How to Save Money on Home Improvement Costs

Owning and maintaining a home is likely the biggest expense you’ll ever have.

Home improvement tasks as simple as repairing the leaky faucet in the bathroom to save water to as advanced as remodeling the kitchen or expanding the footprint of your house; almost always cost more than we anticipate.

At the very least, home improvement and maintenance takes up a larger chunk of our cash than most of us would like.

Here are some ways to save money on your home improvement and home maintenance costs:

  1. Reconsider the amount of improvement you really need. Sometimes people rip out and replace cabinets in the kitchen or bathroom, when really an inexpensive paint treatment and new cabinet hardware would have updated and improved the appearance.
  2. Be a little more creative. If you can make average-priced materials look as good as their custom designed, expensive counterparts, why not go with the lower cost version? The effect will be the same but your wallet will be heavier!
  3. Always get three or more quotes from different contractors, even if you think you can do it yourself.  You’ll be able to see the range of prices for a home improvement project, and whether or not you will really save by doing it yourself.
  4. Always choose home improvements that add value to your home. The price you pay now should be well worth it over time, as the improvements should increase the overall value of your home.
  5. The cost of hiring someone to do the labor on home improvement projects is typically 50% of your total improvement cost. If possible, do it yourself, or enlist friends and family who have more knowledge of the process to help (and if not as a favor, then for much less than a contractor would charge)
  6. Set your priorities before beginning any home improvement project. You may wish to have granite counter tops, high end cabinets and tile flooring in your kitchen, but if the price is more than you can handle, figure out which you really must have and which you can do without. If the countertops are part of your dream kitchen, maybe you can choose a lower grade flooring as a compromise and save the budget.
  7. Go with the professionals on highly visible work. For example, if you’re putting up new walls, the quality of the craftsmanship of drywalling will be seen even after the wall is primed and painted. If you aren’t sure how to make it come out right, hire a professional.

If you are on a home improvement budget, or have plans of doing extensive repairs or maintenance to your home over several years; you would benefit from using a credit card that features a rewards program that is tied into home improvement.

For example, there are a number of cards that allow you to earn cash back on your home improvement purchases, anywhere from 1 to 10%. If you can get 10% of your home improvement costs back, it’s like using a 10% off coupon!

Debbie Dragon is a writer for, where she writes about credit card offers, responsible credit card use, and how to make card rewards programs more rewarding.

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