Top five DIY money-saving tips

Published by Laura Whitcombe on 24 August 2013.
Last updated on 29 April 2015

Home DIY

1. Make the most of free advice and guides

Before you get your hammer out, you need to find out how to do the job first. You can find easy to follow how-to guides (both picture and video tutorials) for virtually any DIY project online. If you're after video guides specifically, search Youtube, where you can find a video for everything.

2. Don't blow your budget on tools

"Sometimes it's worth investing in tools that are likely to last for years," says Declan Curran, Founder of HomeFix Direct, a London-based property repairs and maintenance company.

However, many types of power tools that would realistically be used for a Bank Holiday DIY blitz and then left to gather dust and cobwebs in the shed can instead be rented from a variety of hire companies."

You can also pick up small and simple tools such as drills and saws at lower prices online and you can pick up decent-quality secondhand items on eBay or even at local  car boot sales.

3. Shop around for materials and supplies

Your local DIY superstore may be convenient but chances are you'll pay over the odds for purchases.

"If it's basic essentials like screws, nails and filler you're after, then your local pound shop will have all this and more, for a lot less than the big glossy retail park sheds," says Curran.

"Equally, sites like Ebay or Gumtree tend to be the places where leftover materials like paint and wood go to die, so don't be fooled into thinking that new is the only way to go. If someone else's job has finished and they're left with a few gallons of magnolia or a pile of timber afterwards, then save yourself a bundle and buy their leftovers for a lot less cash than you'd have spent buying it brand new."

4. Fit carpet underlay yourself

Carpet companies often charge a hefty mark-up to supply and fit underlay but it's a pretty simple job to do yourself. Even if you make a bit of a hash of it, it won't really matter because the new carpet will hide any mistakes.
"Get ahead by fitting it yourself, using a sharp Stanley knife to cut the underlay to the correct size, and a staple gun to fix it in place. Carpet edging strips cost pennies on the likes of eBay, and you'll find that by shopping around for the best-value professionals to come and put the actual carpet on top, you'll have saved hundreds off the overall job," says Curran.

5. Remember 'more speed, less haste'

Don't let slapdash errors end up costing you a small fortune. Take time to prepare for each separate job. "It's easy to dive into a DIY job with the intention of saving cash, only to find that you've cost yourself more by making a few basic errors. For example, always cover carpets and furniture while painting, as even a minor spillage will ruin both your day and your wallet when it comes to replacing what you've damaged," says Curran.

Wastage is a primary source of cost on most DIY jobs, so the old adage of 'measure twice and cut once' is definitely worth bearing in mind. Make sure you check and double-check any measurements before you start cutting into materials and you'll avoid costly wastage, he adds.

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