If you’re planning to spruce up your home with your time off then you’re not alone. Royal Mail Group has found that April to August are the most popular months for DIY purchases, while April and May are the busiest shopping months for gardeners.
Yes, DIY mistakes can prove costly but so can getting a professional in to do a simple job when you could do it yourself.
So here are 10 ways to keep the cost of DIY down this Easter.
1 Know your limits
There are lots of online guides and videos to help householders do it themselves and save money on tradespeople.
But it is important not to attempt work you aren’t qualified to do. NICEIC, which represents around 28,000 electricians, has warned that people who don’t understand electrics risk causing damage to their properties or themselves.
Darren Staniforth, spokesperson for the trade body, says homeowners often try to carry out simpler tasks themselves. “Unfortunately, this is something that we have started to see a lot of in recent years, with the bank holidays being a prime time for electrical mishaps to happen – the consequences of which, not just in terms of cost, are vast,” he says.
2 But do have a go
While electrics may be too much for most of us, being too worried to try can cost a fortune as well. Research carried out by Anglian Home Improvements show that three-quarters of 18 to 34-year-olds don’t feel confident enough to fit curtain poles or blinds themselves.
When it comes to painting, only 37 per cent of those aged 18 34-years-old are confident enough to decorate themselves. In fact, they are paying an average of £102.20 each time they ask a professional to do a small and simple DIY job.
Of course, if you really know you can’t do it then it’s best to get a professional in but there’s plenty of advice and guidance online if you’re simply unsure.
3 Sweat the small stuff
Those people with a busy weekend ahead probably don’t want to spend half the long weekend hanging wallpaper or refitting a kitchen.
But there are lots of small, cheap tasks that can breathe life into a room. For example, whitening tile grout with a special whitening pen can make a bathroom look much more fresh and new.
Marks on walls can be covered with a cheap paint tester pot. A new throw or cushion can transform a tired old sofa. Thinking small can make a big difference to a home.
4 Look for the energy savers
Yes, this is very likely to be a warm weekend but it’s a good time to consider the colder months.
There are a number of easy DIY jobs that help keep a home warm, such as lining doors and letterboxes or laying down roof insulation. DIY doesn’t have to be aesthetic to add value and comfort to a home.
5 Use a credit card
Running up a big, expensive debt in order to refurbish your home should be avoided because it will cost more in the long run. But using a credit card to pay for any supplies is a really good idea because it provides extra protection.
Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act means that your credit card company is jointly liable if something goes wrong with an item or service you’ve paid for using a card.
As long as the cost was more than £100 and less than £30,000, your credit card company is obliged to help put things right if there’s a problem – that can be a big help if you buy something and the retailer goes out of business or refuses to help with a problem.
6 Budget properly
More than two-thirds of people don’t set a budget for a DIY project and 65 per cent of people admit they have overspent, according to a survey carried out by online tradesperson marketplace Rated People.
Significant overspending can mean turning to a loan to finish a project or even leaving it only half completed.
By Monday, you should be resting on your laurels and eating chocolate eggs, not applying for an expensive loan to finish the job you started on Friday.
Having said that, if you are planning to use credit to fund a project then taking time to find the cheapest way to borrow will save you money long after the shine has worn off your brand new kitchen or bathroom.
7 Get free stuff
You can spend a fortune on materials while your neighbours are chucking the same stuff out.
Before beginning a project, it’s worth looking on local social media groups or services such as Freecycle and Freegle to see if anyone is getting rid of the items you need. For example, someone else might be about to pay to have some flagstones taken away and would be pleased if they could be re-used.
You get to save money and feel smug.
8 Check your home insurance
If you do happen to make a DIY mistake and accidentally empty paint down your stairs or flood the kitchen then it’s important to know the insurer will pick up the bill.
Not every policy covers accidents or DIY disasters so it’s a good idea to find out if yours does in advance.
And if you give up on DIY and get a tradesperson in to carry out work then you should consider informing your insurer, particularly if they are carrying out a larger task such as a renovation or extension.
9 Hire your tools
It’s very tempting to head for a DIY store first thing and stock up on power tools to do all the work with. But they are expensive, they take up space and they need maintaining.
Hiring tools is much cheaper and there are now a number of websites and shops that let people rent the gadgets they need, sometimes by the hour.
If you are renting for just a short time then make sure you’ve done the preparation in advance so you can return it as soon as the job is done.
Of course, if you have a neighbour whose garage is rammed with tools, it’s even cheaper to borrow those.
10 Find the bargains first
Heading to the nearest DIY superstore is often not the best way to find the best value. This is a peak DIY weekend and retailers will be competing for your money with different deals and offers.
For example, Wickes is offering buy one, get one free on paint, while B&Q is offering 20 per cent off garden plants. If you know what you need then look online and find the cheapest place to shop.