How to DIY on a Budget

DIY isn’t Always Cheap

Have you ever come across a do-it-yourself (DIY) that looked amazing but once you added up the cost it was more than buying it brand new? Yup! One too many times! Let me tell you how to DIY on a budget!

Personally, when I DIY the reason is either I want something to be unique or I want to have something that is a lower cost. If I think I could possible make or do it, I want to try!

Over the past few years I have learned a few tricks to keeping the costs of my DIY’s much lower and it does take a bit of planning!

DIY ironstone and spray painted basket all bought on a budget

Have a Plan

What is the end goal? Do you know the overall style you want to accomplish? Knowing this answer will help you save money in the long run! Having similar colours and finishes throughout your home means buying in bulk and using here and there.

White is my go-to colour and I always will buy a can of good quality white paint when it is on sale, even when I don’t need that much! Keeping the covers on tight and storing properly will ensure the paint will last. Majority of hardware stores will let you bring in a can of used paint to be professional shaken and stirred too!

One of my goals for 2018 was to fill my buffet with ironstone but my budget was too tight for the real thing. Instead I bought jugs and jars and used the white paint on hand to make DIY my own ironstone.

Be Familiar with the Hardware Store

Being familiar with your hardware store will always pay off in the long run. Wandering through the aisles you can get idea for new projects, have an idea of the cost of materials and tools.

Almost all of the stores have an online flyer or website and this can be super helpful for watching those sales! Take advantage of the lower prices to stock up on items you use often!

annie sloan paint and wax bought and used for DIY

Know Your Staples

What do you use all of the time? What is one purchase you use a little bit every time? There is the obvious of paint brushes and rollers, but for my own projects, I have found that a clear wax like Annie Sloan’s is super versatile! You can mix and add colours to create a custom wax colour.

There are certain colours I use over and over, white, cream, dark wax, black matte black spray paint, white spray paint. Two items that are must-haves are primers! One is good quality, blocks every stain primers (Zinsser BIN is a good one!). The second must-have item is polycrylic. Water-based, non-yellowing sealant. Why do all the work and not protect the paint?

mixing your own paint colours perfect for low cost DIY

Mix Your Own Paint

Now this is in small quantities. For a larger project, I would be requesting the help at my local hardware store but small projects? I can do it myself.

I have my staple favourite colours. One thing that does not look good? Too much of the same colour! Instead, I will mix my colours to lighten or darken. This gives me the slightest bit a variety without having to purchase a new can of paint.

It is also another argument for hanging onto cans of paint with barely anything left. You can use it to tint or shade other paint.

drop-cloth fabric is a budget friendly alternative

Versatility of Dropcloth

Not only will this keep your floors clean and paint splatter free, but it is also some of the best fabric for projects! There are different brands and blends and it can be trial and error.

My favourite is from Home Depot, there is no seam (some brands are two sheets sewn together), 100% cotton and super thick!!

You can bleach it, dye it, make no-sew curtains from it, use as it but whatever you do wash it in hot water first! Than dry on high hot heat so you shrink it a bit.

basic sewing skills make projects easier

Basic Sewing

Don’t roll your eyes and tell me how you cannot sew. There are a bazillion tutorials on how to sew and many of you did pass Home-Ec in junior high. The truth is sewing will make so many of those DIY’s easier, quicker and a bit more custom.

Want new pillows? No problem! New a hem on too long curtains? Fix them up! Basic sewing will expand your DIY capabilities.

a hand painting a board

Painting for change

Painting can give you the best bang for your buck. The quickest way to makeover any piece of furniture or decor is adding a little paint

Old lamp from thrift store that will have a  DIY makeover and bought on a budget

Second Hand Stores

“But I never find anything!” Number one mistake right there! The trick to amazing finds is HAUNTING those second-hand stores. Popping in often and browsing.

The key is persistence, it will pay off! Months will pass and never purchase and in two days you could fill your trunk. Buying from thift stores, yard sales and auctions can help you DIY on a budget.

The more you go, the more chances for treasures. You also become more familiar with pricing too. Some of the second-hand stores like Value Village have coupons that you receive for donating and can use for shopping (decluttering and a discount, how can you lose?). Others, like the Restore Store by Habitat for Humanity, will have 50% off sales.

Do Your Research

Last little tip is to do your research! There are so many blogs across the internet and Pinterest with tutorials and tips on DIYs. Taking the time to read will save you any frustration of a failed project.

Hoping these tips helped, some are common sense but others might be a tip you had not considered yet!

no comments
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

Hi there



DIY, massive (slow) renovation on a budget, momming 5 little ones, farmhouse & vintage goodness, Canadian Mom blogger

Featured Posts