9 tips to help you control your budget | Real Homes

9 tips to help you control your budget

Low costs don’t have to mean low quality. Consider these tips to help control your budget

1. Do it yourself

Leave plumbing, gas, electrics and plastering to the experts, but look at where you can cut costs by doing work yourself. Painting, wallpapering, removing tiles or flooring and preparing surfaces can all be undertaken as DIY jobs.

2. Be your own project manager

You can save on professional fees by acting as your own project manager. You’ll be responsible for the daily running of the project, hiring tradespeople, controlling the budget and scheduling work.

If you take this route, the smooth running of the project will be down to you, and depending on its size, include health and safety, insurance, and co-ordinating local authority inspections.

3. Reinstate original features

If you’re lucky enough to have them, restoring original features can prove cost-effective while adding value and period charm to your property. Reinstating ornate plasterwork, floorboards, doors and floor tiles may take elbow grease, but save you money on replacements, while also resulting in the most appropriate solution for your home.

4. Bulk buy

Sourcing several items from one company, such as sanitary ware and tiles, may help you to negotiate a discount.

5. Find end-of-range items

For bathrooms, kitchens and furniture, look at end-of-range, ex-display or returned items, which can have large reductions. Often these are sold as seen and non-returnable, so take care to check the condition.

6. Keep it simple

Choosing standard-sized fittings and materials that most tradespeople are familiar with will keep a project running smoothly, helping your budget go further by avoiding any surprise costs for complicated fittings and finishes. Avoid making unnecessary changes — be selective and work with your existing structure where you can.

7. Look for price cuts and offers

When shopping online, check for any upcoming retailer discounts or promotional events. Most DIY chains, for example, host regular discount events throughout the year. Timing purchases this way could make your budget stretch a lot further.

8. Buy secondhand and reclaimed

Not everything ‘vintage’ is a bargain, but save money by combining with more contemporary pieces. If the now popular reclaimation yards come up short, try auction houses, fleamarkets, secondhand shops and websites such as Ebay and Gumtree as great alternative resources for reclaimed furniture and materials.

9. Mix, match and customise

Achieve the look you want within budget by mixing off-the-shelf items with more expensive pieces. This can be particularly successful in bathroom and kitchen renovations, where the look of more standard sanitary ware can be elevated by your choice of handles and accessories.