Whether you are building a new house or remodeling your current home, expenses add up quickly! So today, I thought I’d share 10 things we did to save money during construction when we re-built our family’s farmhouse.
1) Clean the Jobsite.
Our builder pretty much refused to maintain the jobsite regularly. To put it bluntly, there wasn’t even a dumpster on site. At one point the pile of debris, boxes, drywall pieces, excess pipes and electrical supplies, etc. was taller than me! By the time I decided to clean up the trash myself there were baby snakes in the pile! We live way back in the woods on a river, so seeing wildlife around the farm is the norm for us. However, I do not do snakes!! It took several days of cleanup to clear the pile, and from then on we maintained the jobsite ourselves to keep the debris to a minimum. This helped us to save money during construction by eliminating the labor costs of the cleanup.
2) Choose a budget friendly flooring material.
One of the things we get the most compliments on is our floors! Yet, we went with one of the most budget-friendly, unfinished wood flooring options available. We chose a white pine material in 7” width planks. We elected to forego a stain and finish the floors with a high gloss polyurethane to keep the wood light in color. I love how pronounced all the knots are in the boards! And the wear from everyday use that is inevitable with pine adds so much character and charm to the floors. It is definitely a softer wood and will dent easily compared to other materials. While this might be a turn off for some, it’s one of the things we liked about most about pine.
3) Learn a new skill.
My mom has told me many times “Brittany, you can do whatever you set your mind to”. That’s exactly what she told me when I asked her how crazy it would be for me lay the tile. And she was right! I laid all the tile in our farmhouse! The bathroom floors, the shower walls in the master bath, and the kitchen backsplash! My builder was present in the beginning and gave me some tips along the way. He also cut the tiles as needed. I have a new found respect for tile workers, because this is some back breaking work! I’m proud to say I laid our tile, and it definitely saved us money on labor.
4) Install the closet shelving yourself.
Our builder budgeted for the typical white wire shelving systems for all of our closets. These would have been totally fine and functional for our family, but I really wanted wood shelving. And being that this is our forever home, I did not want to re-do these later. So we ended up purchasing the materials for the wood shelving and installing them ourselves to save on the labor costs.
5) Incorporate salvaged materials, like reclaimed wood.
Incorporating the reclaimed wood that we salvaged from the old house was a huge priority to me! Not only was it very sentimental, but I love the character and history it added to our back into home. The lumber itself was essentially free because it was all pulled from the original farmhouse for this purpose. And by doing a lot of the salvage work ourselves, and additionally by prepping, sanding, and sealing the wood ourselves, we saved money on the labor costs as well. I actually blogged about 8 Unique Ways to Incorporate Reclaimed Wood if you’re looking for some more inspiration!
6) Shop around to get the best price on materials.
Construction actually took us over two years! As frustrating as this was at the time, it allowed us to shop around for deals on things like lighting, plumbing fixtures, and appliances. We purchased our kitchen appliances at Sears during their Black Friday sale. Not only were they on sale, but we also were able to take advantage of a 12 month no interest credit card deal they were offering. This allowed us to pay off our appliances before construction was complete and avoid paying interest on these items. Every little bit helps!
7) Make the most of credit card rewards.
Many credit cards offer rewards, like a certain percent back for money you are already spending on gas, groceries, etc. We ended up saving these rewards and purchasing some of our light fixtures with the cash back we had earned on our regular expenses. Hello free lighting!
8) Involve friends / family in the process.
We have been blessed with some pretty talented friends and family who helped out on various projects during construction. A couple friends helped salvage lumber from the original house to be used in our re-build. My Grandfather installed our kitchen cabinet hardware, he and my dad did some work in our pumphouse. Another friend’s husband helped install our sliding barn doors. My brother helped install our entry way flooring. And my mom helped with the closet and pantry shelving. All this help means money saved on labor costs.
9) Cut out living expenses where possible.
After construction began, we moved our little family of three into my parents home. At the time, we planned to stay with them for a few months at the most. Doing this allowed us to save the money we would have spent on rent. My parents even offered up their garage as a place to store our furniture and boxes. And we were very thankful to not have the added costs of a storage unit. When we checked the prices for PODS, I was not prepared to hear how expensive those things are! We had no idea that we would ultimately move out of my parents’ home and into the farmhouse as a family of four TWO YEARS LATER… but this decision is probably one of the most impactful decisions on our budget! Cutting living expenses is a great was to save money during construction! We are so grateful to my parents for allowing us to stay with them during this time!
10) Adjust your list of wants / needs.
This is obviously not the most exciting way to save money! But when unexpected things come up you can always scale back in another area to help salvage the budget. We made edits to our wish list as needed and cut out things like gas logs, a second fireplace in living room, the beverage cooler for the coffee bar, the professional refinishing cost for our clawfoot tub, etc.
Yes, I know this one’s on here twice, so I’m calling it a bonus! I talked earlier about maintaining the jobsite, but we also did the new construction cleaning ourselves. My mom and my aunt actually used to clean houses, both residential and new construction. They knew what it would take and they both really helped me with this one! New construction cleaning is definitely hard work, and there will be sawdust on everything! It will be in your light fixtures, your window tracks, your cabinets, on the top of all your trim and doors, etc. But this one idea alone can save a couple hundred to a thousand dollars depending on your location and the size of the house, among other factors.
Those of you who hung in there for this entire post… I see you! My hope is that this information will help some of you save money during your own construction / renovation journey! Thanks for following along…