How to Budget for Your DIY Projects

Have you ever been working on a DIY project only to realize you need to make another trip to the store? Maybe you didn’t realize you were running out of screws or you needed just a little bit more of something to get the job done.

Those trips end up costing you money, and you don’t realize how expensive your project is until you look at your bank account. Fortunately, you don’t have to break the bank if you properly budget ahead of time. Keep reading for some easy hacks to keep your project within budget. 

Check Your Numbers 

The first thing you need to figure out is the maximum amount you’re willing to invest in your project. Are you doing a fun $50 day project or a $1500 month long mission?

It will depend on what kind of project you’re doing, but it’s important to at least get a ballpark number so you don’t end up overspending. 

Once you start, you’ll also want to keep every receipt so you can track how much you’re spending. Keep them handy in a box or drawer in case you have to make any returns.

Every time you get back from the store, add each one to a spreadsheet so you can see how much money you have left to work with. If you have a Gmail or a Google account you can use Google Sheets for free. If you need a crash course in how to use it you can read a basic guide or search for plenty of how-to videos on YouTube. 

Make a List of What You Need 

Before you even make any purchases, you should start with a game plan. Make a to-do list with what you need to do first and what items you’ll need to buy to get started.

Even if you’re working on smaller budget-friendly projects, this is a good thing to have so you don’t end up going back to the store for one item. 

Another helpful tip is to ask around your circle of friends and family for any tools they might be willing to lend you. Some tools and machinery can be fairly expensive, and if you only need a tool for one day, you won’t want to shell out a ton of money on new equipment. If none of your 

friends and family have the tools you need, renting is always an option. Home Depot has a long list of rentable tools you could rent out if you only need a tool temporarily.

If you don’t have a Home Depot near you, search Google for local hardware stores and see if they have renting options as well. Depending on what your project is, you may be able to rent out a tool that you can use on a few different projects simultaneously. Might as well hit two birds with one stone! 

Find Ways to Save

The simplest thing you can do is set up a separate savings account with your bank specifically for housing. Depending on your bank, you might be able to set this up online through their website.

Otherwise, your local bank will be able to help you set it up. Take a portion of your paycheck and add it to this account every month, and over time, you will be able to tackle those larger projects you’ve been wanting to start. 

Re-evaluating your current budget can help you focus in on your home projects. There are usually categories in a budget that can be reduced, or completely cut altogether. If you’re subscribed to a few streaming services but only use one regularly, cut the other ones and add that money to your housing budget.

Take a good look at what you’re spending on and decide what to cut back on. You can always temporarily make a change to save up, then change your budget back to the way it was later. 

Alternatively, take a look at your larger bills. If you still have a mortgage and plan on staying in your home for years, refinancing your home can help you save money in the long run.

Refinancing essentially trades in your old mortgage for a new one, usually with a different interest rate. It’s important to understand how refinancing works before making any decisions.

If you do decide to refinance, you might find Money’s list of the 8 best mortgage lenders to be quite helpful.

If you only have a few years left or not much left to pay off, just focus on paying that off as fast as you can. Then you will be free of your mortgage and will have new cash flow that can be used for your DIY projects. 

Make it Happen 

Once you’ve decided how much you’re willing to spend you will have a much clearer vision for your project. Making a list of the items you’ll need will help you stay organized and make the process much more efficient. Don’t be afraid to cut back on other parts of your budget and consider your long-term options to save on your mortgage payments.

Arguably the most important point: make sure you have enough time to put in the work so your DIY paraphernalia doesn’t end up abandoned in the garage! 

If you’re looking for more advice, check out the rest of our articles on household tips and tricks.