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Budget-busting reno ideas

budgeting

Walk into one of those flash bathroom showrooms and it’s easy to walk out several thousand dollars poorer. Designer baths, Italian fittings, sleek basins… they can cost a bomb. But what if I told you you could get the same look for a fraction of the price?

By CHERIE BARBER

Frugal renovators will always find the budget shortcuts that don’t compromise the final look. Bargain hunting becomes second nature, even addictive.

It takes a bit of leg work – and the occasional bit of detective work – but you’ll be amazed at how far you can stretch a tight budget with just a few of these tricks.

Fake it!

Guess what? Those schmick designer pieces you’ve been eyeing off probably have clones: cheap copies that look amazingly like the real designer version.

Everything – from baths and basins to light fittings and taps – now has its clone. It’s a matter of finding the look you’re after, then scouring shops and online to locate the cheap lookalike.

If you’re in a store and see something that’s perfect (bar the price tag), ask if they have something of a similar look that’s in your budget. It may not be on display, but tucked away in a catalogue somewhere or sitting under a pile of dust out the back.

Trawl the bargains online

Sites like eBay, Gumtree, the online Trading Post and Freecycle are an amazing source of goodies. Unwanted goods; hasty purchases that didn’t pan out for the renovation; mismeasured benchtops, windows and doors; excess tiles and freshly gutted kitchens… they invariably end up online somewhere and you can pick them up for a pittance. Auction sites such as GraysOnline should also always be on your radar. I often pick up brand new items, still in their box, for about a third of their retail price by keeping a constant eye open for bargains. On a large renovation, we’re talking thousands of dollars saved.

Retain, recycle, re-use

Surprise, surprise, you’re not the only bargain hunter on the block. One man’s junk can be another man’s treasure, so never discard anything that might be worth advertising for sale. You’ll not only get revenue in but you’ll save on skip and tipping fees, and even labour costs.

I sold a whole roof of tiles for 80 cents each and they came and removed them as part of the deal: $3,225 straight back in my pocket.

Look at what you can recycle onsite. A tree that has to go from the front yard might be perfect for the back.

Beware of DIY

Never assume doing a job yourself is cheaper than calling in the pros.

Tradies will jokingly tell you that Monday is the busiest day of the week. It’s when the calls trickle through from gung-ho DIY-ers who’ve botched the weekend kitchen installation or created a bathroom disaster.

Learning on the job doesn’t make great sense when you’re the one paying for the expensive mistakes. Project-managing a renovation can be a far better investment of your time and money.

Remember, cheap doesn’t have to mean poor quality. It just shows you’re clever about finding the very best deal at every stage of the renovation.

 

About Cherie Barber

Cherie Barber is Australia’s top renovator and the director of Renovating For Profit, a company that teaches everyday people how to buy and sell/rent old properties for a profit.
Original author: Cherie Barber
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