You may have big dreams for your renovation project but with a bit of DIY and some shopping around, you can save money on your reno. Here are our top seven tips.

Give me the main points

  • Figure out what you should and shouldn’t do yourself.
  • Paying professionals for the bigger jobs can save you heaps in the long run.
  • Some DIY knowledge is a great way to save money.
  • Manage your expectations and review the scope of your project before you go too far.

1. PAY PROFESSIONALS FOR THE IMPORTANT JOBS

You may think you’re saving money by doing some jobs yourself, but failed DIY efforts can cost you dearly. When it comes to DIY, it's important to know your limitations.

Get the professionals involved in all electrical, plumbing and structural work unless you're qualified in the trades yourself. Always get at least three quotes, but remember: cheaper doesn’t always mean better. Get recommendations from previous clients and make sure the money you spend is worth it.

2. SET UP A WORKING BEE FOR THE EASY JOBS

Good news - there are plenty of renovation jobs you and your family and friends can do yourselves. Get a working bee going for the small price of a few drinks and a BBQ.

Here are some things that many people are easily capable of doing if they try:

  • Painting (though never skimp on the prep)
  • Fencing
  • Landscaping
  • Stripping and polishing floorboards
  • Assembling a flat-pack kitchen
  • Simple tiling jobs.

3. GET SOME DIY LESSONS

Basic DIY usually requires a bit of practical knowledge and some tools. You can get both from any good hardware store. Check out if your local DIY stores have any upcoming workshops.

And the web's also groaning with DIY resources, ideas, forums and how-to-guides. Search for specific DIY tasks and genius instructional clips online.

If you’ve got friends with trades, start talking to them now and pick their brains. See if you can bribe them to give you some basic tips or lessons with tools. Hire or borrow tools if you don’t have your own.

4. SHOP AT AUCTIONS AND ONLINE FOR BARGAINS

You’ll be surprised at how much you can save on labour, supplies and materials by shopping around.

Polish your negotiation skills, ask for trade prices and seek bargains through ‘scratch and dent’ or ‘discontinued’ sales. While shopping around takes a bit of time, it will certainly pay off for you.

For building supplies, check online for used materials.

5. LOOK INTO RENOVATIONS THAT CAN BRING LONG-TERM SAVINGS

When the budget's tight, we tend to overlook longer-term savings of energy-efficient technology or materials. If you can, include some basic energy-saving ideas in your renovation like:

  • LED lights
  • Rainwater tanks
  • Good quality insulation
  • Solar panels.

6. PREPARE TO BE CREATIVE WITH YOUR FITTINGS

You can make a big impact with affordable updates like new paint and 'mood' lighting. Things like resurfacing or repainting bathroom tiles, baths and basins can dramatically improve the 'look' of your home - at surprisingly little expense.

It helps to visit colour consultants at your local paint shop (some paint retailers may charge a fee to make an appointment), or chat to the showroom staff in kitchen or bathroom stores. These experts can give you some ideas about how to spruce up your home on a shoestring.

7. LEARN TO COMPROMISE ON OPTIONAL EXTRAS

It’s a hard pill to swallow, but sometimes you need to adjust your expectations to fit your budget.

So write one list of must-haves and another of nice-to-haves and concentrate on those things you absolutely can’t do without.

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