Tips for tackling DIY jobs on a budget

Whether you’re repairing something minor around the house or undertaking a major renovation, do-it-yourself projects can be a great way to save some money.

A major renovation can be expensive and time-consuming, but there are some simple things you can do yourself to create a high-end look for a fraction of the cost.

We’ve got some cost-saving ideas to help make your home improvement plans a reality.

1. Outline your budget
Having a robust plan and budget in place will make the process much smoother, and hopefully less stressful.

It might even be good to come up with two budgets. One for the must-haves in your project and another that includes the things that would be nice to have but aren’t essential. That way, you can see where you can spend and where to save.

Some jobs can be unpredictable, so be sure to factor in extra time and money if things don’t quite go to plan.

2. If you’re borrowing, weigh up the costs
With larger-scale projects look at the different financing options and compare the costs. A loan could allow you to pay off the cost in chunks, rather than all in one go.

Read: Cheap and easy DIY projects

3. Pay professionals for the important jobs
Knowing your limits is essential when it comes to DIY. Failed home improvement projects can cost you dearly if you’re not completely sure what you’re doing.

Get professionals in for electrical, plumbing and structural work unless you’re qualified in the trades yourself. Always get at least three quotes, but remember: cheaper doesn’t always mean better. Seek recommendations from previous clients and make sure the money you spend is worth it.

Read: What to consider before a bathroom renovation

4. Get some DIY lessons
Basic DIY usually requires a bit of practical knowledge and some tools. You can usually get both from any good hardware store. Check out if your local DIY stores have any upcoming workshops.

Bunnings offers online community workshops that cover a wide range of topics, including painting techniques, regrouting bathroom floor tiles, fitting door handles and making a water feature.

The internet is flush with DIY tips, ideas and how-to guides. A simple search of YouTube for a specific DIY task will bring up many videos that you can follow.

If you’ve got friends with trades, start talking to them now and pick their brains.

5. Don’t underestimate affordable updates
You can make a big impact with cheaper updates such as repainting or changing lighting fixtures. Don’t rip things out for a full renovation if it’s not necessary. For example, resurfacing or repainting tiles, baths and basins can dramatically improve the look of your bathroom – at surprisingly little expense.

Chat to the colour consultants at your local paint shop to get the lowdown on which colours will spruce up your rooms.

6. Look at the little things
Replacing the handles on cupboards can give your kitchen a dramatically different look and is easier than changing the cabinets. And switching out a plain tap for a dressy one can make the bathroom look more elegant.

Once you’ve repainted and finished the DIY, you can transform a room with a strategically placed mirror, a new lamp or fresh blinds.

Read: Easy ways to improve the lighting in your home

7. Hire tools
Tools can be expensive but hiring could make it much cheaper to see a DIY job through properly.

8. Let your insurer know of any plans affecting your policy
Some home projects could leave homeowners unprotected if they fail to update their insurer.

Anything structural or that could affect the value of your home needs to be passed on to providers. Likewise, jobs that could damage valuables or leave your home more vulnerable also need to be shared.

Thankfully, some more minor mishaps, such as spilling paint on a carpet or sofa, may be covered under accidental damage – so if this happens to you, check with your insurer.

Do you have plans to renovate this year? Do you have any more budget DIY tips to share? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Ellie Baxter
Ellie Baxter
Writer and editor with interests in travel, health, wellbeing and food. Has knowledge of marketing psychology, social media management and is a keen observer and commentator on issues facing older Australians.
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