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Budgeting for Home Improvements: 5 Things to Prioritize

Home Improvements: 5 Things to Prioritize

Looking to do a few improvements around the house? No matter whether they’re large or small, home improvements take a fair amount of planning. That’s why making an all-inclusive budget out ahead of time is so important. Having a proper budget in place will make sure you don’t spend more money than you intend to, and it gives you a chance to mentally lay out your materials and everything else you need in one place. In addition, planning everything out ahead of time will save you from having to worry about being well into your project and realizing you’re a few cards short of a deck, so to speak.

1. Write It Out

When you have an idea of what you want to do, start writing out your supply list. Try to be as in-depth as possible, and if there’s something you aren’t sure you’ll really need yet, still include it. (This will help you stick to your budget later.) For example, instead of listing categories of things like “hardware,” make a list of the types of hardware you require. This takes time, and it can be a bit of a headache, but trust me; it’s something that will help you immensely in the long run. Check out this free home improvement template for more help crafting your own DIY improvement plan.

2. Make One Big Trip

No one likes having to make six or seven trips to the hardware store because they forgot to buy the right size screw. When you are setting up your project, take your list and make one big trip to the hardware store–if you plan it right, you’ll be happy to realize that you only need to make one trip. Not only does making one trip save you time, it saves you money as well. It also saves you the headache of having to wait in lines again … and again.

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3. Cut Costs Wisely

While it’s only natural to try to cut costs to save a few dollars, there are places where you can—and should–cut costs, and there are also places where you shouldn’t. For example, structural elements need to be in good condition and should also be bought new. However, when you start looking at decorative elements, like molding and upholstery, consider looking for second-hand or recycled sources, as this does your project no harm, and can even add a certain vintage charm to a room.

4. Know What You’re Getting Into

Before you start your project, get a general idea of how much it will cost. A new roof, for example, typically costs in the neighborhood of $18,000 to $20,000. Before you make such a big investment, it’s important to take a good look at your finances. Take a look at’s Financial Management advice for more helpful resources on how to prioritize your budget.

5. Get a Contractor You Trust

Whether you intend to hand the whole job over to a contractor or you need a contractor for some of the more difficult bits, do not proceed until you have found a contractor that you can trust. A good contractor will help you create the budget that you need, so take your time; look for reviews of contractors in your area and ask around for recommendations.

This article was co-authored by Maria Rivera, who has spent the last 13 years helping people overcome their financial hardships. She currently manages CreditGuard of America’s credit counselors and helps prepare individuals who are seeking their credit counseling certification. A resident of Boca Raton, Florida, Maria is always on the lookout for great new recipes and beauty tips. She’s also a self-admitted pop culture junkie. You can follow the latest from Maria over on Google+.

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