Budgeting basics: How to get the most out of your project’s budget

Top tips and hints to making your budget stretch and keep track of your project's costs from start to finish

Taking on a big home renovation requires detailed planning and careful money management but we’ve got some surefire ways to help you keep track of the finances and bring your project in on budget.

Kitchen extension

Do your research
Whether it’s a new kitchen or an attic conversion, seek expert advice at the beginning of the project to save money later on. From applying for planning permission to ensuring building work is undertaken safely, consulting an architect or structural engineer is vital to setting a realistic budget for the project before you start.

Have a contingency fund
Put aside 20% of your total budget for unexpected costs that could crop up during the renovation. All projects throw up surprises – don’t let them derail the whole project!

Negotiate (in a nice way)
Once you know what jobs need to be done, seek a few quotes from reputable firms and don’t be afraid to try to negotiate with your contractor to get the most for your money. Tell each company that you’re getting multiple quotes at the outset for their best price or ask them to work to a specific value – if you have a budget of £20k and they quote £25k, ask them for their advice on how to bring the project in for less without compromising quality.

Attic conversion

Spend time, not money
Start planning your project well in advance so that you can source everything you need for the best price. Hired labour is a significant cost so try to have all the bits you need to complete the job on site from the project start date. Factor in delivery costs as it could work out cheaper to order a number things from the same supplier.

Be money wise
Think ahead to stagger the costs over paydays or put aside a sum every month before you begin. Paying for goods on a credit card gives you certain protection against loss, theft or damage that cash or debit cards don’t offer –  but make sure to pay it off in full every month. Keep a record of everything you spend and share it with your partner or anyone who is working on the project with you. Make it easy by setting up shared documents online so you can stay in control of expenditure.

Bathroom renovation

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Be savvy but don’t scrimp
Some jobs you can certainly take on yourself to save money such as painting, decorating and laying floors but any electrical or plumbing issues should always be carried out by a certified professional. Think long term – you don’t have to have everything in place at the end. It might be enough to ensure the basics are right and add furnishings and finishes further down the line.

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