Cheap home improvement tips
Cheap home improvement tips – Keeping an eye on your budget is vital when improving your home, particularly when money’s tight. Whether you’re tackling a minor repair or gearing up for a major build, thinking ahead, planning wisely and shopping carefully mean it’s easy to make significant savings without compromising the quality of the work.
1 Do it yourself
Doing or project managing a job yourself always costs less than paying someone else to do it. But you’ll need to put in time and effort to make those savings, and should only attempt tasks you feel competent to do, and always leave gas and electrical work to qualified professionals. You can reduce your outlay by buying flat-packed products which are cheaper than ready-assembled. Manufacturers realise that DIY doesn’t come naturally to everyone, and have introduced products designed for novices and nervous would-be handymen. Examples include easy-to-use fillers and heavyduty self-adhesive hooks, allowing you to hang pictures without the hassle of nails or screws.
2 Learn new skiLLs
Once upon a time, the only place where you could learn DIY skills was a class at your local adult education centre. These days, you can find out how to do everything from fitting wooden flooring to installing a wet room from the comfort of home, via a myriad of apps and online how-to guides and videos. For starters, try The Ultimate Handyman, Wickes and B&Q. If you’d rather be taught alongside others – and have the opportunity to try out new tools and techniques – try enrolling on one of B&Q’s DIY workshops, which are held at 15 of its larger stores across the country. These are free to members of the B&Q Club loyalty scheme, and there are even sessions for children aged 7+ so that they can get involved too.
3 work within your home’s footprint
Look at where wasted space could be put to better use before committing to the more expensive option of adding extra rooms. To expand your kitchen, consider going open-plan by knocking down an internal wall, and think about the viability of, for example, slotting a cloakroom in under the stairs, or turning part of the landing into an office area. Converting existing space is less pricey than extending, so first examine the potential of transforming the loft or garage. Get recommendations when hiring builders and tradesmen and, if possible, choose a small business that isn’t required to be VAT registered (with a turnover of under £81,000) so you won’t have to pay an additional 20%.
4 fake it
It’s frustrating when your heart’s set on a top-end product or finish which you can’t justify or afford. But there are so many good-quality replicas out there that you should be able to source something very similar that doesn’t break the bank. Porcelain or ceramic floor tiles are a popular alternative to natural stone, with very good reason – they cost less and, unlike the real thing, require minimal maintenance. A laminate worktop is far more affordable than granite, and self-adhesive frosted window film is virtually indistinguishable from blow-the-budget sandblasted glass. Paint effects are back in fashion, so get creative to transform tired walls and furniture – try applying uniform blocks of colour to make a striking kitchen splashback.
5 Only buy what yOu need
Work out the exact quantities of materials needed for the job so you don’t overspend. Measure rooms and use online calculators that let you know the required amount of paint, wallpaper or tiles. When refurbishing a kitchen or bedroom, don’t rip out cupboards or wardrobes without examining the carcasses first, as if they’re in good condition, replace the doors rather than the entire units, keeping expenses down. Investing in multi-purpose tools is more cost-effective than buying ones with a single function, or, if you’re unlikely to use a particular piece of kit again, hire it instead. Sell any left over materials on eBay, Gumtree or a specialist website.
6 Grab a discOunt
From cashback sites and loyalty cards to money-off vouchers, there’s no reason why you should ever have to pay full price again. Online shopping is usually cheaper than buying in-store, and you always have the right to return goods for a full refund. Megadiscount sites Amazon and eBay have huge home improvement sections, and some big supermarkets have branched into DIY – for example Asda has introduced George Home paints and wallpapers. Join Topcashback and Quidco for money back every time you make a purchase from a participating retailer, and sign up to Myvouchercodes for daily coupons and codes. B&Q’s Diamond Card gives a discount to over 60s every Wednesday, and buy from your local builder’s merchant to get trade prices.
Originally posted 2015-02-23 09:41:42.