things that are nice to have. It's easy to get carried away with solutions that might not fit into your budget plans. Be realistic about the things that seem too far-fetched or are just nice to have. Think function first. Does it work? If yes, then concentrate on costs. This will help you stick to your budget.

Key takeaways
  • It's easy to get carried away with solutions that might not fit into your budget. Be realistic about the things that seem too far-fetched or are just nice to have. Think function first. 
  • Get at least three comparable quotes for contractors. Be clear on your needs and expectations and ask how they will tackle any unforeseen incidents.
  • Keep track of actual costs to stop your budget from tipping over. Do weekly check-ins; be persistent and consistent.

Estimate all costs

Find all the potential expenses, big or small. Consider everything from labour costs to pricing on doorknobs and paint brushes. Do some digging online or reach out to people you know who have undertaken home improvement themselves. Include delivery expenses on materials and appliances, as well as prices on paint, tiles, and handles. Remember to include shipping prices on everything. The cost of living can be turned upside down during your improvement, so you need to think ahead. If you're renovating your kitchen, will you be able to cook, or will you be reliant on takeaways for a while?
"Plan, plan, plan! The more time you spend planning, the less likely it is that you will get stuck with unexpected costs. That's why having a budget and sticking to it is vital."

Keep track of actual costs 

Keep track of your actual costs and make sure you're sticking to your initial budget. If something unforeseen comes up, it might cost a bit more than what you initially budgeted for. Remember to keep track of actual costs to keep your budget from tipping over. Do weekly check-ins; be persistent and consistent.

Request bids and choose a contractor 

You should request quotes for multiple contractors and compare costs. Get at least three comparable quotes. Again, do some research online, and find skilled local contractors with good reviews. Be very clear on what you want - and make sure they understand precisely what you expect and ask how they will tackle any unforeseen incidents. Show them your budget and talk everything over - even the most minor details- and how you want the project to be prioritised. 

If one contractor heavily underbids, don’t fall for it. A cheap offer can, at first glance, seem attractive but it may open the door for costly errors. 

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