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Reader Question: How Do YOU Save on Home Remodeling without Breaking the Bank?

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36 Comments
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bathroom

Check out this email I received from reader Michelle –

We are going to be adding a master bedroom on to our house and remodeling our bathroom. What are ways we can save money on this big project, but still have it look awesome when it’s done?

With that being said, please share your tips with us below!

Mary is a senior copywriter with 9+ years in frugal tips & deals. She has a Bachelors in Human Resources Interdisciplinary Studies. Connect with Mary on LinkedIn


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Comments 36

  1. Dani

    Try the habitat for humanity restore if you have one near you. I’ve found lots of great deals on lights, flooring, brand new tracks for drawers, and so much more.

  2. Robin

    Scratch and dent section
    YouTube videos to help you DIY
    Amazon.com for hardware and fixtures

  3. Crystal

    Do demolition yourself. Utilize YouTube. Set realistic goals. Go to your local ReStore. Look for items on clearance at Lowes/Home Depot. Check out items on eBay, read the sellers reviews and always Google the product you are considering to buy.

  4. Jenni

    Constantly checking on clearance at big box stores! I found flooring at 75% off plus and extra 5% for using their CC. The tiles were 6″x24″ and I got them for $.50 a piece before the 5%.
    Also, using some items for other than intended purposes.

  5. Jenni

    Oh yeah, and do the work yourself! I’ve put in hardwood floors (both real and laminate), 18″x18″ floor tiles, a backsplash in the kitchen, replaced a toilet, vanity, faucets, etc myself. My husband is impressed! Lowes will cut the tiles for you if you mark them… saves on having to buy a wet saw. 😊

    • Lisa

      Wow! I did not know that! Thanks for that great tip since I only need to do my tub surround!

  6. babymair

    I pursued some amazing items on clearance at lowes, home depot, and busy beaver. Even the paint was clearance .The glass bowl sink was a special order.they never picked up…The retail price was 700. I bought it for.. 65.00. And they let my husband use his military discount. I worked around the colors on the sink .. my bathroom cost 1500. For lights,a cabinet,sink,commode,paint mirror,flooring. Plus other xtras..hth

  7. Rachael

    Take advantage of rebates!!!! Pain, windows, Menards 11% back… I just purchased a fixer upper house and have taken advantage of the Consumer Energy Rebate program as well… received $15.00 back per window, and $30 per patio door…. It all adds up. Enjoy remodeling!

    • Cheyenne

      Thank you for this information! Looking to replace the windows in my grandparents home and this will be a bonus!

    • Tara

      I guess you have to be in MI to be eligible for the rebate?

      • Rae

        Check your electric companies website for rebates relevant to you. I’m not in MI and our energy company has many rebates listed windows is one of them.

  8. Marcia

    Consider purchasing gift cards to home improvement stores at sites like Raise where they are discounted, many times up to 10%.

  9. Melissa

    I looked for coupons on eBay for Lowe’s when we redid our floors.

  10. Amy

    You can buy coupons off eBay for 10% off at Lowes or Home Depot. I know it sounds strange to buy a coupon, but if you’re buying a big ticket item, you will spend a couple dollars to save a lot.

    • Amber

      Yep. I do this too. And most Home Depots will honor a competitor’s coupon (I bring in Lowes ones all of them time).

  11. wendy

    Buy all of materials ahead of time before you start so you can find the best prices, and you won’t be in a pinch. Keep those recipts, you can return unopened items….and do demo yourself…and if possible take it to dump too…can save a few hundred by hauling it yourself rather than renting a dumpster…and shop around

  12. Julie B.

    Peak Auctions! Home auctions have saved us so much money. We bought our hardwood floors and our mahogany wood to make our wood wall from the auctions, and saved over half.

  13. Megan

    DIY is critical. You can save here and there on materials, and that’s great, but labor is a killer.

    Ask your friends and family. You probably know helpful people who would help you. Me? I’m a suburban housewife who can wield power tools with the best of them. I’d help a friend frame, drywall and finish a room or build just about anything out of wood. Hand people tend to have good ideas about how to approach work. So even if they can’t help you, they can point you in the right direction.

  14. Jessie

    DIY as much as possible. If you’re planning on a renovation, you can spread out your purchases and buy items months ahead of time when they might be on sale. Check for cash back on Ebates and other sites and if you buy any appliances check with your electric company for rebates on energy star appliances. We used all these tricks and did a full kitchen reno (all new appliances, cabinets, granite, etc.), everyting but flooring, for 10k last year!

  15. Amy

    Don’t have your hubby do it 🙂 our little DIY project costed us $1,000 over budget because hubby thought he could do it…. lesson learned. But if you know what your doing it will save you money, otherwise it’s best to seek professional help.

    • Monika

      On the same note I was going to say, save by knowing what NOT to DIY. 😁 I draw the line on some DIY projects hubby wants to try out himself, especially projects that take longer than a few days.

  16. Terri

    I flip houses for a living. I save a ton of money by purchasing my own materials and only paying for labor for things I can’t do myself. It’s always a good idea to shop around.

  17. Gail Alford

    Look for materials that are very similar to the custom high end products but at a much lower price. For instance, use the standard bathroom ceramic tiles for the shower and add a border with a nice design to make it look custom. Turning standard ceramic planks at an angle to make a herringbone pattern can give you a custom look at a fraction of the price. (My niece did this and it was beautiful!)

  18. Katy M.

    Always check your utility companies to see if there is a rebate. I just replaced my thermostats and got a $200 rebate making them really cheap.

    If something is on clearance at Lowes or HD, try haggling them. I saved $50 each on the last 2 sinks they had. Find someone that has a military discount and bring them. Or if they own a business, they can go to the pro desk and get 10% off also if buying a large amount of items. Even Real Estate agents have a ton of pull with businesses.

    Get a ton of bids. There are people out there desperate for work and will negotiate. I had someone come to my house and did flooring, crown molding and floor molding, new interior doors and closets, a small deck, plumbing painting, and other various jobs all for $1100 labor, and he did a good job. And he got me a discount at Lowes and hawled it all back to my house!

  19. Shannon

    Definitely DIY the work yourself. I am a very small person so I get funny looks at Lowe’s but I have painted every room in my house, changed faucets and lights by myself. Having the right tools and you tube helps for sure!

  20. Sari

    We were thinking on remodeling our bathroom with glass doors since we always had shower curtains but with a toddler glass shower doors were kind of uncomfortable and scary thought as a mom, I know I may be overreacting 😉 but anyways we saw this post on Pinterest about using the IKEA panel curtain systems and instead of buying their fabric panel using 20 gauge clear vinyl from Joann just make sure you attach the panel system rails from the ceiling and with Joann 50% off coupon the yard came to 4.99 anyways it looks amazing and is a great alternative for glass shower doors.

    • Alysa

      Do you have a link for this?? Love the idea!!

  21. Chris

    We just enclosed our carport and turned it into a master bedroom and added a master bathroom! I love it and it turned out beautiful! We Just finished in July and it took a year! The project was only supposed to be 3-6 months. I pulled a homeowners permit to save money by not hiring a contractor. I hired all licensed workers but trying to get these workers to show up daily for my small job was very hard! If they had another bigger project they would take that over my job and make me wait it was so frustrating! There would be days/weeks without any work being done! Also dealing with the city inspectors was horrible! I would never want to do it again but we are enjoying our new space! Hope this helps 🙂

    • Henrietta

      My house was supposed to take 6 months to build it took 14. And we never fully had the builder finish. We are still working on it. Half the things he did were done wrong anyway. Not one person that I have seen that build houses actually takes pride in their work. Every single one of them did a half butt job.

  22. SJ

    I’d just move haha 😉

  23. Sue

    I just had a custom house built saved huge! I had the WORST builder ever!!!! He under bid the job. We got so punished for his incompetence. We had to save on everything or the house would never gotten finished. We bought everything with military discount at lowes, we used wayfair for hardwood flooring, got it for 5.50 sqft its now over 10. Ended up paying nothing for our fridge/freezer, the fridge came damaged. they are two seperate units you attach together to make a 60″unit. the shipper did not want to come pick it up and deliver a new one. Ended up getting a $3000 fridge for Free. We also ended up with two cooktops. The first one got lost during shipment, it showed up 4 weeks late. They never came back to get it. It cost $1,200. I guess the best way to save is order online and hope they screw up lol. My washer also had a dent in it lowes did that one. on their own they discounted it 50%. I could go all day with this kind of stuff. Good luck on your project. I do not envy you.

  24. Amy

    Synopsis w 1 new suggestion:Purchase gift card on raise.com. Then purchase store coupon on eBay. Use gift card and coupon to shop online and then get ebates cashback. IBOTTA has cashback at Home Depot.find out about utility rebates possibly. Any imperfections or issues w delivery to try to get discount from store. Do labor yourself or get labor cheap & make basic materials look custom w different design. Don’t forget habitat for humanity restore, IKEA clearance section. Soo many ways to save!

  25. Rae

    Most of the best tips have been given already… Using dicounted gift cards, taking advantage of sales and rebate offers, ReStore, check with your city and find out if they have any current improvement grants avalible, diy decon, diy install that you feel confident you can do safely. In alot of cases simple “facelifts” are all a room needs like paint, fixtures, furnishings, and window treatments. Our citys recycling center has a hazardous waste collection office that actually offers materials like paints and stains back to the public for FREE. They often have large pails of paint that are over half full from construction contractors.
    Kitchens and bathrooms can be given a little more love and diy’d fairly easily but be careful and stay mindful about how you are going to do it. If you plan it out first and have the list of measurments and materials you can stock up on what you’ll need before you decon to streamline recon it will go faster. Get familiar with your breaker panel and be sure everything is labled correctly also know where your homes water shut off valve is.
    We have been living in a fixer for over two years and yes you can do a lot of the work yourself but please be smart and safe about it. Leave things like gas and electric canges to professionals and save in other areas. The house we purchased belonged to three different DIYers who we have affectionately called McGuyver #1, #2, and #3. A lot of the work they did was not only not correct, its not to code an not safe, leaving us to correct* it.
    Also, get the whole home inspection when you are looking to buy a home. It wouldnt have helped us much because most of the bad stuff was ‘hidden’ but it would have drawn our attention to things first time home buyers missed.

  26. Rae

    Oh! And… if your having pros do work or even a handyman then get many bids. We found that the oneswho advertize less or have the smalles ads in the business yellow pages have the best rates.

    And a quote I just heard from a small business ower we traded services with said “If you’re going to do a plumbing job the first thing to get is a full tank of gas.” It was funny because it’s been true for all three of the plumbing projects we have done no matter how small and straightforward they seemed.

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