(Design: Fuse Concept)

Now that you have collected the keys to your new house, it’s time to get planning and renovating . For most of us, purchasing a home is already taking a gigantic leap of financial faith, which calls for prudent decisions to be made to minimise spending during the renovations. Here are some tips and advice to help you balance your budget more easily.

1. Plan your budget (and stick to it)

Plan diligently by deciding on exactly what you want for your new home and list out the cost of each purchase required. Stick to your pre-planned budget as much as possible. However, having said that, there might be some unforeseen circumstances or contingencies that have to be addressed which might cause you to exceed your pre-planned budget. Give yourself an allowance of about 20 per cent – you wouldn’t want to end up with an incomplete kitchen or bathroom.

Read: Updated guide to renovation costs in Singapore

2. Research, research and more research.

Read up on what people have done and learn from their experiences. If you are planning to hire an interior designer, for instance, check out the recommendations and look at their portfolio. Some interior designers are more skilled in certain home types than others, and if possible, try to get at least 3 quotations for your ideal home. Compare them before making a final decision.

3. Plan your purchases

Look out for warehouse sales when purchasing your furniture — these are a great way to maximise savings. There are also various home fairs in Singapore, such as the Home Planner Furniture and Renovation Fair which attract a range of merchants selling products you might need. Warehouse sales are also a place to get furniture at a bargain. Compare prices across different merchants before your eventual purchase.

If the purchases are not urgent, you should wait for discounts during occasions like the Great Singapore Sale, National Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Christmas. These are periods in the year that retailers will definitely have discounts for and can save you a lot of money.

4. Differentiate your needs and wants

Sounds all too familiar? Nonetheless, many new homeowners, in their excitement, often fail to consider what they really need. It’s easy to want to buy that S$800 bright red professional mixer just because it looks great on the kitchen counter.

A useful tip might be to consider if what you are intending to purchase is needed to make your home functional. Sometimes you’ll only know when you move into your home, so it’s wise to leave some of the nice-to-have purchases till after you’ve moved in.

5. Do-it-Yourself

Never underestimate the power of doing things yourself. Besides, you will derive an immense amount of satisfaction as you witness the transformation of your new place. Assemble your own furniture instead of getting them built in by a carpenter if possible. However, be discerning as to what you can do. As a general rule of thumb, it might be wise to leave the specialised tasks, such as installation of gas pipes, to trained professionals.

Read: Decorate your home with these simple DIY projects

Furniture stores such as IKEA are good bets to get the furniture needed at fairly reasonable prices. Check out Youtube’s home renovation videos, or Pinterest for niffy DIY tips. 

6. Draw inspiration from others

The Internet contains a plethora of sites that can guide you on renovation saving tips and the best ways to get creative without breaking the bank. Pinterest or Instagram, for example, is a treasure trove of ideas on personalizing your home. Many others have done it, so can you!

7. Decide on a cost-saving theme for your home

The design of your home plays a role in your renovation cost as well. A home with a minimalist vibe is likely to be cheaper to renovate than an apartment that is intended to exude a sense of opulence. Having said that, it doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style: after all, simplicity is beauty.


8. Do away with unnecessary frills

For example, it might not be very practical to get carpets if you have young children or pets at home.

Wallpaper, while pretty, is not very practical in Singapore’s tropical climate as discolouration often occurs rather quickly. Replacing the wallpaper can also be rather pricey, and there is a likelihood that the wallpaper might not be in production anymore.

9. Refurbish or reuse when possible

If you are moving into a second-hand home, consider what can be kept, such as structural elements or pieces of furniture. Refurbish them if they are still functional and in relatively good condition. If you have current furniture, consider what can be reused and brought to your new home.

For first-time homeowners, it’s very tempting to have custom carpentry throughout the house, but bear in mind that you won’t be able to bring these pieces to your next house.

10. Purchase your own items

This enables you to get a better control over the cost of your renovation. Getting your ID or contractor to purchase on your behalf tends to incur mark ups. You’ll also be able to search for better deals if you compared prices between different shops yourself. For the true bargain hunters, head over to Johor Bahru to get lights and furniture at a fraction of the cost. Tampoi Lighting Centre is immensely popular among Singaporeans, and JC Bespoke is great for good quality teak furniture.


This story first appeared on the BankBazaar Blog.

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