Remodeling on a budget can be a challenge, and it’s not uncommon for homeowners to spend more than they originally intended. Having a well-thought-out plan can help you create a realistic renovation budget and stick to it.

One of the basic steps for creating a renovation budget is to consider the purpose of the home project. If you are planning to sell your home in the future, you may want to consider the potential recouped costs of the renovation. For instance, if you are deciding between a major kitchen remodel and a minor one, Remodeling Magazine has calculated that the average minor kitchen remodel recoups slightly more money in a resale than a major one. On the other hand, if you are trying to make your forever home more suitable to your needs, the potential resale value of your home may not be an important factor.

You should also create a detailed list of everything you want to include in your renovation, from the flooring and paint to the fixtures and furniture. Research how much each of these items will cost, and remember to include the costs of labor. Experts suggest that, typically, materials make up 80 percent and labor 20 percent of a renovation budget.

Once you have your budget solidified, you’ll need to diligently stick to it. Here are a few ways you can do that:

  1. Avoid Changes and Upgrades. If you are the type of person who is suddenly hit with a new inspiration or desire for an upgrade, be cautious. Changes to your original plan can be costly with the new materials and extended man-hours. Try to stick to your original plan as much as possible, and evaluate the pros and cons of your new renovation idea before making a final decision.

  2. Stay Organized. Being unorganized can be a costly mistake when you’re renovating. Keep all of your receipts and sources of inspiration, such as samples and pictures, in one place. This will help you stick with your original choices instead of “winging it.” Start a spreadsheet that lists your estimated costs and the real costs of your project—make sure to keep it updated, so you’ll know if you are going over budget.

  3. Round Up. Renovation projects always cost more money and time than homeowners originally expect. Rain can delay certain renovations for days, and unforeseen problems like pest damage or urgent plumbing work can push you past your budget. Having an emergency fund for your renovation project can soften the blow. Some experts suggest having a “just in case” fund of ten to thirty percent of your original renovation project.

  4. Reuse and Recycle. Even with the emergency fund, you may find that you can’t afford to do everything on your to-do list. Go through your spreadsheet and decide which items you don’t really need. For instance, if you are renovating your bathroom and really want that luxury, freestanding tub, consider updating something else instead of replacing it. You can reuse your current cabinetry and update it with a little paint rather than buying something new. That way, you can afford the item you really want.

  5. Invest in Energy Efficiency. If you start going over budget, rethink some of your appliance and equipment choices. Buying certain energy-efficient equipment, like solar water heaters, can earn you federal credits when you file your taxes, which can help you save money in the long run. In terms of your energy savings, choosing energy-efficient appliances and equipment for your renovation can also save you money in the months to come.

  6. Donate Your Old Furnishings. If you aren’t planning on using some of your old appliances, fixtures, or furniture, consider donating them for a tax credit. Like energy-efficient appliances, this can also save you money in the long run. You can donate cabinets, lighting, tile, doors, appliances, tools, and other household features to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. You can also donate your old household items to the Salvation Army.

  7. Find Affordable, Temporary Housing. Staying in a hotel while your home is being renovated can be expensive. If possible, consider staying with nearby family members or friends for a short while. If you decide to stay in your own home during the renovation, be sure to weigh the pros and cons. Will you have access to the essentials, like a working bathroom? Will the noise stress your dog? And remember that certain projects, like lead paint removal, may make it too dangerous for you to stay during renovations.

Lastly, it’s important that you hire a trusted company for your renovations, as a contractor that wastes your time or sloppily executes the work can be a major drain on your budget. If you are planning a bath or kitchen remodel, consider hiring a Best Pick contractor

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Sources: BBC; Better Homes and Gardens; Energy Star; HGTV; Habitat for Humanity; IRS; National Association of the Remodeling Industry; National Kitchen & Bath Association; Remodeling Magazine; This Old House.

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