Blame it on Fixer Upper (a licensed and experienced contractor, mind you), but just because they make it look easy on TV, doesn’t mean it’s easy in real life. Cutting corners or trying to DIY projects for home improvement you have no experience in can cost you in the long run. But we all want to save money, especially when talking about the significant cost of home improvement. Here’s where you can responsibly save money in a home improvement project.


Purchasing your own materials. Taking the time to research products and go out of your way to purchase them (after speaking with your contractor about these options) can often save you a significant portion of money. This works for things like paint, appliances, cabinetry, fixtures, bathroom tile or other flooring, but not for things like roofing, siding, and HVAC, which are best purchased by your specialized licensed contractor.


Haggle with your contractor. Be open about your budget and discuss ways to work with your contractor about the areas where you can save money. If your contractor’s timeline is flexible, ask about DIY options within your plan. Your contractor could potentially move to a different project while you complete tasks such as painting. Another way to save is to be responsible for cleaning up the site at the end of every day. And make sure to check your contractor’s website for possible coupons or rebates.


The Most Expensive Contractor is Often the Cheapest. Beware of super low bids and get references. Nothing is more expensive than hiring the wrong contractor, who then abandons your project with your money.


Doing it Wrong is also Expensive. Even if it seems right, a poorly done project will just need redone in a few years, causing you twice the expense, at least. Be smart and talk to a contractor before embarking on home improvement.


Photo by Cody Hughes @clhughes21