top of page
  • Writer's pictureK Monk

How to Avoid Going Over Budget - Renovations

You've been pouring over ideas on Pinterest, maybe walked some family and friends through your project, you've finally decided now is the time to just do it!

While home renovation projects can be exciting, they can also be overwhelming, especially when it comes to budgeting. We're always hearing about large corporate or government projects going over budget, sure its a problem, but they have seemingly bottomless resources and can pony up for the unexpected. The lowly homeowner simply doesn't have that luxury.

Going over budget can lead to stress and financial strain, which is why it's important to have a plan to avoid exceeding your home renovation budget. Your probably not a carpenter or general contractor, so in this post we will consider some helpful tips for the homeowner in Red Deer, Sylvan Lake, Innisfail, Lacombe and Central Alberta area to help you stay on track and within your budget.

Here are the topics we will consider:

Set a Realistic Budget

Before starting any renovation project, it's important to establish a budget that you can realistically afford. The key word here is: realistically. Don't leave yourself stretched too thin! Leave some room for the unexpected.

You should also consider where the funds are coming from. How much of the project will be pulled from savings? How much will be on a line of credit? I would recommend you don't go into debt for a renovation unless it adds measurable value to your home, or you plan to stay there forever! Consider how much money you have to spend and the scope of the renovation you're planning. You should also include a contingency fund for unexpected expenses. I would recommend 5 to 10% , but this really depends on the size and scope of the project.


Make a list of the renovations you want to do and prioritize them according to what's most important to you. This will help you focus on the essential tasks first and keep your budget in check.

Research and Plan

Before starting any renovation, research the costs and plan out the entire project. Take the time to understand the materials and labor costs, and factor in any additional expenses such as permits, inspections, and disposal fees. It's also a good idea to get quotes from at least 2 or 3 contractors to compare costs. Keep in mind that in the construction world: "you get what you pay for" is a very true mantra. Check out our blog on that subject here.

Avoid Making Changes Midway

Making changes midway through a renovation project can be very costly. If you are using a contractor you most likely will be charged for extras that were not in the original scope of the project. Making changes to your renovation, can also wreck havoc on the scheduling. It may take longer to do the work, order the products, or reschedule the sub-trades. My advice: stick to your plan! Avoiding changes means avoiding higher costs (unless of course it's absolutely necessary, or the changes make the project simpler).

Another piece of advice: Make sure you get 3D modeling of your project (or at the very least, some drawings), either by yourself, a friend, or hire a contractor that includes this. Its worth its weight in gold, as it will help you visualize the space to scale, and help you make good decisions.

Look for Discounts and Sales

If you are doing the work yourself then its clearly a good idea to shop around. Many suppliers have great deals on renovation materials. You may be able to get a showroom product at a discount (plumbing fixtures, electrical etc.).

Shop around for flooring and tile as these items can fluctuate quite regularly, and also vary quite a bit based on supplier stock. Kijiji or Facebook Market Place can be a good resource, but proceed with caution. Make sure you are 100% sure of the quality and quantity as there are no returns or substitutions. Another good resource is Habitat for Humanity, they have a new store in Red Deer County (just South of Costco). You can also donate renovation items and appliances (provided they are in good condition) and they will issue you a tax receipt based on the value.

If your buying in advance, and are running out of room to store everything before the project then consider renting a storage locker for a couple months, the savings may well be worth the cost of storage.

Consider Doing Some of the Work Yourself

If you have some DIY skills, and a few friends or family, consider doing some of the work yourself. This can save you money on labor costs. If you are hiring a contractor make sure you communicate this with them well in advance. They may give you some direction on what they need and even lend you the tools to do the job (depending on what it is of course). Labour intensive work like demolition, digging a trench, or shoveling gravel can put a dent in your overall costs.

Be Realistic About Timelines

Rushing a renovation project can lead to costly mistakes. Planning well in advance will help to mitigate this. Be realistic about timelines and plan for unexpected delays. Weather, supply chain issues, and health factors can all set your project back. Expect that there will be delays and you will avoid being disappointed.

Stick to Your Budget

Once you've established a budget, stick to it. It may sound like simple advice but once the project gets going it may be tempting to overspend on unnecessary items or upgrades. As the project progresses, keep track of the costs as they come in. Before making any changes or decisions, check with the budget.

Prepare for the Unexpected

This point seems familiar doesn't it? No matter how well you plan, unexpected expenses can arise. Be prepared that you may have to adjust your budget (only if absolutely necessary of course!). If you allowed for a contingency then this should cover those costs.

In conclusion, renovating your home can be a rewarding experience, but it's important to keep your budget in check. By setting a realistic budget, prioritizing your renovations, researching and planning, avoiding changes midway, looking for discounts, doing some of the work yourself, being realistic about timelines, sticking to your budget, and preparing for the unexpected, you can avoid exceeding your home renovation budget and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

10 views0 comments


bottom of page