In the current economic crises, it’s obviously wise to keep spending to a minimum; especially when it relates to arbitrary outgoings like home improvement. However, we shouldn’t have to give up on this altogether, because there are several simple ways of doing it well, yet cheaply.
1. Need a new kitchen? Reuse your old cupboards, but change the doors and door handles. It’s wasteful throwing out good cupboards. Keep your sink. Replace the taps.
2. For home improvements, hire a semi or retired builder. He may work slower, but he’ll do a more careful job for a fraction of the cost. Wait until you can combine jobs and you won’t have to pay separate costs for separate jobs.
3. Wooden/laminate floors are easier to keep clean and cheaper than having carpets. Consider this when you’re choosing your new floor covering.
4. If you can make payments by instalments for material bought, without paying interest, grab this with both hands. You hang on to your money longer, thus earn a higher interest from your bank. Pay at the last possible moment (without costing yourself late fees), so your money stays longer in your account where it belongs.
5. You would be surprised at the amount of tools available for rent at your local tool shop. If you don’t have a visible one in your area ask your hardware or DIY shop, and they should point you in the right direction. If you’re capable of doing the work yourself it’s obviously cheaper than calling in the professionals. However, if you didn’t have to buy (thus maintain) large and medium tools needed to do the job, it would be cheaper still.
6. Source building material yourself so you get the discount for bulk buying and not your builders. Remember that even if they get half-price discounts on materials, the price they’re charging you will remain the same.
7. Buy white paint (cheaper than colour) and mix the colour you want yourself. DIY shops stock vials of paint colour with very detailed descriptions of how much you need for each shade of the colour you desire. All you need is a strong hand to mix it in.
8. Still on paint, matt colours may be cheaper, but they wear fast especially if you have kids or pets. Buy paint you can easily wipe down and clean with little effort. These last for years, thus save you time, energy and money over the years.
Anne Lyken-Garner is a freelance writer who has published extensively on the web and elsewhere. She specialises in lifestyle, relationship, parenting and frugal living. Her book, ‘How To Spend Less’ is now available.
She spent four years of active research uncovering well-kept secrets which will help the average family spend less on food shopping, household bills, entertainment, large purchases and arbitrary outgoings. She’s acid-proofed all the examples given in this book so you don’t have to do any of the hard work.