How to Avoid Going Over Budget on Your DIY Project
There’s no doubt that doing a DIY project can save you some serious bucks, but all too often, it’s easy to fall into the trap of going over your budget. Unexpected expenses can wreck a budget and last minute ideas or minute costs can whittle away your money in the blink of an eye. Meticulous planning, budgeting and sticking to both your plan and budget can keep your project within the limits you’ve set.
Plan (And Plan Some More)
Before you ever set foot in the hardware store to buy supplies, make a detailed plan for your project from start to finish. Write it out step by step.
Be as detailed as possible with your plans. Imagine you were hiring someone else to do it and have to tell them exactly what and how to do the project. Assume they know little to nothing about the process and you’ll have to walk them through it. That will help you formulate a plan so detailed that you won’t forget any supplies or tools you might need to complete your DIY project.
Expect the Unexpected and Prepare to Pay For It
Try to anticipate any problems you might encounter while completing your project. While you should expect to encounter some unexpected challenges, it’s vital to have a plan to deal with them, both realistically and financially. If they’re not immediate safety hazards, they can probably wait.
Include Extra Supplies
The adage of “measure twice, cut once” is applicable here. Take measurements, then take them again. Triple check your calculations for any supplies you’ll need.
While the goal of planning is to come in at or under budget with as little excess and waste as possible, it’s always better to pad your budget to account for unforeseen circumstances. Tiles break, wood snaps and warps, glue dries out and paint goes off. If possible, add up to 25% extra to the cost of supplies to account for these little fiascos as they occur.
Needs, Wants, Priorities
Be firm on what’s needed to complete your project. Prioritize your list of supplies and tools. Be frugal, but don’t skimp on quality. If you can, consider buying items from salvage stores or builders’ warehouses that stock excess inventory from professional contractors.
Recycled, upcycled, repurposed and secondhand materials can help you come in under budget if they’re of good quality and integrity. A deal is not a deal if it creates more work (and more expense) for you later.
Budget Time and Money
When working on a DIY project, you have limited quantities of time and money. These two variables can sometimes be substituted for each other: if you have a lot of time, but little money, you can often achieve great quality by putting in more work.
If you are short on time but have a bigger budget, you can buy high-quality tools and supplies that allow you to complete the job quicker.
To stick to your budget, decide which factor is at a higher premium for you: time or money. If you find yourself running out of money to complete your project, factor in more time to save what money you have for the things you need.
Taking on a DIY project is really a matter of what you can handle and common sense when setting financial limits. The best way to stick to your budget is to be a hard taskmaster when it comes to your accounting and the scope of your remodeling experience.