In our tough economical times, people everywhere are tightening belts: driving less, eating at home more, clipping coupons, and cutting corners. One of the corners people most often cut first is home improvement. Spreading the wealth and hiring others to do projects is a luxury few can afford today, and many people are either putting projects off or doing the work themselves to save money. Here are even more ways to save on do-it-yourself (DIY) home improvement projects when cutting corners.
1. Get Help
To prevent feeling overwhelmed when tackling a project, call on friends. Call on friends of friends. Call on friends of friends twice removed! Friends, neighbors and co-workers may have valuable skills and experience to share, or they may be able to strongly recommend other trustworthy, skilled people who may be willing to help or even barter. Word-of-mouth is a powerful method of marketing and endorsement. Bartering with others, with either goods or services, is a great savings system.
2. How-to Clinics
If no other help is available, take advantage of free, in-store instructional “clinics” and classes offered by many home improvement and building supply stores. How-to clinics can range from pouring a foundation to roofing to installing lighting fixtures to laying ceramic tile. These tutorials are a great way to learn from the pros, and the classes are often supplemented with discount coupons for building materials and tools relating to the classes.
3. Online Research
The Internet can be a valuable source of DIY information if no local classes or clinics are offered. For example, eHow, YouTube, HGTV, The Learning Channel, and This Old House are just a few of the websites that offer several kinds of instructional articles and videos explaining how to tackle certain DIY projects, the materials needed, budget options, and approximate cost for each. The local public library can also be a fine source of how-to project books and videos.
Instead of replacing certain elements of a house, consider repair, repaint or refinish of what can be saved. For example, the life of kitchen cabinets can be greatly extended with just elbow grease and minimal finish materials. Sanding and repainting, or re-staining and re-sealing, cabinet fronts and frames and perhaps even adding new hardware can substantially refresh the entire room at a mere fraction of what new cabinet installation would cost.
Along the same lines, paint is one of the least expensive DIY projects that can achieve maximum transformational impact. One cautionary note, however—don’t cut corners on either exterior or interior paint. A higher-quality paint will last longer than a less expensive, inferior product. By giving more service life per year, this is one instance where it makes sense to pay more up front for overall, long-term savings.
6. Make use of what you already have
Before buying materials and tools for a project, take stock of what is already at home, consider borrowing or renting tools instead of buying new, and search for discounts and sales. Pay attention to circulars in the newspaper, advertisement mailers, and online coupons. Many in-store savings can be realized with surplus sales and factory overruns, discontinued or end-of-stock products, slightly irregular batches, and mislabeled or incorrectly mixed products.
7. Re-purpose building materials
Re-purposed and recycled building materials can often save a bundle for DIY projects while respecting the environment and reducing consumption of virgin resources at the same time. Many non-profit organizations and some churches operate building material and architectural salvage resale stores, such as Habitat for Humanity and Green Demolition. Supporting these organizations that accept and resell slightly used building material also contributes to the good cause of humanitarian service and assistance programs.
Visit the scratch-and-dent and floor model sections of stores. Many appliance dealerships, cabinetry manufacturers, and home improvement and department stores will give deep discounts on some of these items. Most flaws are imperceptible, and most often, the full warranty and service repair contracts are still offered.
The most important tip is to be creative! Finding new ways to use old materials by recycling and reusing as much as possible makes sound environmental sense and smart financial sense.
Ryan Hensley of Instant Checkmate Realty covers topics from home improvement to commercial real estate property management. Learn more about Instant Checkmate via their website.