1. Do the demo yourself
Demolishing a kitchen or bathroom may be a lot of work, but doing it yourself can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars on the cost of your remodel. Plus, you get to swing a sledgehammer and destroy things (it does sound a little fun, doesn’t it?). Just remember to turn off the electricity to the room, along with the water and gas.
2. Plan with stock sizes in mind
Custom cabinetry can be extremely pricey. Instead, look for standard sizes when planning and purchasing cabinets. These days, stock cabinets come in so many different styles it can actually be difficult to tell them apart from custom! Not only are stock cabinets much less expensive than custom, but they are the easiest and least costly to install, as well. Another perk of stock cabinets? If your toddler rams their toy truck into one of the doors and causes any damage, you can simply purchase a replacement piece, saving you even more in the future.
3. Keep things where they are, if you can
One of the largest expenses when remodeling occurs when you move plumbing or electrical items. It may seem simple to change the location of a sink or toilet, but in reality this can be a very labor-intensive and expensive change. If you can leave the sink, toilet, and appliances where they are, you’ll save a bundle.
4. Consider energy efficiency
Not only will you end up with smaller electricity bills if you choose energy efficient appliances, but you may be able to get a tax credit! The government offers energy tax credits on items such as air conditioning units, water heaters, windows, doors, and insulation. For 2013, you can get a credit of 10 percent of the cost up to $500 (or specific amounts) for select items. If you’re considering solar power or geothermal heat pumps you may be eligible for a credit of up to 30 percent of the cost with no limit.
5. Do smaller tasks on your own
Even if you’re not skilled at home improvements, you can still do some of the smaller jobs yourself! Why pay someone to paint a wall or install a light fixture when you can do it? When I did a few renovations on my home, I asked family and friends to come over one weekend and help with the small jobs. In return, I ordered dinner for everyone and let them know that I would return the favor if they ever needed it. Instead of paying over $1000 for a painter, I spent $100 on dinner!
6. Reuse what you can
Before you replace anything, look everything over to see if it can be reused. If you’re purchasing new cabinets, can you reuse the current knobs? Maybe you want to replace your light fixture because it’s brass, but would you be happy with it if you spray painted it? Every item that can be reused adds up to big savings!
7. Shop online
It may sound crazy, but check out sites such as eBay and Craigslist for fixtures and other building materials. When I was working on my bathroom, I had my heart set on a rubbed-bronze lighting set from one of the big home improvement stores that was priced at close to $200. After doing some searching online, I found a set that looked extremely similar for $30! These days, it’s not uncommon for supply companies and contractors to put their unsold merchandise up on these sites, and you can find some amazing deals!