4 Ways to Lower DIY Project Costs

Taking on a DIY home project is often a great way to save money compared to hiring a contractor. But if you cut corners, you can often end up spending more than you bargained for. Some careful planning up front can not only save you money, but your valuable time. Try these four ways to lower your costs when you are embarking on your next DIY endeavor.

1. Borrow Specialized Tools
Instead of shelling out big money for special tools you might only use once or twice, This Old House magazine recommends borrowing these items from other DIY enthusiasts. Research the resources that are available in your area. Some towns have social media swap groups where you might be able to barter for the tool you need on the cheap, while others even boasts dedicated tool libraries for the purpose. One site, called Zilok, offers tool rental at a more affordable rate than typical retail rental costs. Ask around to find out where you might be able to access key tools without breaking the bank.

2. Visit the Recycling Center
You can often obtain building materials and other supplies for a deep discount from your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. About 400 of these locations across the U.S. sell salvaged and recycled materials for about half of what you can expect to pay from a retail chain. By the same token, you can donate your old fixtures and materials to Habitat when your project is over to receive a tax write off (and avoid clogging up the landfills).

2. Don’t Hesitate to Learn New Skills
Even if you don’t have much DIY know-how, we live in the age of information. Instead of hiring someone to complete the parts of a job you aren’t comfortable with, take some time to see if you can figure it out on your own. Excellent online resources include YouTube videos and manufacturer websites. You can also visit your local big box retailer and chat with someone on staff about problems you’ve run into on a particular project. And when in doubt, try looking for books on the topic at your local library.

3. …But Know When to Fold ‘Em
Not every project is a DIY project. Popular Mechanics magazine recommends weighing each project based on the time it will take you against how much money it will cost to hire a professional. If a job is truly outside your skill set or is so complex that it will take you way too long to complete on your own, you can sometimes save yourself money by farming it out. Cut costs by only hiring professionals for parts of the job you aren’t comfortable completely on your own to get the best of both worlds.