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How to Save Money on Home Repairs and Remodels

By Ramsey Qubein

May 25, 2022

During the pandemic, many people took on new projects or learned new skills. Whether you became a sourdough bread master via YouTube or ogled over HGTV home renovation shows on TV, it’s time to put those skills and ideas that you learned to good use. One thing that became especially popular is the idea to remodel part or all of your home. These interior design or home projects are now top of mind for many people that have saved up money during the pandemic. Some are eager to make changes to the place where they spent so much time over the past two years.

Many people report difficulties in getting experts to help with these projects due to a heavy backlog. This is leading contractors and handymen to raise their prices, due to the increased demand for their work and the rising costs of home repair and remodeling materials.

Fetch presents 10 ways to save money when fixing up your home, and how to get free home improvement gift cards.

1. Plan a Budget and Stick to It

It’s important to start with a ceiling of how much you are willing to pay. Remember that most projects always end up increasing in price, with the addition of certain supplies or the growing cost of materials. It is wise to anticipate this and to pad the costs, so that you are not surprised if the project pushes your initial budget projections. Keep in mind that the more you rush a project, the higher the costs can go, as you aren’t able to search for the most affordable materials.

2. Use a Credit Card That Earns Bonus Points

Woman using credit card and getting free points

Put as much of your expenses as you can on a credit card so that you can earn miles, points, or cash back for your spending. These projects are not cheap, and if you have a credit card, this could be a great opportunity to work toward a free vacation or cashback in the process. However, if you are not able to pay your credit card balance off in full each month, this is not a wise move since you will be charged interest for any balance that you carry.

Don’t use a credit card unless you can pay the bill in full. You can also use online shopping portals or frequent flier mile websites where you earn cash back, or miles, for shopping at your favorite online retailers. It’s a great way to boost your miles or pad your wallet for doing things that you would already be doing.

Fetch online shopping - scan eReceipts

Don’t forget to scan your online receipts by connecting your email and Amazon accounts with the Fetch app. It’s a safe and easy way to get rewards points from all of your home improvement purchases.

3. Do It Yourself (DIY)

Woman planning DIY painting project

One of the best ways to cut back on home improvement spending is to do the project or parts of the project yourself. Of course, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you may end up spending more money correcting it later, so be sure to know your limits and find some good online walkthroughs. Taking on a do-it-yourself project is only wise if you’re ready and willing to go the extra mile.

With home repair and remodeling projects, there are DIY things that you can do to cut down on costs. This could entail preparing the project for a professional, like stripping the wallpaper so it can be repainted, or moving things out of a room where the contractor is working. DIY tactics like this can help to reduce some of the overall cost, while also making you feel as if you contributed to the project.

If you are new to home repair and remodeling, it’s usually best to start small. Painting is a good beginner’s project, as is replacing the faceplates of your outlets, or unclogging a sink without chemicals. You can then move up to things like replacing lighting fixtures, upgrading door hardware, and fixing windows. As your skills grow, so will your collection of tools and equipment. Make sure that you are snapping all of your receipts, to get maximum bonus points.

4. Reuse What You Have

Look around your home. Perhaps there are things that you can reuse in the home improvement project that you don’t need to purchase. This can include things like reupholstering existing furniture, rather than buying something new, or searching for tools and supplies like paint that you already have rather than paying more for them. Look online, too, as many people sell half-used buckets of paint or certain supplies at a significant discount.

Visiting antique and yard sales can also yield some valuable finds that cut back on the cost of your project. You will save money and feel good about reducing waste. Refinishing a wooden table or vanity can be a fun DIY project and teach you valuable home improvement skills.

5. Scan Your Receipts Using Fetch

Get free home depot gift cards with fetch

No matter what you end up buying, be sure to scan your receipts using Fetch. You’ll earn points for every receipt that you scan, and you can redeem points for gift cards to your favorite retailers including home improvement stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot. One fun thing that you can do is save up your free gift cards and then spend them all on a new home repair project.

6. Be Patient for Sales

If you’re patient, you’ll find numerous sales and promotions, especially around certain holidays like Black Friday or Father’s Day. Start tracking the price of the things that you need to get an understanding of how often the price fluctuates, and don’t be afraid to ask a retailer if they have any sales or promotions planned. 

There are seasonal trends that you can follow, to get an idea of when certain home improvement items are in stock or discounted. Most DIY’ers will wait until Spring to start a new project, which means that you might be able to find good discounts during the winter months. As fall approaches, you can often find discounts on seasonal outdoor items like firepits, gardening tools, and plants.

Keep in mind that if you notice that a price drops shortly after you buy something, many retailers will refund the difference. 

7. Compare Prices

Woman comparing prices

If you notice that one store is selling something you need for a cheaper price, even after you buy something, they may match the price. This type of lowest price guarantee is prevalent with many brands like Home Depot, which won’t just match the price, but also give you a 10% refund.

8. Use Crowdsourcing to Find a Better Deal

Whether you post help with your home improvement project on social media or via websites like Angie’s List, there are many professionals that are willing to offer their services for less than the big companies, if you know where to look. It’s a great way to cut back on the cost of a project by taking some time to look in an untraditional place.

9. Sell Whatever is Left Over

When you’re finished with the project, squeeze cash out of the leftovers by selling the things that you aren’t planning to use. This can include things like paint, screws, power tools and even leftover fabric or wallpaper. You’d be surprised at how many people are only looking for odds and ends and prefer not to pay full price at a retail store.

10. Are Home Improvements Tax Deductible?

Woman thinking about tax deductions

Yes, but with a big if. If you work from home, you are able to deduct the cost of improvements made to the area in which you work like an office or even a kitchen if you prepare food to sell. If you make energy-efficient improvements to your home, there are sometimes deductions that you might qualify for each year. You’ll want to check with a tax expert, but there are ways to save money when making home improvements.

Home improvement and construction projects can be fun and exciting, but they can also be expensive. Try some of these helpful hints to help you enjoy your new home and some extra savings in the process.

More Ways to Keep Your Home Looking Great

Save on Your Home Improvement Project With Fetch

If you don’t have Fetch yet, you can download it by clicking the button below or scanning the QR code with your phone’s camera. Get the app, get snapping, and start saving on your home repair and home remodeling costs. Use a referral code to get extra points and then get your family and friends to sign up with your code for even more points!

Topics: Home, Save money


Ramsey Qubein

Ramsey Qubein is a freelance travel journalist covering hotels, cruises, airlines, and loyalty programs from around the globe. He's a contributor to NerdWallet, Forbes, Fortune and more.