With the rising costs of nearly everything, undergoing a major DIY house upgrade is becoming more and more challenging for the average homeowner.
To illustrate the point, the average homeowner of today has to work hundreds of hours more than the homeowners of decades past to pay off their mortgage in full, and this trend holds true for people regardless of where they’re from.
If increasing your income stream to fund housing costs is out of the equation, this calls for strategic, out-of-the-box thinking for homeowners who want to build or renovate their dream homes.
Fortunately, there are plenty of options you can consider to save on costs while building the house of your dreams.
Want to learn what these options are? This guide will give you some tips on how to save, how to spend your money smartly, and how to build your dream house faster and cheaper.
1. Refrain From Impulsive Spending
It’s easy to get sucked into a binge-shopping spree when retailers and online stores are promoting big and time-sensitive discounts.
The allure of these offers may lead us to believe that we’re getting a good bargain from the transaction. However, reality is much less dazzling, as it’s more likely that you’re just throwing away cash for items that won’t see the light of day after a week or two of use.
The key to combating this behaviour is to practise mindful spending, especially if your priority is to buy materials or appliances for a major room renovation.
Before buying an item impulsively, stop and truly evaluate what purpose it serves in your life. Is there long-term value you can extract from this item? Does the value justify its price? Get to the bottom of these questions and answer them as honestly as you can.
If you feel a strong temptation to buy something, a good way to curb your impulsivity is to simply delay the purchase.
Instead of snatching an item off a shelf to buy it, keep tabs on it for the next time you hit the grocery or retail shop. If the item is still interesting or valuable to you in any meaningful way, you can undergo a second round of evaluation and make your decision from there.
This habit isn’t to deprive you of your wants entirely. It’s to help you focus your sights on your long-term goal and avoid straying away and delaying it. With your eyes on the prize, you can realise your dream much more quickly.
2. Utilise Your Credit Card
Did you know that transacting using credit cards can potentially be good for your financial health?
It’s true. If you can get your debt under control, then these credit card providers can be a great way to keep your costs at a minimum. This is because of the many loyalty reward programs that various financial institutions offer.
From cashback offers and points systems to exclusive discounts, there’s a wide variety of perks you can get from exceeding a certain amount of spending on your credit card.
A lot of these rewards are available only when you’ve accumulated many points on your card. However, there are some seasonal and promotional rewards that these institutions sometimes offer through their website or newsletters.
By utilising these loyalty programs, you can potentially save hundreds of dollars in the course of a few years on things that you otherwise would’ve spent good money on.
To learn more about loyalty program offerings, this article from Westpac Australia is a good resource for maximising your credit card.
3. Watch Your Credit Card and Loan Debt
Paying through credit is convenient for covering large, upfront expenses. However, when used recklessly, it can also cause grave financial harm that can be ruinous for a person’s long-term financial well-being.
Loans and credit cards typically come with high interest rates, especially if you don’t pay off the entire balance monthly. If you fail to pay off these debts on time, they can spiral and rapidly inflate, causing you to deal with increasingly expensive total product costs in the long run.
As such, before you swipe your card or sign a loan contract, be sure that you have the ability to pay it off in the future. If your current financial situation is still a tad too unstable to guarantee monthly payments on your part, postpone any major renovations for the time being.
When used properly, debt can be a great tool to finance your upcoming renovations. But don’t rely on it entirely; just as much as it can save you a present headache, it can also be the cause of major problems down the line.
4. Opt For Budget DIY Builds
You don’t have to spend a fortune to get the home of your dreams; there are countless ways you can get creative with cheap DIY projects to give your home a much-needed facelift.
For example, if you have pieces of old furniture that you want to throw out, consider repurposing them instead. You can sew a new fabric to serve as upgraded upholstery or give the base material a fresh coat of paint. This is both an inexpensive and beginner-friendly solution for people who want to get creative with their furniture.
Alternatively, you can also use more affordable wood materials to build fixtures like coffee tables, shelves, and bookcases. It’s much cheaper than buying one from the store and as long as you apply a nice coat of paint on the finished product afterwards, it can look just as nice as a store bought piece.
As mentioned earlier, there are many DIY projects you can consider to upgrade your home. If you’re in need of inspiration, you can browse through online boards like Pinterest or magazine issues to get some fresh ideas.
5. Shop at Cheaper Alternative Stores
Once you’ve solidified your DIY project idea, it’s time to source the materials needed to bring it to life.
Before looking at hardware stores, try to scour around the block for cheaper alternatives first. This primarily includes places like secondhand shops or flea markets.
While it’s not a guarantee for you to find anything noteworthy in these places, most of the items there are cheap and can potentially save you a couple of bucks.
Furthermore, you can even enhance or get new sources of inspiration by browsing through a catalogue of trinkets and things in these stores.
So if you have a free afternoon, go ahead and look for garage sales and the like near your area. By sourcing items from these places, you can get a complete DIY build without having to spend a fortune on it.
6. Budget Your Money Wisely
Budgeting is one of the best things you can do to stay on top of your finances. It’s not merely limiting the amount of money you’re spending on any given period—it’s also about properly allocating your funds to the right monetary categories to maintain and uplift your quality of life.
The most common categories for money budgeting activities include rent or housing expenses, food expenses, family expenses, utilities, leisure expenses, savings, investments, and miscellaneous expenses.
The most recommended budgeting technique for beginners is the 50-30-20 budgeting scheme.
The largest expense category typically consists of your recurring monthly expenses rent, utilities and food. Ideally, this should be no more than 50% of your monthly income. 30% of your spending or less can be allocated to wants. Then the remaining should be allocated to savings.
That said, the percentage can vary from person to person. You may want to save more for a larger purchase, for instance. This may compel you to shrink your monthly “wants” expense in favour of your savings.
Regardless of your personal habits, having a clear budget and sticking to it can lead to smarter spending behaviour, making you one step closer to achieving your home improvement goals.
7. Put Money in Separate Accounts
If it’s hard for you to stay disciplined by yourself, you can make separate bank accounts to store your cash.
By segregating your funds, you can easily allocate money for expenses like emergency expenses, long-term savings, and special projects like home renovations.
And you don’t have to manually deposit and transfer your income into each account either. You can automate transfers of fixed sums or percentages of your income every month to these separate accounts. This way, you’ll feel less likely to spend on impulsive purchases.
This, in turn, helps you reach your financial goals more quickly.
8. Make Use of Discounts
As much as you can, try to exercise restraint and only buy things that are sold at a discount.
This rule doesn’t apply to things that you decide you need on impulse; rather, this rule only applies to things you absolutely know for certain you’re planning on buying.
For instance, if you’ve found a nice table for your house at a store and found out that that store will hold a discount on that item soon, then hold out on that purchase and buy it at another time.
For online stores, subscribe to a store’s newsletter or track the product and wait until there’s a discount available. This way, you can get your desired item at a fraction less than you otherwise would’ve.
For high-ticket items, you can also try to negotiate with sellers for a sweeter deal. This can help keep money in your pocket, making it all the easier for you to gather all the necessary resources to build your dreams.0