It's way too easy to look up only halfway through a home improvement project and realize you’ve already blown the budget. From powder room makeovers to total kitchen renovations, the world of house projects can be overwhelming and expensive. Before you dive into your project head-first, learn how to keep your budget on the rails by reading through our top tips.

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Tip #1: Prioritize Your Projects

Before you break out the hammer or rip wallpaper off walls, take time to create a wish list of all the projects and details you’d love to upgrade at some point during your stint as homeowner. Once you have your list in hand, go through each item and ask yourself where it lands on a scale of “want” to “need”. 

Consider which project would have the biggest impact for the lowest cost, and which would require little effort on your end for the best result. Ask yourself: What would improve a potential home buyer’s first impression? Do I use this area every single day? Would this project be easier to take on in another season of the year? Assessing your list objectively allows you to appropriately prioritize tasks, which can make all the difference in your budget.

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Tip #2: Shop the Sales

There’s nothing like a good ol’ fashioned bargain hunt if you’re trying to keep your spending in check. If you’re shopping in person, don’t be shy in asking salespeople when upcoming promotions start. They’re usually more than happy to tell you exact dates so that you can mark your calendar. 

For online deals, most retailers host sales around holiday weekends, and in transitional weeks between seasons. Our tip: Make a simple spreadsheet with links to the items you like, then sign up for that brand’s emails. You’ll be the first to know when sales start, and you can easily check in on the item you’ve had your eye on. Bonus tip: Create a “sale start” notification on your phone for those items that are more popular and will sell out quickly.

Tip #3: Cut Costs (But Not Corners)

If saving money is at the forefront of your mind, you must ruthlessly eliminate the “extras” that tend to pile up during home improvements. This may be something minor, like choosing a less expensive material; it may be a bigger decision, like whether or not you need to hire a professional for part of the project. 

Saving money doesn’t have to mean skimping on quality, though. Budget-savvy shopping just requires a little more creativity. From perusing a designer’s clearance section with an open mind to seeing the potential in an upcycled piece, it’s all about deciding where you’re not willing to compromise and then having an open mind about everything else. You’d be surprised at the high quality pieces that show up at consignment stores! It’s also smart to keep an eye on your Facebook Marketplace. Hyper-local giving is gaining popularity, and can be a wonderful way to save money and save something from the landfill at the same time. 

Generally speaking, our design advice is to invest in the things that you use, touch, or sit on daily. For everything else, find a creative solution or hold off purchasing for the time being.

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