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5 Money Saving Tips for DIY and Design Projects

  September 17

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Back in my early days of blogging, I posted a lot about DIY projects. When I lived in the States, I absolutely loved going to garage sales. Free box of books? Cheap solid wood furniture? Hey-yo! That was my idea of a good time.

I’ve really missed completing all of my projects, so I thought it would be a good time to reminisce about some great money saving tips when it comes to DIY and home design.

1. Even Thrift Stores Have Sales

People think that going to at thrift store means that you automatically get the best, lowest price. Not so, young grasshoppers. You can definitely check with your local store to see what days they offer 50% off sales or other types of discounts.

2. It Always Pays To Use Primer

I can’t tell you how many things I’ve spray painted in all my26 years. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, you always have to use primer. That’s true of painting the walls and painting furniture as well. DIY is supposed to be fun, so don’t rush the process. Plus, having to use multiple coats of paint is a money drain, so use all the right tools to begin with.

3. A Small Car Is Not An Obstacle

I am as stubborn as they come when I see something that I want. It can be on the side of the road or in the creepiest junk store of all time (like when I found my fabulous mid century desk!) If it can’t fit in my car, I will find a way to protect my treasure until I find a way to get it home. I’ve called friends with bigger cars, sent the hubs to a home improvement store to rent a truck, etc. Usually, the item I want is so awesome sauce that paying $20 for transportation still makes it a great deal.

4. Don’t DIY Everything

I love a good project, but you won’t catch me repairing roofing or knocking down walls. Some things are just better left to the experts. While I’d love to learn how to use more power tools and build a few more things, that’s definitely going to have to wait until we get a bit more settled!

5. Benefit From Other People’s Mistakes

One of my favorite sections of home improvement stores is the “oops paint” section. This is where paint goes to live after it’s been rejected by its first set of owners. Maybe the color was off or it just didn’t work out, so people bring bring it back to the store and get a refund. Instead of wasting it, stores will typically discount it, and if you’re not picky, you can probably pick up a nice neutral or some other fabulous color if you look hard enough!

So, those are my big tips. Sigh, I miss having a pile of projects to complete over the weekend! Do you love to DIY? How ’bout that yellow patio set in my picture? I scored that for $50 on Craigslist and sprayed it with sunshine yellow. Ah, c’est la vie!

35 responses to “5 Money Saving Tips for DIY and Design Projects

  1. Don’t sell knocking down walls short! It was one of those things I didn’t think I’d want to do before I tried it and I’ve come to find that there are few things as therapeutic as putting a sledgehammer through drywall 🙂

  2. I want to start doing a lot more DIY stuff. We received a free patio set from W’s uncle when we moved into our house 4 years ago, and just this past spring we decided to paint all of it. It looks brand new now!

  3. I agree about not trying to DIY everything. There are some things that it is much more cost effective to pay someone else or buy it already done. You will not catch me trying to build my own farmhouse kitchen table… it is not worth the cost and time to even attempt that! Great post!

  4. My wife is much like you, Cat.. but I just don’t think DIY is fun at all 😛
    The last thing I want to do after a long day of work is to come home and do more work…


    Great tips tho.. We have learned about the need to use primer the hard way.

  5. Confession time – I’m not a big DIYer. I love getting a good bargain and appreciate other people’s skills when it comes to DIY, but it’s not really my idea of a good time. 🙂 It seems like so many PF bloggers are DIY pros and sadly, I’m not. But I can totally create a killer financial plan for you. LOL!!

  6. I love the oops jars! That’s been my secret weapon for a while…no matter what I’m going to Lowes or Home Depot for, I’ll stop by to see if a sweet color happens to be hanging out there. Also, Ace has been doing this free quart of paint coupon in the weekly circulars for months now. Not that I’m always in need of a can but, hey, free paint.

    Nice tips, especially the one about primer. It’s a good tip in general to spend more time prepping to paint than actually painting. It’s all about the pre-work.

  7. We are big into DIY. And don’t sell yourself short when it comes to more major stuff – you just work up to it! With our place I started out doing mostly painting and smaller stuff, but by the time we were doing siding, had graduated to helping lift 4’x8′ pieces of siding while Mr PoP nail gunned them to the side of the house. I tried the nail gun a few times and hated it, though. =)

  8. I love to spray paint! I went through a phase where I just spray painted anything I could find. There’s something about the ease of it and shaking that can that makes it a lot of fun. I love remaking old stuff into new:P I haven’t gotten into furniture yet, we don’t have a lot of space for stuff anyway. Hopefully when I have a house one day I can go the DIY route!

  9. What a cute patio set! Whenever we get our own property, I will be DIY-ing some stuff and spray painting a lot as well. My dad likes to refinish wood furniture. He’s currently building a bookcase, and had re-finished the coffee table that’s been in existence longer than me. It looks completely different, like new. It’s amazing what some TLC can do!

  10. Great post! This is how I am approaching furnishing and decorating our 800 sq ft apartment. So far all of the furniture is from Craigslist, prior owned, or on sale at a thrift/junk store. It is taking a bit of time, but I am not spending huge amounts on furniture. Plus it makes it more personal

  11. Back in the day my friends were all shocked by what I could fit in my 2 door honda civic. If you want an item bad enough you can figure out a way to get it in (I’ve also rented a truck from home depot). All of the nice furniture in our home totally came from the bf. I have some nice pieces, but all of my stuff was craigslist finds.

  12. I agree with you about “Don’t DIY for everything” because it really can end up costing you. I think when you try to tackle bigger things like plumbing it’s reasonable to assume that things might go wrong and you should be prepared to pay a professional to come in and finish up. That happened recently when I was replacing the drain and overflow for our bath tub – definitely a job for the pros!

  13. I love that yellow table set in your picture, so fun and relaxing! Awesome job! I don’t DIY enough although I’d like to start. I do make my own gift bags at Christmas that that’s the extent of my DIY!

  14. Pingback: Festival of Frugality #401 - Frugal Rules

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