Home renovations on a budget


Home renovations on a budgetSticking to a budget can be tough at the best of times, but when we take on something new, as exciting as it is, our lack of knowledge and experience can demolish our savings in record time. Canadians are expected to spend $15,000 this year on renovations.

Take John and Cindy, for instance, who wanted to replace the baseboards in their home. They found a style they liked for $2 per foot, and confidently budgeted $400. They estimated 160 feet would do it, but had to gross that up by 50% to account for corners, angle abutments, frayed edges, mismatched pieces and, well, a few misjudged cuts. The baseboard came to $480. Then they needed a miter saw, compressor, brad-nailer and brad nails, which added another $650. With tax and delivery, their total came to over $1,300. When they finished, Cindy noticed the doorframes and window frames no longer matched and would have to be changed as well, but John decided there was no point replacing frames on old windows, so he went shopping for new ones. Their budget went out the window!

Five tips to help with your renovation budget

  1. Whether it’s a Do-It-Yourself job or not, get three quotes from professional contractors. This will help you to set a realistic budget, discover any flaws in your plan, and size up the professionals. It may be the savings aren’t really worth the effort. Get everything in writing, so you can break the job down into what you’ll do and what they’ll do.
  2. Plan the project from start to finish. If it’s a kitchen, for example, you need to know when the water will shut off and plan accordingly. The main thing is to be thorough and budget for everything, including sales taxes, delivery charges, and an extra cushion of at least 20% for all unexpected expenses.
  3. Be realistic about what you can afford and prioritize. Do you really need to renovate the bathroom and kitchen in the same year? And take into consideration how it will affect the household. For example, if you’re renovating the basement and re-flooring the front hall, do the basement first, and leave the new hardwood until the mess is out the door. It’s easy if you think it through!
  4. Depending on your project, consider if you need everything brand new. With 39% of Canadians planning to renovate in the next year, about 5 million homes will be giving away their old fixtures and furnishings. Save yourself some money and check out your local reuse centre and sites like Kijiji and Craig’s list. 
  5. One final tip for seniors (and those living with seniors): Check to see if your renovations qualify for the Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit – worth up to $1,500 in tax deductions.

For more information on how to budget for your renovations, contact one of our financial experts at 1 866 833-7690 or visit workhealthlife.com.