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Affordable Home Improvement: More than Just the Hammer
Guest Post: Ella Davidson of Coupons.org wrote this post. Coupons is a couponing site that strives to give consumers the necessary tools to save money.
From ten cents for a nail all the way up to hundreds of thousands of dollars for add-ons to the house. Home improvements come in a wide array of budgets but one fact stands true: your wallet will take a hit from that hammer too. The good news is that you can really cut down on the impact on your wallet, but you need to look at the improvements correctly, plan ahead, and use the right tools for the project at hand. If you do those three things correctly then you can save money beforehand, during, and after the project.
The good news is that if you are reading this then you are already taking steps in the right direction. The cost of labor is a large expense when it comes to home improvement. If you plan on doing the project yourself, then you have already saved yourself tens to thousands of dollars. Now all you have left to purchase is raw materials. But there is one more step first.
You can really cut down on costs if you understand the project and do all the necessary homework before you get to the hammer. Try reading some of the many home improvement magazines that exist, such as Remodeling, Journal of Light Construction, and Builder. If those did not answer all of your questions, you can check here for a list of more magazines. You can use the information garnered from the magazines in tandem with the Internet and free advice from professionals at your local home center to get a grasp of the project.
This pre-planning can help avoid the costs of unnecessary engineers, architects, and builders. Remember, safety first though. Do not avoid these professionals if they are needed for your project. But even if you do end up using their help, your pre-planning will expedite the process, increase understanding with both parties, and save you money by cutting down on the professionals’ time.
Now comes the time to start the project. This means buying the raw materials. Make sure you do your research as you would with any project. Avoid picking products just because they have the lowest price. Sales on superior construction material are rare because items like wood and paint do not go out of fashion next season or even next year. Research your items such as the brand, the models, its durability, and its size to avoid complications later. You can use the Internet for this process since many retailers provide options to compare prices and the aforementioned characteristics.
But if you circumvent this step then you can end up with extra expenses that come from wasted material and wasted time. Too much or too little of a material and you will end up wasting time, energy, and resources. If you pick the wrong type then next year it could ruin, break, or fail.
However, this is also good new for you. A new up and coming industry within construction is reclaimed materials. This is where leftover or unnecessary materials from projects and homes are reclaimed and sold to the consumer at a cheaper price. The kinds of reclaimed materials are varied but can include recycled paint, doors, and cabinets. Second Use is a good example of a Seattle based company that has been working with reclaimed materials since 1994. Make sure you check out reclaimed materials to see if there is anything you can check off your list.
While you are doing all of this planning, try and save money after the fact as well. If you are remodeling your kitchen try using double-pane or triple-pane windows that will save you energy. If you shop at the right time you can get rebates from states, cities, or companies if you go green. This means that if you add a solar panel to your kitchen roof, then you could practically be getting paid to remodel.
If that is too much, then check out the U.S. Department of Energy’s simple checklist that can be found here. It can help you cut energy costs and it ranges from turning off lights to landscape design to insulation and window replacement.
In the end, make sure that you are valuing your own time as well. Avoid becoming a contractor yourself, but you can really save yourself a bundle if you take all of this into consideration. Take these tips, make sure to fully study the improvements, plan ahead, and use the right tools and materials. Then you can give your wallet a break while your hammer does the work.