November 19, 2010

Tips for Budgeting Your Home Improvement Project

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Guest Post from Fiona Parker of the Cash Protection Agency, offering credit control services to businesses around the UK.

Budget Your Cash Unless you’re happy to whittle your cash away into the skip with your builders’ waste on your next home improvement project, you really need to look into creating a comprehensive and realistic budget.

Here are our top tips for what to think about before you start:

Research Expected Costs

It is always a good idea to approach more than one professional before you make your mind up and hire one for the job. Not only does the tender process mean that you can compare timescales and work involved, it also means that you can flag up any quotes which just don’t seem realistic. It is far better to know in advance whether you’ll need to pay out for ‘extras’ and some contractors just won’t include them to make them appear cheaper. If each element of the project is broken down into a schedule of costs, that’s better too, as you’ll be able to see where potential savings can be made.

Include a Contingency

Even with the most thorough planning, surprises can still crop up on all home improvement projects. Therefore, be sure to include an affordable contingency. But, be sure to use it on unforseen costs only – you’ll be caught out at the end of a project if you need the cash, but have flittered it on little upgrades.

Think About Being Your Own PM

Project managing is a very important job when undertaking work on your home. It can also be very expensive to hire out an expert. If you have the knowledge and confidence, think about PMing the task yourself. But, if you don’t have the skills, budgeting for this role will not be wasted money.

Look for Reward Cards

A final tip is to think about signing up for a loyaty card at those suppliers which you’llĀ  be using regularly. The cashback that you’ll receive on big purchases may help to pay for other materials down the line. Be cautious of store credit cards though, the interest that you’ll pay on outstanding balances is likely to outweigh any savings you receive – so be sure too be organised and pay it off every month without fail.

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