Feb 02, 2024

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DIY influencer Fariha Nasir sitting on a swing smiling

If you’re a homeowner, there’s a decent chance the idea of tackling a renovation project has crossed your mind. The housing market, especially in some parts of the country, can be a bit rocky these days, so improving the home you’re in becomes a top priority.

But with interest rates on the rise and the economy still uncertain, it’s more important than ever that any remodeling job stay on budget. Whether you’re thinking about a light bathroom update, a major kitchen overhaul, or something in between, self-taught DIYer Fariha Nasir has a few simple rules for keeping costs in check.

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Using a personal loan for home improvement projects

Through her Pennies for a Fortune blog and Instagram account, Nasir has attracted a large community of followers who appreciate good design as well as the challenges of completing home improvements on a budget.

In 2021, Nasir documented the makeover of her guestroom and laundry room for her followers. Then she partnered with Discover® Personal Loans to show how DIYers can customize a home improvement loan around their projects.­

Want more details? Here, Nasir shares her steps for giving your home a budget-friendly facelift.

3 tips for saving on your DIY home remodel

1. Draw your layout on a piece of paper

Nasir starts her room designs with a Pinterest board that shows how design elements fit together and how much space is needed. Then she translates them into her own room by sketching out each aspect of the design – walls, doors, windows – into her space along with actual measurements.

2. List your renovation priorities

Your list should cover everything from the biggest part of the renovation (like refinishing a wood floor) down to the smallest details. This can help you decide if you need professional help. It will also help you separate “must haves” from “nice to haves” if you run into budget issues.

3. Make a home improvement budget

“Planning and budgeting are extremely important in any home improvement project,” Nasir said. “It can really make a difference in how you take a task to completion. Making estimates for each step is essential to knowing what you’re looking at in terms of finances.”

Ensure your budget is flexible because home improvement projects can have variables and occasional surprises. “Make upper and lower estimates,” Nasir says. “You need wiggle room in your estimates to make sure you don’t have issues with under-budgeting.”

Not sure how to start budgeting for home improvements? Check out Discover’s home remodel financial planning checklist to get oriented.

More tips for home improvement on a budget

Trim costs where you can

Home renovations come with a range of price tags. Here’s what you can expect to spend, on average, for some common projects in 2023:1

  • Bathroom: $3,000 – $25,000
  • Office: $5,000+
  • Kitchen: $6,000+
  • Master bedroom: $10,000 – $15,000
  • Family room: $5,000 – $10,000

If the cost of a project exceeds your available funds or you don’t want to deplete your savings, Nasir notes that DIYers have a few options. First, you can cut back by using less expensive hardware or lighting. Next, review your priorities and decide what can be left out to manage expenses.

Consider financing your larger home renovations

For her recent guest bedroom makeover, Nasir budgeted $3,000. But an upcoming main bathroom renovation will likely cost more.

“That will be a more expensive project, something I might not want to pay for out of pocket, all at once,” she said.

“A typical full bathroom remodel can cost from anywhere between $5,000 and $30,000. It’s a big investment, but Discover Personal Loans offers a great loan solution to help make big home renovation projects a reality.”

Find the right lender

It can help to work with a flexible, experienced lender like Discover Personal Loans. You can customize a Discover home improvement loan to fit a wide range of projects and budgets, and there are no fees if you make your payments on time.

Budget overages can come as a surprise and often require quick attention. With Discover Personal Loans, most people get a decision the same day. And, if your application is approved, your funds can be sent as early as the next business day after acceptance.

Plan now to avoid stress later

Having a financial plan allows home improvement DIYers to focus on what’s most important: getting the work done.

“Knowing how much you’re looking at spending can take the headache and stress out of a project, and you won’t have surprises down the road,” Nasir said.

Want to learn more about how a Discover home improvement loan can help keep your project on budget and on time?

Learn about Home Remodel Loans

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