Simple ways to save money on DIY projects this summer



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With every home improvement project, comes a budget. And although it might feel hard to stick to that budget once things get going, it doesn’t have to be impossible.

Our research has shown that nearly three in ten (29%) homeowners have gone over budget during home improvements, with almost a quarter (23%) blowing their budget by more than 50%.

You wouldn’t want to – and shouldn’t have to – compromise on the quality of materials when doing up your homes, but from making sure you have a clear plan in place so you don’t go over your budget, to hunting around for the best deals, there are lots of ways to save money.

So, we’ve put together our top tips to being savvy with your DIY projects this summer – helping you control your spending to maybe even be left with a little to spare!

  1. Have a clear plan in place

    Making a bumper shopping list, like you might do for grocery shopping, will help you avoid buying products you don’t need. You can use your list to create a master plan that even contains precise measurements, and that way you don’t need to waste money on any excess materials.

    By having a plan, you can also consider which shops will have your materials and where it is cheapest. Do some research to see if your local suppliers have a loyalty card which could offer a discounted rate or additional points per sale.

    The first step is to establish your goals for the job at hand, as it’s difficult to understand how you’ll budget for any home improvement project without knowing exactly what needs to be done, and the range of materials involved. This will also help you plan where and when you need to hire tradesmen.

    Once you understand your aims for the project you can then begin to understand the typical costs it would involve. Having a practical overview of all costings for the home improvement will help you see which parts of the project are eating into your budget, and if you want to, you can adjust spending accordingly – whether that’s choosing a more cost-effective material or reconsidering your funding options.

  2. Be more cost-effective with your spending

    Some nice-to-have added extras might not sound like they’d cost much, but these things add up. With every saving you make across smaller things, you’ll have more money to put into the bigger changes.

    Maybe you’re looking to switch out your windows for triple glazing or are longing for a six-ring gas burning hob to show off your chef skills when you have friends over.

    By knowing these are your biggest changes, you can identify other areas that you’re willing to put to one side or find ways to save on. For example, do you really need brand new sofas and carpets, or would a deep clean be the more cost-effective option?

    If you decide you’re not willing to wait to complete all the projects you have in mind, then you could look into alternative ways to fund your home improvement. If you’re not sure where to start with financing, you can read our ultimate guide to financing your next home improvement here.

  3. Look around for the best (and most affordable) help

    Unless you’re already a fully qualified handyman, you might need some expert help for bigger changes. And that will inevitably mean money too.

    This is an area that can cause significant headaches, both over money spent and end results. It’s really important to make sure you read reviews of the people you’re thinking about hiring.

    Looking around for the best rates and quality of work will pay dividends in terms of money saved and peace of mind across the project, especially if it ensures you don’t need to pay for extra work down the line to fix mistakes.

    Our research found that a quarter (25%) used tradespeople to fix mistakes they made themselves, so it might be worth factoring in budget for hiring someone if your project is out of your depth. You could use websites like Checkatrade or Taskrabbit to find the most recommended and affordable help.

  4. Simple switches

    Home improvements can be big and complex projects, but sometimes simple switches to the original vision can help to keep costs down. There are plenty of ways to get a quality finish without breaking the bank.

    For example, if you’re re-doing your bathroom and you want to use tiles, you might consider only tiling the areas that needs to be waterproof and using a contrasting paint on the remainder of the wall for a big impact or waterproof wallpaper.

    Or, if you’re concentrating on the kitchen and you’re happy with the layout, you can keep the units and make changes to the colours, as well as other features like the splash back, sinks and taps. Rather than retiling and replacing your cupboards, you could use specialist paint to refresh. If you want a complete change in the kitchen, you could even buy an ex-display kitchen, which can sometimes be discounted from the original retail price.

  5. Don’t be afraid to take it slow

    Finally, if things are looking really tight you can always look at shifting your project to a longer-term goal, making small changes over time.

    Shifting gears on a project can also make sure you focus more closely on some of the particulars mentioned above, taking time to find the right help for the right money, or really knowing what it is you’re really looking to spend on.

    Home improvements don’t have to be all go, all of the time – it can be a slow evolution to fit in with current trends and, of course, your own budget.


Shawbrook conducted research with market research company OnePoll to survey 2,000 homeowners in the UK to understand sentiment towards DI-Y home improvements. Research was conducted from 12 May – 16 May 2022.

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