washing paint brush
Back to Living and Lifestyle

How to save money on DIY

For many of us, more often than not, one of the main motivations to take on some DIY at home is to save money that you might otherwise spend on having a tradesperson do the job for you.

But it’s surprising how even doing it yourself can quickly become more expensive than you expect, as there’s many things you’ll need - from tools to materials.

So here are some tips to save money when embarking on any DIY project, big or small.

Use YouTube to up-skill

YouTube is an amazing resource for anyone who is ready for a spot of DIY, but doesn’t necessarily have all of the skills and experience for the job. You really can find videos for pretty much any job around the house, from the fundamentals, such as how to hammer in a nail properly, to guides on how to build your own garden office or how to tile a wall.

This means that some of those jobs that may have been out of reach in the past - and required the expense of paying a tradesperson to do the job - are now possible for many of us. So why not make the most of YouTube to upskill.

Beg and borrow tools

Most households have at least a few basic tools. But once you get into DIY, and tackle increasingly complicated jobs, you can quickly find that a specialist tool will really make your life easier.

However, if it’s a bit of kit that you’ll only ever need once or twice, then buying it new would be an unnecessary expense. Instead, you could start by asking a family member or friendly neighbour if they’d be happy to lend you theirs. People are often chuffed to be able to help out, so don’t be afraid to ask! You could always ask them for advice on the job at hand, while you’re at it.

If you’re still struggling to find a particular tool, then you could check if your local DIY store offers a tool hire service. There may also be local tool sharing schemes that can help. 

Clean up after yourself

When you’ve finished for the day, before making a cuppa and putting your feet up - to bask in that well-deserved, warm glow of self-achievement - always commit just a few more minutes to cleaning your tools and preparing them for next time. It’s likely to save you time in the long run.

Just think how many paint brushes must end up in the bin because they haven’t been cleaned after use. But it doesn’t stop there - with proper cleaning and maintenance, you can extend the lifetime of your tools ensure that they will remain rust-free.

Finally, put them back where they belong - in a good toolbox if you have one – where they’ll be safe and dry. 

Don’t cut corners… or take on too much

The savvy DIY enthusiast makes sure they get a job right the first time. If you cut corners, or botch a job, then you’ll just have to do it again eventually. And that means spending more money on materials, as well as wasting your time. It might sound corny, but the old saying ‘measure twice, cut once’ is always worth remembering when undertaking work in the home. 

By the same token, try not to take on too much. Some jobs are best left to the pros. If you have a go at a job that’s way beyond your capabilities, then you might end up having to spend more to have it rectified. Or, worse, you or someone else in your home could get hurt, so it’s good to only tackle jobs you feel comfortable with.

Keep your leftovers

You never know when that odd-shaped timber offcut, or strip of carpet, could come in handy. 

If you do have leftovers and are feeling handy, there are tonnes of ideas on sites like Pinterest on how to use them, from chopping boards made out of kitchen surface ends to a bird house constructed from decking offcuts. 

Be a savvy shopper

It’s a no-brainer that to save money on DIY, it’s worth investing in good value materials and equipment. 

One good starting point is to use a price comparison site like Google Shopping, which will trawl through retailers' products, to find the cheapest deal.

After all, it’s amazing how much prices vary. Last year Which? compiled a basket of 18 popular DIY items to compare prices charged by a variety of popular retailers[1]. You might be surprised that online superstore Amazon was the most expensive, with a basket of items costing £206.03 – a whopping 36% more than the cheapest, which was B&Q at £151.80.

Know when to call a tradesperson

While apps like YouTube have expanded the DIY possibilities for many people, it’s still important to know your limits. 

For instance, electrics should only be tackled by professionals, and when you need your gas boiler fixed, it will need to be done by a Gas Safe registered engineer – these are two areas that are too dangerous to tamper with.

That still leaves plenty of tasks around the house that you can take on yourself, often at little cost. So, get stuck in!


[1] https://www.which.co.uk/news/2021/08/revealed-the-best-and-cheapest-diy-shops/