How to Stay on Budget During Your Reno

Date: Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Deciding to undertake a renovation is an exciting decision. But whether your renovation is small or large-scale, it's important to set yourself up for success when it comes time to actually decide on the budget. With as many as 30% of Canadian homeowners reporting that they've gone over budget on a renovation project, it's very easy to go over budget without intending to.

Creating a realistic budget from the beginning of your renovation will give you a good idea of exactly what you can afford. It will also help you prioritize your needs and wants during the process and keep you on track while the renovation is underway. Taking on more debt due to a renovation whose budget has gone off the rails is the last thing you want to do!

  • Plan everything at the beginning. Yes, it might be a little more work than you'd like, but this step is one of the most important for helping you stick to your budget. You will need to pick out everything you need for your renovation in this stage, from the type of hardwood floors you're installing to the colour of paint for your walls.
  • Look for discounts or sales when possible. If you are purchasing your own materials, why not ask the manufacturer if there is a sale coming up or another way to save money? If your heart is set on granite countertops, ask the manufacturer what their least expensive pattern is – odds are it's going to give you the look you want at a lower price.
  • Combine projects when possible. If you're spacing out your renovation projects, you could actually end up paying more money in the long run. Combining certain types of renovation projects will save you money because it's a more efficient use of time and labour. For instance, if you're installing hardwood floor in your kitchen and plan to extend it to the living room later, you might want to consider doing it all at once.
  • Budget for unexpected expenses and problems. It's recommended that you should allot 20% of your total budget to any surprise problems that might arise during the renovation. Although your renovation might look straightforward from the outside, there could be rotted areas behind walls that you weren't aware of and that will cost you more money to address. Setbacks like these are common and should be accounted for ahead of time.
  • Consider displacement costs. Depending on the scale of your renovation, you might consider staying in a hotel for some of it or perhaps you'll want to order take out more frequently if your kitchen is being remodeled. If you have pets, you might need to put them in a kennel for part of the renovation or figure out how to keep them away from the construction zones in your home.

What was the best budgeting advice you were given during your renovation? Share your experiences with us and let us know what helped you the most!