Tackling home improvement jobs yourself, rather than getting the professionals in, can be a way to save a bit of cash.
But nearly four in 10 (39%) homeowners admit to underestimating the true cost of DIY jobs, with nearly a quarter (23%) ending up more than 50% over budget.
If you’ve blown the budget attempting a DIY task, or you’re worried about doing so, Sally Conway, head of consumer communications at Shawbrook Bank, which carried out the research, has some tips for getting back on track…
1. Create a DIY ‘shopping list’ like one you’d use for groceries
“You can use your list to even include precise measurements, and that way you don’t need to waste money on any excess materials,” says Conway. “Having a practical overview of all costings for the home improvement will help you see which parts of the project are eating into your budget, and if you want to, you can adjust spending accordingly – whether that’s choosing a more cost-effective material or reconsidering your funding options.”
2. Consider how you can scale back
Sometimes, making smaller, more affordable, switches can still be effective. “For example, if you’re re-doing your bathroom and you want to use tiles, you might consider only tiling the areas that needs to be waterproof, and using a contrasting paint on the remainder of the wall,” suggests Conway.
“Or, if you’re concentrating on the kitchen and you’re happy with the layout, you can keep the units and make changes to the colours, as well as other features like the splashback, sinks and taps.”
Hiring equipment to deep-clean sofas and carpets may also be more cost-effective than buying replacements.
'Have you ever undertaken a budget DIY? What are your tips for getting started?'— Money Saving Expert (@MoneySavingExp) August 8, 2021
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3. Can you earn a loyalty discount?
Conway suggests: “Do some research to see if your local suppliers have a loyalty card, which could offer a discounted rate or additional points per sale.”
4. Can you slow your plans down?
“If the budget is looking really tight, you can always look at shifting your project to a longer-term goal, making small changes over time,” Conway adds. “Home improvements don’t have to be all go, all of the time. It can be a slow evolution to fit in with current trends and, of course, your own budget.”
5. Finally, don’t be afraid to get help
If you end up needing to call in the professionals, you’re far from alone. Shawbrook Bank found a quarter (25%) of budding DIY-ers have used tradespeople to fix mistakes they made themselves. Conway notes: “It might be worth factoring in budget for hiring someone if your project is out of your depth.”
To make sure it’s worth the added expense, she suggests reading plenty of reviews when considering which tradesperson to hire.