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10 Ways to Save (and make!) Money on a Home Renovation

How to Save and Make Money on A Home Renovation

It's January. The month where we're all paying off those credit cards from Christmas and wishing we hadn't spent so much on food when half of it ended up as waste. Bank accounts are empty and for one reason or another, money is always tight in January.

When renovating you can't exactly commit to "no spend" months, and cutting down on spending, in general, is easier said than done. If you need plasterboard, you need plasterboard. A renovation will cost money and there's no getting around that. You basically need to always be in supply of cash. But, there are still ways you can save and even make money on a home renovation project. So I thought I would share some of the ways you can make your money go further.


This is probably the most obvious trick in the book, but I couldn't not include it, could I? Making a few updates and changes to old items can really bring a new lease of life to them. In a renovation, people often have a tendency to remove and get rid of absolutely everything. From old built-ins to floorboards and even bigger stuff like entire bathrooms. Whilst this stuff may not be to your taste, you can, in fact, reuse and repurpose items from your renovation, turning them into something else. Floorboards, for example, are great for shelving or they could even be turned into a bespoke top for a dining table. You can also transform existing fixtures and fittings too. If you have ugly built-in wardrobes lacking a bit of 'something'; instead of completely ripping them out, consider adding some new mouldings, handles and a lick of paint. You'd be surprised what a few alterations can actually achieve! Check out our DIY painted floor as an example - who knew concrete could look so good?

Upcycling and repurposing can even become a business venture, just take a browse on Etsy and you'll find all kinds of upcycled ingenuities. Buying handmade items is back in fashion and the web is literally full of amazing inspiration for how to reuse and repurpose. Bathtub as a planter, anyone?! Before you chuck stuff away or think it's time to "get rid" I recommend a quick google of alternative ideas and you may well soon change your mind.

Upcycle an old concrete floor


DIY and renovation waste is massive in the UK. As I already mentioned, so many people literally throw away everything whilst renovating. Skirting boards, old kitchens or even bathtubs - it all goes into a skip. And what about those leftover sheets of plasterboard, an extra roll of underlay or pack of tiles? Yep, usually not worth keeping and gets chucked right into a skip. It makes us, as renovators massively wasteful and causing a heck lot of waste head to landfill. But that doesn't have to be the case. Builders Bay is an online marketplace specifically designed for the buying and selling of DIY materials in order to tackle this massive DIY/Renovation waste problem. The idea is that instead of chucking away perfectly decent re-usable DIY waste, it can be listed online and reused instead. That means not only can you sell leftover or unwanted materials and make money(!!) but you can find materials at great prices too.

Builders Bay has a whole catalogue of items which you can search through and organise to see what's nearest to you. All these items, however, are specific for DIY and Renovations. Things like windows (often just made to the wrong size), to ex-display kitchens and bathrooms, unused tiles, secondhand doors, fences, tools and more. It even has a 'salvage' section (my personal fave!) for vintage/reclamation lovers as well. Basically anything and everything you might use within a home renovation project for a lot less than the cost of buying it brand new from a retailer.

But it's not just the 'finishing items' for sale. As I say, you can sell and buy leftover materials like cement, skirting and plasterboard too. You might be thinking "no one wants to buy this kind of stuff" but you'd be really really surprised. People love buying scrap wood to turn into kindling, small sheets of plasterboard, (perfect for a small shed renovation!) and even just odd bags of concrete or paving slabs to build a log shed on-top of. Everything can be reused and even if you think it's waste, someone out there may not. It helps to reduce waste, help the environment and of course you get a bit of extra cash at the same time. If something can be reused, it should be!


Borrowing tools is a brilliant way to save money. Buying (or even hiring!) tools can be so freaking expensive and you'd be surprised how many people, even non-DIYers(!) have random tools stashed away in a shed or garage. If you're in need of a specific tool, just ask friends, colleagues or neighbours if they have one first. After all - if you don't ask, you don't get! We've borrowed wet tile cutters, circular saws and angle grinders saving us heaps on hire and buying costs. And we've also lent a few tools out too :) Sharing is caring, after all.

But borrowing tools now goes further than that. With sites like Rent My Items, you can find normal local folk lending out their tools for considerably less than tool hire companies. It's a great way to hire out tools cheaply and of course, you can lend your own tools out too. Yep, you read that right - you can hire out your own tools and make money! I mean if 'Borrow My Doggy' is an actual thing, then why wouldn't there be one for tools too? In fact, I'm kind of wondering why I didn't think of this business venture myself!!

make money from renting tools


Do you need a full re-plaster job throughout your home? Or how about you're updating the bathroom and the pipes are now in all the wrong locations? Or perhaps you're even looking to re-tile the hall? The cost of a tradesman does not come cheap and you can often pay to learn new skills yourself for less than it costs to employ an already skilled trades-guy. Yes, seriously.

Learning to DIY can really save you so much money, especially if your home needs a lot of work in that particular skill. Of course, you need to be prepared to practise lots and accept that your skills may not quite match up to those of a professional. You may have to add a bit of filler to your plastered wall and it may well take double the time to do. But, for the money you'll save, I personally think it's so worth it. And of course, the more you do it - the better you'll get. And who knows, you could discover your true calling in life and your skills may well be a complete match for that of a skilled tradesperson.

You'll also be surprised how many friends and family will be after your services as well, and even potentially offering up a bit of cash (or even just a good pint of beer!) as a reward for your hard work.  It's a great way to make a bit of money on the side and you could even begin to sell your services as a part-time job. We personally invested in taking a DIY plastering course, which has already been very useful and saved us a massive wad!

how to make money from diy plastering


So maybe the serious DIY stuff isn't for you - that's totally okay and you can still save money in other ways with doing the non-skilled DIY stuff too. What am I talking about? Well, you can still save money by just paying for half a job and doing the other half yourself. Jobs like pulling up carpets, removing skirting boards or taking down ceilings are a good example of this. There's absolutely no skill in this kind of jobs and whilst some of them may not save you a fortune (removing carpets!) others will actually save you quite a lot. Pulling a ceiling down, for example, is quite a time-consuming mucky job and will easily save you a whole day of labour cost.

The same goes for stripping wallpaper, removing plaster, pulling old tiles off the walls and basically doing any kind of demolition work yourself. Obviously, it'll be dirty and horrible work - but no pain, no gain right? You may even find it strangely therapeutic. I mean, Kirsty Allsopp doesn't love the Sledgehammer just for opening up room space, does she?! ;)

save money on trade costs


Some delivery costs are just ridiculous. Wickes will charge you a small fortune for ordering even just a few bags of mortar, or just one single length of plasterboard. Other companies only offer free delivery with orders over 3-digit figures and if you're not careful you can end up spending those 3-figures on just a few deliveries. That's money that could go back into your renovation and pay for some serious stuff. Extortionate delivery costs are usually the main thing that puts me off buying from a certain shop/retailer, but luckily there is still a way around it.

If you can, I highly recommend hiring out a van and going to collect the materials yourself. This only really pays off if you're buying from multiple stores at once and it's not too long distance. But better still - another alternative is to try and squish it into your own car. There's very little we haven't been able to fit into our car during our renovation (and our car is actually tiny) and you'll find most things are sold different sizes. Whilst typically you see plasterboard as giant size pieces of board, they do come in smaller sizes too. And if you don't want to destroy your nice new car, consider purchasing a super cheap 'DIY car'. Ours cost just £350 and we have none of the guilt from ruining the interior. It's saved us an actual fortune in the long run and it's been so so useful - and surprisingly rather reliable too!


Skips are so expensive. Another 3-digit figure you can totally live without. Ditch the skip and move your renovation waste yourself! It's the only way we personally handle our waste and obviously that DIY car is very useful here too! If you commit to doing a bit every night, it'll soon be gone and you could maybe even rope in a few friends to help. Dealing with your own waste not only saves you a heck of money but it also makes you seriously consider what you're chucking away. Could it be resold on Builders Bay? Or even potentially listed to be given away for free?

We've personally used this approach to get rid of hundreds of bricks. No skip required, no trips to the recycling yard - We just listed them as freebies and soon enough people were rolling up to bag themselves a few. One man's rubbish is another man's treasure as they say! Sadly rubble isn't so easy to get rid of, even as a freebie - but you can buy giant buckets to fill up and take to the recycling yard this way. Again, this is something we've always done and is saving us an absolute fortune. When it's so free to do, why wouldn't you?!

Do bear in mind that recycling centres aren't really meant to take trade waste, so if you do have a builder on site, strictly speaking, you do need a skip (and I'm pretty sure he won't want to be working under a foot of rubbish!) but if you can do it this way, then I thoroughly recommend you do!


Community RePaint is a brilliant way to save money and get yourself free paint. Sadly not every county operates one of these schemes and all counties have different rules, but for us, in Nottinghamshire, it works pretty simply. Basically, people dispose of their half-used paint at the recycling centre and instead of the recycling centre disposing of all this paint, its re-distributed back out into the community. Most of it goes to schools, public groups and charities, and then every few months "public paint days" are held, so you can also get your hands on free paint too.

It's ingenious! It's so much better for the environment and it promotes the environmentally friendly idea of reusing and recycling. You might be envisioning tins of dried up manky paint that's potentially separated into four different shades, but you'd be SO surprised at what people chuck away. Even unopened paint ends up there! OK so you might get a few bad eggs but by the majority, most of it is just fine! In the past, we've used fence paint, decking paint and standard white paint from the Community Repaint scheme. And it's all free! An absolutely great way to save money. I've written more about this scheme in detail which you can read here - but I absolutely recommend it to everyone.

free paint through community repaint


Continuing on the freebie wagon - look out for them, they're everywhere! From freebies being offered up on Facebook to signs up outside houses, or even potentially fishing out freebies from local skips (always ask permission first!!). You can find all kinds of amazing stuff all over the place. Last year I saved FOUR Victorian fireplaces from entering a skip, just by total chance of being in the right place at the right time. I was really lucky, but this kind of stuff is sadly chucked away all the time. If you look out for it, you'll find it.

If you don't consider yourself to be lucky enough to simply stumble across a few freebies, then I totally recommend checking out Freecycle to find stuff near you. People who don't want the hassle of selling or disposing of stuff will often give away items for free. Our old neighbour who decided to move and downside gave away a whole load of stuff via our local group. From old dishwashers to tables, books and a whole lot more. Definitely, a place to keep a regular check up on!


I never really understood how these cashback sites worked a few years back, but ever since I've gotten into it, I'm addicted. Renovating a home means we're constantly buying stuff. By the hundreds! Cashback is just incredible. For every penny you spend, you get a certain amount back. It's a brilliant way to save and make money. I personally use Quidco which works with Wickes, Screwfix, B&Q and a few other DIY/Trade places too. But of course, it also works with stuff like supermarkets, high street clothing, interior shops and even electrical places too. The way it works is simple. Instead of heading to google to find the shop you're after - head to Quidco. By clicking on the link through the Quidco website  (as opposed to Google) you'll automatically gain cash back. If you commit to entering websites via the cashback platform religiously, you can really save a heck load of money. I've been using it for about a year and I've already gained £150 worth of money that can be paid straight back into my bank account! If you want to join, by clicking this link you can get an extra £10 once you reach your first £5 cashback (I will also get £10).

If you're a tad forgetful (yes that's me too!), don't worry because you can install an add-on reminder bar to your browser which will notify you every time you're on a website that allows you to gain Cashback. It'll prompt you to head over to Quidco and re-enter the website, allowing you to gain that cash back. The more you buy, the more you save - and we all know renovations are all about spending money somewhere or other!

I'd love to know any tips you have to share? We're constantly learning new ways to save and make money with our renovation and I'd love to hear if you have any other tips for us!

*Collaborative Post


  1. Hey, it looks great! On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters of principle, stand like a rock.
    Most people will never be great in #Style, BUT YOU ARE ;-).

    Let me share something with you! Did you know that you can print favorite photos of your work and hang them on the wall as canvas prints? Bring your ideas into real life, with an option to print even extra large canvas.

  2. Love your ideas here, I'd never heard of builders bay before. I'm a huge fan of upcycling and I'm always looking in skips for treasures that other people throw away. I need to look into cash back sites too! Thank you.

  3. Oh this was a good read! I've also never heard of Builders Bay and I've jumped on it right now! Totally agree that there are so many ways to save money ding things yourself, that way you can spend your money on a pretty lamp (if the wife will ever agree..!)

  4. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. Home Loans


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