When it’s time to renovate your home, you might find that your dreams are put on hold by the harsh reality of costs. Renovations can quickly become extremely costly, putting a damper on your grand plans. In fact, the average costs for renovations might surprise you:

  • Kitchen: $12,000-$33,000
  • Bathroom: $6,000-$14,000
  • Basement: $10,000-$27,000

Ouch. Hopefully, those initial costs will benefit you later by increasing the value of your home, but they can still be a burden when they first hit. Just remember that seemingly small renovations, like painting rooms blue, can add a lot of value to your home. According to Zillow, having blue rooms in your home can increase its value up to $5,400 more than the expected sale price.

Even so, if you want your renovations to be successful, you’ll need to budget accordingly for your plans. Here are five tips to help you budget for your home renovations.

1. Do Some Comparison Shopping to Get the Best Deal

The cold hard truth is that most of the time, renovations are going to cost you more than you expect. Even with a carefully planned out budget, you’re likely to find that you go a little over what you’re expecting.

That doesn’t mean you can’t plan and get yourself as prepared as possible. One way to do this is by doing some comparison shopping. Most online shoppers, 71% of them, believe they can find a better deal online than in a store and they might be right.

You can and should comparison shop even when it comes to renovations by checking out the websites of various contractors who could do work for you. You might be able to find information about pricing even before you start contacting contractors that gives you a good idea of what their prices will be like.

Don’t stop there, though. Be sure to get estimates from every contractor you talk to so that you can compare the true costs of the work. And keep in mind that there could be changes or fluctuations in those prices before all is said and done. An estimate is just that – an estimate – so it may well look different when it comes time to pay up.

2. Don’t Just Take the Lowest Price – Think about Longevity

While you’re doing that comparison shopping, remember that it may not be best to just take the lowest price. Think about the longevity and staying power of those renovations. A concrete structure can last more than 100 years, but other types of materials may prove more flimsy.

When you are looking at prices, consider why or how a different contractor is able to offer a drastically lower price. Are they using different, low-cost alternative materials? Will the work take longer or shorter to complete? Are they cutting corners that other contractors aren’t?

It isn’t just about the number on the page. A lot more goes into the cost than just dollars and cents. If you can, get a breakdown of the costs so you can see exactly where your money will be going. If you’re renovating a bathroom and those new tiles are only going to last a couple of years, you might not actually be saving money in the long-run.

3. Consider Energy Efficiency

These days, energy efficiency is everywhere. More than 2.2 million Americans are working in jobs related to energy efficiency. That includes jobs in construction and as contractors.

While you are updating appliances and lighting, or even the roof, consider energy efficiency as part of your plans. Energy efficiency is more than just a buzzword. If you’re hoping to sell your home, prospective buyers will be attracted to the potential cost-savings of having energy-efficient appliances in their new home.

4. Consider Purchasing Some Materials Yourself

The contractors you hire don’t have to do every single step of the work. Maybe you’re feeling motivated to rip out a carpet yourself. Perhaps you’re handy enough to fix the leaks in your plumbing, which cause 10% of households in the United States to waste up to 90 gallons of water per day. Even if you can’t perform the renovations yourself, you could purchase some of the necessary materials.

This not only could save you some money, but it also gives you total control over this step of the process. You can shop with your priorities in mind. Perhaps you want a very specific type of flooring. Or maybe you’re searching for energy-efficient appliances and want to purchase those yourself before having a contractor renovate your kitchen. Whatever the case, doing some of the shopping yourself can help keep you within your budget while giving you more control over part of the process.

5. Scale Down

It’s great to dream big during the initial planning process, but once you start to see the actual costs of those grand plans you may balk. Remember: It’s OK to dream a little smaller. You can still get a beautiful new kitchen while scaling back a bit.

This mostly comes down to prioritization. Consider if you really need all new appliances. Perhaps some of your appliances just need a little love and repair. Or maybe redoing the floors isn’t right for right now. You can always come back to it later.

Staying in Budget

Keeping renovations within your budget is often easier said than done. As with most things in life, you will probably need to be pretty flexible with your plans. Some homeowners find themselves forced into flexibility during the loan process, which takes an average of 60 days when you’re working with a bank, and some face obstacles later down the road, like during home renovation plans. No matter how carefully you plan, different elements tend to go wrong. To ensure your renovation process goes as smoothly as possible, keep your priorities in mind, don’t be afraid to do some of the work yourself, and remember to comparison shop every step of the way.

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