By Jeffrey Strain
Many of us avoid home improvement projects due to their expense. Granted if you
are contemplating a "second-story" addition to your home, or the construction
of a new "game-room", then most likely you will need to hire a general
contractor to complete this task. However, if you are interested in projects
like painting a room, removing acoustic texture from the ceiling (I just did
this), installing laminate flooring, wallpaper, landscaping, etc. then you may
be able to accomplish the task(s) all on your own, or with minimal assistance.
I recently undertook the task of remolding my den and living room areas. I knew
what I wanted the final product to be, however I was extremely hesitant to
begin the work due to a lack of knowledge, the fear of failure, and/or making
damaging, irreparable mistakes. You see, in front of a computer I'm extremely
proficient, however with tools and manual labor, I do not have much experience,
so naturally I was a bit intimidated.
Two things changed my mind about the whole scenario. I bumped into a long-time
friend who was known for his skill with tools and a knack for wood carving. I
informed him of my remolding ideas and the underlying fear of the whole task.
He laughed and said that what I wanted to do it would not take much in terms of
"professional skill" and it would save me about $2,000 in labor costs!
Once he put a price tag on the amount I would be saving, I was immediately
intrigued. For me to save $2,000 of my own money, I'll definitely try my hand
at these projects. Wouldn't you?
The second influence that helped me take on this task occurred on my first visit
to Home Depot (popular hardware store in southern California). I was lucky
enough to run into a wonderful, polite, knowledgeable employee who took his
time and explained the in's and out's of what I was about to undertake.
One side note, I could not have accomplished what I did without the help of Home
Depot. I'm sure other hardware stores have pleasant, knowledgeable staff
members also, but since I always went to Home Depot and since I was beginning
to learn the locations of the items I needed, I simply stayed with them. Kudos
to Home Depot!
Keep in mind that if the store employees are NOT assisting you in a pleasant and
courteous manner, LEAVE and don't come back! Don't let their rudeness distract
you from your overall goal - that's what's most important, not the personality
of an unfriendly person. Go elsewhere if you do not like how they're treating
you. Take it from me, someone who had NO IDEA of what he was doing, there will
be some employees who will go out of their way to assist you. Once you find
someone like this, keep going back to them. That's what I did. I probably went
back to my assistant about fifteen times over the three month duration of my
project sometimes to buy things, sometimes just to ask a few questions.
There are basically two ways to ask for help - verbally or indirectly. Depending
on your personality and how comfortable you are asking "strangers" for help,
the verbal method may not be for you.
That's ok! Don't feel bad or downhearted. That's just your personality, nothing
to be ashamed of, so don't start thinking you can give up just yet! :-)
Personally, I have no problem talking to anyone about anything. That's just how
I am. If you are somewhat similar, then I suggest taking my approach and
talking to as many people who have knowledge in what you want to do.
If you would prefer to remain as anonymous as possible, then the Internet and
library will be your goldmine of information. The library may be a tad outdated
when it comes to the most recent, creative home improvement projects, but check
it out just in case. If you do find a book online or at a store that would be
perfect for what you need, ask a librarian if they could "purchase this book
since your home improvement selections are less than adequate and its important
that a library stays atop current trends and events so as not to become
obsolete" (or something along those lines ;-)
Also, at Home Depot they have a section of books on literally any home
improvement projects you can imagine. They even have chairs where you can sit
and read them at your leisure. This would be an excellent starting point for
Pergo Style Click-Together Flooring @.49 per square foot X 400 sq ft = $200
Foam Underlay for 400sq ft. = $80
*my biggest saving - found this floor/tile place getting rid of excess stock
which was about $4 per foot cheaper than Home Depot!
I would've paid in excess of $1600 for this amount
Sod: St. Augustine @ .59 per square foot: 1500 sq feet
*free delivery since purchased through sod.com
*second biggest saving - only cost me $885 instead of $2,000+
Those who are really not concerned about saving money can basically shop
anywhere for what they are looking for. However, those of us on a strict budget
must put some thought into this if we want our goals to become tangible. For
example, when I originally priced Pergo flooring, it was in excess of $4.50 per
foot installed. Multiply that by 400 square feet and I have already attained a
bill of $1800 (not including tax)!
Immediately I knew this was way out of my budget, but I still wanted to go with
a laminate floor. I then started to price locations I found in the yellow
pages, Internet, and local PennySaver magazines. I learned that if I were to
purchase and install flooring from distributors/wholesalers, I could save more
than a thousand dollars! Even better, if I could find a location that had an
excess of a particular item in stock, then they would offer this at an
unbelievable price (just like the one I found at .49 cents per square foot).
Point is, if you are willing to do a little "digging" and research in order to
find the lowest price available on your products, then you will be rewarded BIG
TIME (just like I was). However the flip side to that coin, if you are
impatient and you want your remodeling to begin tomorrow, then most likely you
will have to pay more for what you're looking for. It all depends on both your
time and money situations.
Personally, for me, this was not a "must have done in two days" project, so I
didn't mind spending two and a half months working on this in my spare time. I
did save a ton of money, but it did take me much longer than if a contractor
was hired to complete the job. Again, it all depends on your own personal
situation. Just keep in mind that saving money on home improvement projects is
possible if you are willing to get a little "dirty" :-)
© Copyright 2005 -- http://www.SavingSecrets.com Get
immediate access to over 500+ pages of effective money-saving articles,
newsletters, and downloadable ebooks directly at their website.