DIY on a budget: money-saving tips

DIY on a budget: money-saving tips

Last updated: 21/12/2021

From small jobs like putting up a shelf to big projects like an extension, it can be immensely rewarding to do it yourself, rather than pay for professional help. Not to mention a fair bit cheaper.

But once you start spending out on tools and materials, the costs can add up, even if you do a job yourself.

Here are some simple ways to save money on your next DIY project.

Set a budget

Before you get started, plan out exactly what you want to do and decide what materials and tools you’ll need to buy. Use that plan to set yourself a budget. And then, crucially, stick to it!

No corner cutting

If you’re intent on saving as much money as possible, it can be tempting to cut corners and rush through the job. 

But by using cheap materials or tools that aren’t up to the task, you’re likely to make more work for yourself in the long run

Also, doing a quick botch job puts you at greater risk of making mistakes that can be costly to fix - like paint spillages, or even lead to accidents. 

Reuse your DIY leftovers

However well you plan for your project, you’ll often end up with off-cuts of materials.

But there are so many things you can do with the leftovers. Take a look at sites like Pinterest for inspiration. For example, you could use leftover kitchen worktop sections to make chopping boards, use leftover paint to upcycle old furniture or create coasters from leftover tiles. The options are endless.

Alternatively, you could offer any leftover materials to neighbours or friends - you never know, they might just return the favour one day.

Make the most of YouTube

While Pinterest is great for ideas and inspiration, YouTube is fantastic for showing you the ropes.

There are videos for pretty much every DIY task, and it may just make the difference between being able to do a job yourself or enlisting professional help.

And yes, even if you get a little help from a YouTuber, it still counts as bona fide DIY. 

Don't spend too much (if anything) on tools

It can be tempting to splash a lot of cash on some nice new tools. And while there are some tools that every household needs, there are others you may only use once for a specific job. 

In that case, it may be cost-effective to rent tools rather than buy them. Your local DIY store might provide tool hire, or there may be other local community schemes you can turn to. 

If not, it might be worth asking your friends, family or neighbours, if you can borrow their tools. Whether it’s a ladder or hedge trimmer, its likely to be just gathering dust in their shed or garage, so they may not mind at all. You could always offer to help around their home or garden in return.

Use leftover paint

One of the quickest and easiest ways to transform any part of your home is to give it a new paint job. A lick of paint, perhaps an entirely new colour, can really make a difference if a room is looking a little tired. But unfortunately, paint can be quite expensive. 

So why not try and get your hands on some leftover paint? You could try community giveaway sites like Freecycle or Freegle, or even the Community Repaint scheme, which collects reusable, leftover paint for distribution to individuals, families, communities and charities in need.

Shop around for the cheapest prices

Don’t just head to your local DIY superstore without having done your research on prices. 

Sites like Google Shopping can be incredibly helpful in your search for the best deal on DIY products and materials.

Check whether you can get some cash back on your purchase. This simply entails using a website like TopCashback or Quidco to earn back a percentage of what you spend.

Again, it can help to take a community mindset. Could you cut costs by splitting the materials with someone else, or buy a smaller portion from another person who already purchased whatever material you need?

Avoid waste

As well as finding a use for your precious offcuts, there are other ways to avoid waste and save money. 

Before you start, estimate carefully what you need by taking accurate measurements. Then take care when using your materials, whether its cutting, nailing or something else. 

Finally, store materials properly and clean up after yourself. How many paint brushes end up in the bin because they haven’t been cleaned properly after a job?

You can’t do it all

If you’re not confident about a job, then you could save money in the long run by getting the experts in rather than attempting it yourself.

And there are some DIY jobs - including those that involve electrics or gas - that you should leave to the pros. Otherwise, not only do you risk making a mistake, but you could put yourself in danger.

For the most part though, the world is your oyster. So, get stuck in and enjoy the money-savings some well-planned DIY can provide!

Click on the buttons below to read more content about home improvements:

DIY or call in the builders?
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Home extension: how much does it cost?

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