The Cheapskate’s Guide to Kitchen Remodeling

The savvy cheapskate’s guide to remodeling your kitchen.

1. Save big bucks at Habitat for Humanity ReStores. Habitat for Humanity ReStores stock gently used or surplus home improvement goods at unbelievably low prices. Check out a location near you to find steals on everything from countertops and flooring to cabinets and appliances. “Added bonus: They may also take away your old but still serviceable cabinets, fixtures, etc. and save you the cost of having them hauled away. And even get you a tax write-off.”
From 16 Tips to Save on Home Remodeling

2. Mix your countertop materials. Granite countertops are a must-have because of their durability, but they can send your budget skyrocketing. Try this cost-effective tip instead:If you love the look of granite—or soapstone or marble for that matter—work it into your plan. But instead of using it for every countertop, try limiting it to a high-visibility island or to the areas flanking the range. Elsewhere, use less expensive options like plastic laminate or ceramic tile. Mixing also adds visual interest. Save $150 or more per square foot.”
From The (Don’t Get Burned) Kitchen Remodeling Guide

3. Revamp kitchen cabinets rather than replacing them. Replacing your cabinets is an expensive project. You’ll be surprised at how a fresh coat of paint and a few touch-ups can transform your existing cabinets. “Opt instead to reface the doors, and use paint or refinishing techniques to bring the cabinets up-to-date. While you’re at it, repaint the walls as well to save even more.”
From Kitchen Remodeling on a Budget

4.  Save hundreds on flooring. Consumer Reports recommends checking out iFloor and Lumber Liquidators for discounted flooring. And, if you hire a pro to install your flooring you can still slash costs by doing the labor-intensive groundwork yourself. “Save hundreds by first tearing off old flooring, leveling or filling the subfloor, and removing any baseboard that’s in the way.”
From Kitchen Values, Where to Save

5.  Buying new appliances? Look for floor models. If you’re not picky, you can avoid sticker shock on new appliances by settling for floor models that are often discounted or on clearance. As one Boston Globe writer found,Floor models may have a scratch or two, but the savings can be significant. Had we purchased these at their original prices, we would have shelled out about $4,900. Instead we got them for less than half that price.”
From Ways to Save Money on a Kitchen Remodel

6. Don’t get carried away with a pro-style range. While pro-style ranges look like they belong in a Food Network kitchen, they’re more likely to benefit a celebrity chef than you. You’ll do just fine with a less fancy range. “Despite claims from manufacturers about the superior performance of their pro-style ranges, our tests continue to find that $4,000-plus ranges perform no better than less-expensive, conventional models. What’s more, some pro-style ranges still lack common features and have high repair rates. Smarter option: Faux-pro-style ranges from mainstream manufacturers combine style, performance, and reliability for thousands less.”
From Secrets of a Successful Kitchen Remodel

7. Add light tubes instead of windows. Light tubes are a frugal and eco-friendly alternative to pricey windows. A light tube mounts on your roof and captures and diffuses natural light into your kitchen – like a mini skylight. “For just a third of the cost of adding double paned windows, light tubes can prove a great way to save on your kitchen remodeling project as well as integrating energy-efficiency in your home.”
From Ways to Save on Kitchen Remodeling

8. Plan, plan, plan to avoid wasting money. According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), you should spend approximately six months planning and doing research on your kitchen. Otherwise you might end up buying building materials you don’t like, or making changes to ongoing construction projects — all of which could inflate your remodeling costs.
From 7 Smart Strategies for Kitchen Remodeling

9. Put “while you’re at it” projects on a separate list. And ask your contractor to give you separate estimates to keep your current budget on track. Home improvement spending is projected to slide another 12 percent this year. Your contractor will likely have time—and be glad—to come back.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest