Budget DIY: Tips for Stretching Your Project Dollars

We're halfway through DIY and Project month, and right about now some of you may be considering taking on a household upgrade or two. You're probably also hoping that these DIY endeavours will save some money, as well as give you bragging rights among your friends.

But as any crafty enthusiast knows, DIY can end up being just as expensive (or sometimes more so) than going pro or store-bought. It becomes addictive, and before you know it you're drowning in paint swatches and power tools and have a To Do list a mile long. Hardly the stuff thrift dreams are made of.

Luckily there are things you can do to lessen the financial burden (or dare I say, risk) doing it yourself runs. Read on for a few of the big ones:

Choose Cheaply
The best DIYs are those which take trash and turn it into treasure. And by "trash" I mean hand-me-downs, flea market finds and ubiquitous big-box store pieces. Choosing affordable objects to makeover to begin with not only saves money, but gives you the freedom to take chances, change your mind, and mess up. If it doesn't work out the way you planned, at least you didn't invest too much in the process.

We have some great posts in our archives on budget DIY projects, so get searching and get inspired!

Beg, Borrow and Steal
Ok, so we can't really advocate stealing, but everything else is fair game. DIY can mean investing in a lot of equipment, some of it expensive, and some of it the kind of "affordable" extras that can really add up. Rather than shelling out for reusables like drop cloths, paintbrushes and tools, why not see if a friend or neighbor has any to spare?

When it comes to power tools or other expensive equipment, consider renting if you can't borrow. Your local hardware chain store probably offers this service, and for something you'll only use once or twice (say, a floor sander or tile cutter) it makes sense to cut down on cost, not to mention storage space. Bonus: renting tools often comes with support on how to use them properly, unlike a purchase, which can leave you reading the manual and scratching your head in confusion.

Know your Limits
One of the best ways to keep your DIY budget in check is to know when DIY isn't such a great idea. Online tutorials and crafty books are great, but they can only lead you so far in this game. Tackling a project beyond your skill level can lead to costly mistakes and professional re-dos, and spending more money than you ever planned. So think hard about where your DIY line is: wallpapering your bedroom? Adding shelves to your kitchen? Re-upolstering a beloved piece of furniture?

Before you entirely give up on that ambitious project, however, consider a few educational options to help it run smoothly: take a class at your local hardware store, or ask a handier friend to help you out.

How do you keep your DIY budget in check? If you've got any tips or stories to share, chime in below!

(Image: Stephen and Jessica's Artfully Arranged Home and Studio)