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7 Tips for Saving Money On A Renovation Project

Hello January, the month we take a look at our finances and go "Oh my god" as we realise our bank account is declining year on year. It's also the month lots of our yearly bills renew giving us the opportunity to search for better deals and make better savings.

I've spent the last four years renovating our home, and believe me when I say it's expensive. Far more expensive than you can ever imagine, until you actually decide to go ahead and start your own. I've tried many ways to cut costs over the last few years and make our money go further. So today I thought I would share with you some of my top tips for where you can save money on a renovation project.

1. Beg, Steal and Borrow

Perhaps leave the 'steal' part out of this equation - But essentially borrowing is a brilliant way to save money. Tools in particular are expensive; if you don't have the money to buy every tool you need straight off, consider asking around friends and family if you can borrow theirs instead. You'll be surprised how many people have uncles, granddads, neighbour-with-a-beard with shed-loads of tools hidden away in storage boxes not being used. Too often, people are delighted to lend a helping hand. If the tool is particularly expensive and you don't feel confident in using it, ask if they would be prepared to come and assist on the job. We managed to get a colleague from work to bring round his circular saw and cut our kitchen worktops for us in our last house. What a hero :)

2. eBay and Gumtree are your Best Friends

You'd be surprised how many people sell brand-new or almost-brand-new stuff on eBay. Search 'victoria plumb' and you'll find around 5 bathtubs at a time, brand new AND at a fraction of the price! It's always worth checking on eBay. Shops also sell lots of their ex-display models off on eBay so it's a great place to look for taps, sinks and all kind of things. Some of our best and cheapest purchases so far have been from eBay. I know so many people who stick their noses up at the thought of buying secondhand from eBay with that kind of "charity" stigma. If you're not looking on eBay, you're seriously missing a trick.

3. Why fix what ain't broke?

I'm a big supporter of this one. During a renovation process, we often have a tendency to rip out and replace absolutely everything. But actually, lots of things are in good working order and don't need to be ripped out and replaced - You can update most things in the home to look brand new and no-one will ever know. Whether it's a simple coat of paint, replacing cupboard doors or new hardware for the bathroom basin, it'll make a huge difference in appearance and save you heaps of pennies! We kept our entire bathroom suite in our first house but updated all the hardware; taps, plug-holes, toilet seat etc, we even removed the original bath panel and created our own tiled one to make the bath look built-in. Everyone (including our estate agent) thought it was a brand new modern suite. Looks can be deceiving. 

4. Don't Pay Delivery Costs

I hate paying delivery costs for anything. DIY materials in particular offer very pricey delivery costs. Wickes for example have a set "big and bulky" delivery cost for all things deemed "big and bulky" - I suppose they're often used to delivering an entire pallet-worth of mortar to a building site.. However if you were to purchase just one bag of mortar, the delivery cost stays exactly the same.. One bag is HARDLY "big and bulky" - come on! If you have to have a delivery, order as much as possible in one go so you're only paying the costs once. Alternatively, if the product in question can fit into your car, but perhaps is a little too long.. take a saw in the boot of your car and cut it there and then. Yes, you may look a little crazy, but you'll save heaps in the long run. We have been known to do this quite often. From copper pipes to plasterboard or lengths of wood, if you don't need the full length in one piece, cut the damn thing and stick it in the car! You'll save heaps.

5. Don't Hire a Skip

We have never hired a skip. I repeat, never! We shovelled about a ton of gravel into garden bags and transported them in around 20 trips in my car. Obviously if you're the proud owner of an expensive BMW this may not be for you, as the car does tend to get a little dirty at times. But if you don't mind cleaning out the car a little more often than usual (OK a LOT more often) then this is a great way to save money! I'm the owner of a very small crosa and we even managed to transport an entire bath in it to the recycling dump. The council would have charged us £10 to collect that, so it was a saving right there. Skips are the most overpriced things in DIY. At £100 for a small one, you're bagging yourself a massive saving disposing of everything yourself instead.

6. Search Around for Prices

An obvious one, but sometimes we have a tendency to pick our favourite stores and shop there regardless. I used to be a sucker for Homebase just because I could receive nectar points on my shop; but actually lots of their items are well over-priced comparatively to other stores! Screwfix in my opinion tends to offer the best prices on most products, although sometimes Wickes can come up cheaper. Even more cheaper is often eBay, other online-only stores and even local timber merchants and builders yards. It's always worth shopping around, even if just for a few screws.

7. Do the Majority of Work Yourself

I don't want to patronise you with this one, but you can seriously save heaps doing the job yourself. I believe there is almost nothing you can't do DIY-style (well, not quite, but you get my drift). Even if you can't do the whole job yourself, doing part of the job will still save you heaps of money. We needed to have an extractor fan put in last year - as we did everything ourselves except for the electrical part, the price for simply wiring the fan in was seriously reduced. Seriously reduced. Hard work saves money. So, get those hands grubby!

I'd love to know if you have any extra tips to add?!


  1. I love these! Funnily enough I'm busy cost-cutting in all other areas precisely so that we can start spending money again on house projects haha! But we definitely save where we can and totally agree with trying to do some of the work yourself - we're not terribly handy but even when we had one of the floors replaced, pulling up the existing floor, repairing the floorboards underneath and ripping off the skirting boards saved a ton of money. We were even surprised when we got the windows replaced last year that the company which offered the best service and windows which lived up to my very specific standards came out 10,000 cheaper than the company which was offering the worst product! Miracles :) X

    1. It's amazing how much the doing the little jobs yourself can save you money! Definitely makes doing all the rubbish messy jobs yourself worth it. We've been looking at costs for a french door, but we haven't been lucky enough to find a local company offering it less than some of the rubbishy cheaper ones, so you did really good on that!! Good luck with the cost-cutting, I'm always looking for new areas to cut, seems there's just never enough money for these house-y projects, argh! X

  2. I agree with you, Busting the budget is everyone's biggest fear when it comes to renovation. If you follow proper steps you can cut off extra cost and do some work by yourself. Thanks


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