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Five tips for budgeting your renovation

Five tips for budgeting your renovation

When renovating, keeping the project in budget can be a bigger challenge than managing the project itself. To help with this, we thought we’d share five of our favourite budget friendly tips so your next project is a dream.


Start with your needs, then add the wants

When you start a renovation project, it can get bigger than big in a flash. Why? Because suddenly the needs become wants and as you explore and learn about new things, they move from wants to needs. This means that you have to be level headed when you plan your renovation and know exactly what the must-dos are before you start considering the extras. For example, if you are renovating the kitchen because you’re tired of it looking old your priorities would be the cabinetry, bench tops and flooring. Then, the ‘wants’ that you may encounter along the way could be new lighting, tapware and some smart storage options. Budget for the mandatory items first and see which extras you can fit in the budget afterwards.

Research and plan thoroughly

Research, research and research some more. Get quotes from a range of contractors and use testimonials and reputation alongside the cost to make your purchasing decisions. Start by searching online for ideas, products, inspiration and contractors but make sure you also go in store and physically view the items. Touch them, get samples and set them up around the home. Researching is vital to choosing the right products and contractors. While you’re doing this, create a full renovation plan so you know what expenses you have to plan for and can factor in their costs here.  


Be prepared for incidentals – budget for an extra 20-25%

There are a number of things that can go wrong during a renovation and murphy’s law tells us that if we don’t prepare for them, then they will go wrong. Set up an incidentals fund and set aside about 20% of the total renovation costs. If the plumbing or electrics go haywire, a storm rolls through and there’s some unexpected water damage or if something simply costs more than planned, you have no stress and can make provisions for it easily.


Do the prep work and the easy jobs with a mates working bee

Prepping a renovation site can be done by a group of friends across a weekend – put on beers and pizza for the helpers and you’ll save some serious money! Think about things like removing tiles, any non-structural demolition work, stripping paint, laying drop sheets or shifting furniture. By getting these things done before contractors arrive you save time and you save the costly fee of having them do it for you.


Know where to invest and where to save

While renovating, don’t cut corners but do be savvy with the cash. If there’s a viable DIY option then give it a go yourself. But if it’s structural or highly technical, leave it up to a professional. Remember the rule of thumb; if it’s more than $3,300 of work – leave it to a professional (seriously, it’s a council requirement). To learn more about where to spend and where to save, click here and read our article with interior stylist and star renovator Kate Walker.


What is your next renovation project? Have any other lessons for our community? Leave them in the comments below! 

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