How To Save Money On Home Renovation Costs (& What To Do If You Go Over Budget)

How To Save Money On Home Renovation Costs (& What To Do If You Go Over Budget)

Written by Fairstone
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated June 17, 2021

For this post, we’ve teamed up with our partners at Fairstone

Home renovation costs are one of the largest expenses to undertake, with many homeowners running over their original budget – however, with a bit of advance planning, you can save money and complete your home improvements on track with your original budget.

Our partners at Fairstone shared 7 tips to reduce your costs when completing home renovations:

1. Oversee The Renovation Project Yourself

If you have good management skills and basic knowledge of the work being done, you can save 10-20% of the overall project cost by managing the project yourself. By finding and hiring local trades workers like electricians, plumbers, roofers etc., and ensuring they have the materials, tools and information they need to complete the job – you’ll be cutting out the cost of the contractor’s time, plus their mark-up on labour and materials.

2. Keep Your Budget On Track

Whether you choose to work with a contractor or manage the project yourself, it’s important to keep changes to a minimum to avoid extra costs. You should have a detailed plan and timeline that includes all expected costs – plus, an additional 10% allocated for unforeseen expenses.

3. Do Some Work Yourself

DIY projects are the best way for homeowners to save money when completing home improvements. Simple transformations like painting or replacing doors, fixtures and backsplashes can create a fresh look, and don’t require a lot of time or expertise. If you’re not comfortable with DIY projects, you can add sweat equity by tackling demolitions or by doing some of the finish work and clean up yourself.

4. Be Smart About Hiring Contractors

When selecting a contractor or trades workers to help with your renovations, it’s best to get at least three quotes to accurately compare costs. Research local companies with good reviews or use personal recommendations from friends and family to ensure you find professional help. Ask for a detailed bid for your project – a detailed bid means the estimate is more likely to come in on budget, reducing potential unexpected costs.

5. Save On Your Biggest Expenses

Not everything needs to be brand new – search for items in good used condition at second-hand or liquidation stores, garage sales or online buy and sell groups. You can reap big savings with recycled or lightly used fixtures and building materials. Also, take advantage of sales and look for discounted items like appliances with small, unnoticeable imperfections that could help you save money.

6. Sell What You’re Not Using

Old kitchen cabinets, appliances, doors, hardware and lots of other materials might be of interest to someone else looking for a bargain in their home renovation budget. Try selling your old items on buy and sell websites or buy and sell social media groups. Or, you can donate old materials like door hinges and kitchen cabinets to local organizations or charities. You’ll save on landfill disposal fees, collect a charitable tax credit for the donation, and help a good cause.

7. Take Advantage Of Government Grants

To reduce renovation costs even further, do some research to find out if you’re eligible to claim tax credits or rebates for energy-saving renovations. If you’re replacing old windows and doors, upgrading to a new heating and cooling system or improving the insulation of your home, there are incentives available that can help you save money and lower your energy costs.

What To Do If You Blow Your Budget:

If you do go over your original budget, don’t panic. Here are a few simple tips to get your spending back under control:

  • Prioritize your renovation: Some aspects of your renovation are necessary, and others you can live without. If you end up with unexpected home renovation expense, consider opting for more affordable finishes or holding off on buying new furniture (if you were planning to).
  • Ask about a payment plan: Ask your contractor or trades workers if they’ll agree to a payment plan so you can pay back your invoice in affordable installments.
  • Apply for a personal loan: If you can’t agree on a payment plan with your contractor, a personal loan can cover the cost of an unexpectedly high invoice or bill and spread out the expense over time through affordable payments.

By using these tips to reduce the cost of your home renovation, you’ll maintain control of your expenses and complete your projects without exceeding your budget.

Looking to borrow funds for your home renovation? You could get a personal loan from Fairstone up to $50,000. Whether you’re planning a major renovation or a small project, Fairstone will work with you to determine your best borrowing option. As a homeowner, you can use home equity to your advantage with a secured personal loan. You’ll get access to more money, a lower interest rate and lower loan payments – so you can keep your home renovation costs on track. 

Go to Fairstone.ca and get a loan quote to find out how much money you could qualify for and what your payments might be. No obligation and no impact to your credit score.


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Fairstone Financial is a leading alternative lender in Canada, they have been helping Canadians since 1923. Their mission is to provide Canadians, with fair to good credit, with an affordable alternative to payday loans.

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