How to Save Money on DIY Projects

Living on one income means our home improvement budget is…well, there pretty much IS no home improvement budget. But, you know I don’t like “no” so I do my best to make it happen anyway. The silver lining is it forces me to be more creative.

A plastic surgeon I am not (or I wouldn’t have this problem – or any wrinkles for that matter) but I have given more than one home decor face lift in my time. Sometimes, I am just not sure what to do, that’s why I consult experts like Beth who writes Free Stylin’ – a blog that shows you how to get the home you want for less.

DIY Tips from Beth of Free Stylin’:

Be Willing to Take a Risk.

“Every project I do turns out just a little differently than I ever thought it would,” said Beth. She also has learned not all projects will be successful, “I have to be willing to walk it out to the street.”

Re-Purpose Things You’ve Already Got.
“I like shopping my house,” says Beth, “You would be surprised what you already have.”

Make Just One Trip To the Store.
Not only does this save you time, it helps you stay focused on how much money you are actually spending on your DIY adventure.

Know Your Materials.
Beth once tried to silver leaf a pair of curvy lamps to get the look of $200 Pottery Barn lamps. Tip: If you are going to silver leaf something, spray paint it first. So, why sliver leaf when you can spray paint and be done in 20 minutes? In the end, she loved the look of the spray-painted lamps. The lesson: silver leaf is more manageable on small flat surfaces. “Information is key when you are trying to save money by doing it yourself,” she said. “Ask lots of questions before you start your project and that will eliminate a million issues before you even begin,” Beth continued.

Re-tint Existing Cans of Paint.
Before you buy paint, go shop in your garage. Did you know you could take a can of paint back to the store it came from and have it re-tinted? I didn’t. Of course, the changes you can make to it depend on the color you start with, but the paint store clerk can tell you your options. Beth once did this with a full can of white paint she found curbside at a neighbor’s on trash day. Score one for Beth!

Buying Quality Paint Saves Time and Money.
When it comes to paint, sometimes it pays dividends if you spend a little more money. Beth has learned the hard way that cheap paint doesn’t last very long, and sometimes you end up not only spending more time, but more money as you paint coat after coat after coat on your project. Spend a little more and save yourself the trouble.

Beth is the mother of two boys who lives in Austin, Texas. She loves “figuring out how to have what I need or want without spending anything (or just a little).” You can find Beth at her blog called Free Stylin’.

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9 Responses to How to Save Money on DIY Projects

  1. Sam September 27, 2011 at 10:28 pm #

    That was a great article! I like the part where you said, “Ask lots of questions before you start your project and that will eliminate a million issues before you even begin.” Love you!

    • Heather September 28, 2011 at 10:38 am #

      Uh, love you, too? Just kidding. You’ve got a great gal there, Sam, but I am sure you know that. What’s awesome is I am sure you and Beth have the same conversations we do when it comes to projects at home. It usually involves my husband saying things like, “Now, you want me to do what?!?!” He no longer tries to understand my projects, he just tries to understand what I want him to do. He makes things happen (and then gets all mad if – when it’s done – it needs to be moved a half of an inch to the left!). And, if its really annoying work, like say – hanging a series of 15 pictures 2 inches apart… well after he gets my input on where on the wall it goes – he needs me to leave the room. He’s a good egg. For the record, I haven’t had a truly annoying project in a while. Hmmm. Perhaps it’s time for another one.

  2. Allison @ House of Hepworths October 28, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

    Beth is the best! And this article is great. Nice work!

    • Heather October 28, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

      Thanks, Allison. She is definitely good people.

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