How to avoid budget blowouts when you’re renovating or building

We often hear that budget blowouts are at the top of the list of things that most renovators’ lose sleep over. But with careful planning and a little help with your spending, you can beat the budget blues!

Here’s how we avoid blowing the budget on our projects:

As much as we’d love to own a tree that grows money, we don’t… and we’re guessing you don’t either #sadbuttrue. So, you’ll need an idea of what you can afford to spend on your renovation or build before you start. It can just be a rough idea early in the process of how much you can afford (or want) to spend on improving your home. Is your ballpark $5k, $50k or $500k? There’s a good chance you’re not sure how much that money will buy you, before you complete a detailed budget but it’s still good to start with a ballpark figure in mind.

Once you have a ballpark figure to work with, you will write up your wish list! Sounds fun, doesn’t it? This is your list of ‘must-haves’ and ‘nice- to-haves’, for your project that will ultimately become your draft Scope of Work. We say ‘draft’ because as you work through the planning process you’ll realise you can’t afford to do everything on your list without blowing your budget. Once you get over the shock and horror of this revelation, you’ll be forced to revisit your wish list to cross a few things off. But hey, it’s not that bad. This is just the reality of renovating.

This will be the time to get your Scope of Work costed up. This is when things get real. This can be done via a third party, such as an architect, interior designer, builder or kitchen company. Or, you can do it yourself by briefing tradies and cabinet makers to get quotes and compare prices on all the work. This will help you understand the true cost of achieving your reno vision and form your set-in-stone budget that you’ll follow line by line throughout your project so you don’t blow it! If you’re anything like us, we’re guessing that your costings will come in above your ballpark budget. If this is the case, you’ll need to revisit your wish list and your ballpark budget and make some changes. Either increase your budget or decrease the scope of work.

Just when you’ve trimmed your budget and think you’ve hit that magic number, add another 10-30%, depending on the size of your project and adversity to risk. Yep, you heard right! This is your contingency budget and we’re sorry to say you’re probably going to need it. It’s inevitable when you’re renovating or building that something will pop up that you didn’t plan for – termites in the woodwork, burst pipes, rising damp, you get the picture! Although adding this line to your budget will hurt at the start, you’ll be thanking your lucky stars you added it later on.

And then there’s humm. Your budget’s favourite little helper. It’s the bigger Buy Now, Pay Later service which means you can use humm to help pay for the BIG things (like a kitchen!) when your budget runs tight and you’ll get up to 60 months to repay and never pay interest. There’s a myriad of ways that humm can help with your project, from paying plumbers and electricians, installing solar panels, buying the kitchen of your dreams or furnishing your new home. With up to $30,000 to spend, at more than 20,000 retailers around Australia, humm will help you keep your budget blowouts in check.