On a Budget: 3 Ways to Cut Renovation Cost (Ranked)

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Listed below are the three common methods people adopt to lower the cost of a renovation project. It’s true they all effect a drop in the total amount of money spent. However, the most important difference between these ways is how far-sighted each is, how much ‘future thinking’ is involved.

Last time in our budgeting series, we talked about the importance of planning ahead. Today we’ll look into how that idea manifests itself in the art of cutting cost.


3rd: Pricing everything out

Pricing everything out means that you are buying only the cheapest model of any electrical appliances and other domestic item you need. Sometimes you might even give up on buying certain items because they are in general quite pricey.

For example, to buy a cheap stainless steel basket, you check out the prices in various hardware stores, Japan Home, Taobao, Ikea etc.

Also, for frequently-used items like lights, switch covers, door locks and curtains, you buy the cheapest option available since all models of the same item work similarly.


What’s bad about it:

  1. You end up spending a lot of time to chase after that feeling you’ve cut the renovation cost, while in reality you’ve been inefficient with your time.
  2. The cheapest model’s quality is often below standard; you might have bought very poorly-made products because you lack certain knowledge to spot and avoid them.
  3. You end up missing the opportunity to invest in items that substantially improve your quality of life in the long term.


2nd: Finding substitutes

A better way than pricing everything out, is to find the most suitable substitute for the same objective you want to achieve.

For example, furniture made with E0 materials is two times more expensive than ordinary furniture. Instead of buying E0 furniture, some home owners solve the formaldehyde problem with photocatalyst application service. Others substitute ready-made furniture with tailor-made furniture.


On a side note, ‘tailor-made’ does not imply higher quality.

In fact, given that they are at the same price range, tailor-made furniture is not in any way superior over ready-made furniture.

The tailor-made option is for specific size needs, or when home owners do not have the time to look for ready-made furniture which suits their needs.

On a Budget: 3 Ways to Cut Renovation Cost (Ranked)

In the process of pricing out renovation materials, if home owners do not possess a comprehensive knowledge of the material in question, they might easily buy too much or not enough of it.

What’s worse is that they might purchase an unsuitable material and have to spend extra money and time for repurchasing.

Moreover, they might be scammed into buying substandard or non-durable products.

In reality, most families renovate their home only once every decade. Instead of trying desperately to hold onto your money, you should think about how to spend the money to create more value. For example, improving your quality of life.


1st: Review renovation goals

In the long term, the best way to save your money is to spend it well. Anchor the project around your daily needs and preferences.

Think about your renovation needs, the blueprint of your ideal home.

For example, a home owner might realise that the increase of storage space will lead to the decrease of the general living space.

In this scenario, setting the renovation objective as ‘increasing overall spaciousness’ not only decreases the cost of furnishing, but also improves the home owner’s quality of life.

Another example is to unify the design style of the whole interior and replace dissonant design elements. A unified interior style increases the overall harmony and beauty of the space. It also makes your home a comfortable place you want to spend time in.

Do not disregard your living needs when planning for a renovation. It won’t be long before you are confronted with these unmet needs, and have to spend extra money to resolve them.


To wrap up

Generally speaking, the golden rule of thumb in planning your renovation is to have clear renovation objectives, and to unify the interior design style. Separate items should complement each other. And this, is how to get your money’s worth.

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