How to Stay Within Budget When Renovating Your Home

Renovating is a laborious task. However simple it may seem at first glance – it’s not. It’s a time and money-consuming process. And, if you’re not careful, it can eat up the product of your hard labor and leave you with a result below your expectations. Here is some simple, practical advice to stay within budget when renovating a home.

Here at GreatBuildz, a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura & San Diego with reliable general contractors, we get inquiries every day from renovators trying to stay within budget for their projects – here are some key points you need to know.

Maintain your order

When renovating, one of the most expensive mistakes you can make is being disorganized. Store all your receipts and creativity sources, like images and samples, in one location for easy access. This will make it easier for you to stick to the decisions you made in the beginning rather than “winging it.” Create a spreadsheet that compares the predicted expenses to the actual prices of your project. Ensure that the spreadsheet is kept up to date to determine whether you will go over your allotted budget.

A Spreadsheet

It’s essential to have all the planned expenses on paper in order to organize the project correctly.

Be eco-friendly while you’re renovating

Reuse and recycle everything you can. Even if you have an emergency fund, it’s possible that you won’t have the financial resources to complete everything on your to-do list. Go through your spreadsheet and choose the things that aren’t truly necessary for you to have at the moment. For instance, if you are remodeling your bathroom and want that luxury freestanding tub but don’t have the budget to replace it, you may want to consider changing to something else.

Instead of purchasing brand-new cabinets, you could give your existing cabinetry a fresh coat of paint to bring it up to date. This way, you’ll have enough money to buy the thing you’ve had your eye on all along and most importantly, stay within budget.

Invest in measures that will reduce energy waste

If you find that you will go over your budget, you may want to reconsider some of your decisions about the appliances and equipment. When you file your taxes, you may be eligible for federal tax credits if you have specific energy-efficient equipment, such as a solar water heater, that you purchased. This may help you stay within budget and save money in the long term. If you choose appliances and equipment that are energy-efficient for your remodeling, not only will you save money on your monthly energy bills, but you will also save money in the months to come.

Find affordable storage

In the process of remodeling, you can expect various types of mess. So, to reduce that mess as much as possible and protect your belongings, you may consider renting storage. Don’t worry. Not every storage company requires a fortune for its services. When renting storage, affordable options are available if you put a little effort into finding them.

Storage Facility

Not every storage facility is expensive – you can find good affordable options.

Turn to DIY to stay within budget when renovating home

It’s nice to have professional help, but you can do some of the tasks on your own. Think about what you can do without professional help. This strategy can help you stay within budget. Some of the things you can do are, for example:

  • project managing
  • painting
  • ordering necessary materials

DIY project management

If you want to keep your project within a small budget, you should function as your own project manager. As long as it’s a fairly straightforward project and you’re confident you know the full process, you can save up to 20-30% by managing the project yourself. This may include hiring multiple subcontractors, scheduling and phasing out your project, and managing the process from start to finish. We wouldn’t recommend the DIY management route if the project is one that you’re unfamiliar with or is relatively more complex/complicated.


If you have the time, skills, and resources, you may be able to save up to $300 or more by doing the painting yourself. Not only will it help you stay within budget when renovating a home, but painting can also be one of the most fun parts of every renovation project. So, you can use it as a great bonding experience with your family. It’s nice to exclude the expense of painting from your renovation budget if you plan to do any essential painting yourself.

DIY painting

DIY painting can be a fun and cost-efficient part of any renovation project.

Do your own ordering

Don’t pay someone else to make a few phone calls or clicks on the Internet. Conduct it yourself when it comes to ordering the fixtures and finishes. Your contractor will most likely charge you an hourly fee to do your shopping, and they may even add a markup to the price. Make sure your ideas are crystal clear, so the contractor knows you will take on the duty yourself.

IMPORTANT! If you order materials yourself, make certain that you’ve discussed all the specifics and requirements with your contractor. They will be able to tell you exactly how many square feet of flooring you’ll need, the size required for your various fixtures, etc. DO NOT make the mistake of ordering materials before discussing everything with your contractor first.

Find a place to stay

Paying for a hotel room while having work done on your house may be rather pricey. If feasible, consider spending time with close friends or family members who live in the area. If you want to remain in your own house while renovating, you should consider the benefits and drawbacks of doing so. Will you have access to the necessities, such as a restroom that is in working order? Will your dog get anxious as a result of the noise? Also, keep in mind that specific projects, such as the removal of lead paint, can render it unsafe for you to remain in the house while it is being renovated.

A puppy

If you have a little puppy at home, they can be scared of all the noise that renovation brings.

Keep in mind – it doesn’t have to be perfect

One of the things that people going through renovation projects need to remember is that the project doesn’t have to be perfect. In most cases, it really isn’t. Especially if you have a budget to respect, you’ll have to compromise on many things. That will take its toll on an idea of perfection. But that’s okay. Compromises sometimes bring an unexpected result that you may be even happier with!

Bottom line

Renovations are expensive. But, it’s not impossible to stay within budget when renovating a home. It only takes a little effort and imagination. With those two, you can do everything you can put your mind to. It’s important not to stress about it. Take a calm approach, and don’t doubt your abilities. You’ve got this!

When it comes to finding the best home improvement contractor for your project – GreatBuildz is simplifying the contractor search in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura & San Diego. GreatBuildz is a free service that connects homeowners with reliable, thoroughly screened home improvement services and provides project support from start to finish.

Call now (818.317.3567) to chat with a real person about your next renovation project or visit our website for more information:

Hi, we're Paul and Jon - Co-Founders of GreatBuildz. We believe everyone deserves to find a great contractor, have a stress-free renovation, and enjoy their beautiful new space. There are so many contractors out there and it's often hard to tell the good from the bad... until it's too late. We started our company to help simplify your contractor search and help you have a stress-free renovation experience. We're always available to help, no matter where you are in the process. Click here to learn more about our story.

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