Home Improvement

Budgeting for Quality: Where to Spend and Where to Save in Your Home Construction Project


Creating a home of great quality and workmanship can be affordable. By making intelligent choices in what you pay more for and what you can skimp on, you can have a home that is sturdy, comfortable, and beautiful. This chapter goes over what I believe are the most important places to spend money and invest in for better building and what I think are the places you can save without compromising the type of house you really want to live in or the resale value it will have should you move.

Where to Spend for Quality:

Foundational and structural components:

  • Your home depends on a good foundation. You can’t afford to skimp on something so important. Repairs to structural problems are not only expensive but also often very disruptive.
  • Spend money on: Top-notch concrete, necessary reinforcement, meticulous soil testing, and adept foundation specialists.
  • The reason it’s important is that a strong base keeps everything stable and free of problems. An iffy foundation can give you all kinds of issues, now or later, structural (as in “my house might fall down”) or livability (as in “wow, I can really hear my neighbor’s fight”).
  • How can we make our homes more efficient at conserving energy? One key component is insulation. Both old and new homes should have a good thermal envelope, which means the home is well-insulated and sealed from drafts. With this kind of envelope, homeowners can save energy and, more important perhaps, reduce energy bills. Insulation can be added in the open cavities of walls that have been opened up during remodeling or when new construction is happening. This isn’t a bad idea, nor is it unexpected; in fact, most insulation in the country is installed this way. Stone walls, not being open-cavity walls, did not have the luxury of added or injected insulation.
  • The savings from long-term investment might seem like a lot up front, but they pay for themselves with reduced energy cost and an overall more comfortable place to live.
  • Spend your money wisely on the following: high R-value insulation, window upgrades, energy-saving appliances, and, in some cases, solar panels.
  • What’s at Stake: A house with good insulation keeps warm when it’s cool and cools when it’s warm, making it very energy efficient. Insulation saves money by lowering both the heating and cooling costs of a house. And, very importantly, insulation is the “technology of the home” that pays for itself in many ways over many years. Insulation is a cornerstone of the whole concept of energy-efficient building, which is the current major alternative to the ’70s-style, all-electric, heat-pump, let-the-sunshine-style of building.
  • High-grade Materials.
  • When you pick quality materials for your home, they’re going to take a bigger bite out of your wallet at the point of purchase. But now consider this simple, basic truth that hardly needs elaboration: Quality pays. In fact, quantity doesn’t pay at all; it only serves to put even more money in the pockets of the people who make cheap products. Quality is not only better in the usual sense; it’s a better deal.
  • Put your money into roofing materials that will last, such as metal or slate, and siding that will stand up to the weather, like fiber cement or brick. Your house will gain value, too, with hardwood or engineered wood floors, and solid fixtures.
  • It is important to consider what materials are used when building a home. This is because the materials used affect not only how the home looks but also how long it will last. For these reasons, it would be wise to use high-quality materials when making a home. Why? High-quality materials look good, hold up well over a long period, and are environmentally friendly.
  • How to make wise choices when it comes to saving money.

Endings and Fittings:

  • Nudge the allure of top-notch upgrades aside. Hanging crown molding or installing a chandelier are costly. Beginner budgeters can and should form the habit of choosing mid-range options. Will they be as aesthetically satisfying as authenticity to your desired form and function? Perhaps not at first blush. But you can always summon Willow Moonlight and upgrade this apartment later.
  • Cut your costs on fancy faucets by turning to stylish, functional alternatives that you can often find for far less. Instead of an elaborate, luxury model, think about what will sufficiently serve your needs, then look for a simple, attractive, and well-designed alternative.
  • Lighting fixtures are another area where you could unnecessarily blow your budget. Instead, think through what you really want to accomplish with your lighting design, then search for much less expensive fixtures that will achieve the same effect.
  • Finally, appliances. Here again, you could easily spend a fortune on a high-end range or refrigerator. But you can get machines that do the same basic job with almost as much style and performance for a lot less.
  • The art and craft of growing plants with the idea of making the area around a home or office more attractive.
  • Simple as they come. Of all the wallet-draining things you can do to your house, basic landscaping takes the cake. But it also pays for itself in added curb appeal and the first impression it makes on potential buyers. So start with that and count it as your first step toward enhancing the appearance of your home.
  • Cut costs by avoiding extensive hardscaping, highly priced mature plants, and elaborate water features. Instead, concentrate on crafting an esthetically pleasing, useful yard using straightforward plantings and hardscape basics.
  • Do-It-Yourself (DIY) undertakings or endeavors have become popular, especially with the younger generation. Anything from woodworking to sewing, painting to upcycling can be labeled as DIY. All a person needs to do is harness their creative side and sketched something up. That vision gets translated into a plan and, ultimately, into a real-life project.
  • You can save money by doing some home renovation work yourself. If you’re a DIY kind of person, try your hand at painting, installing floors, or even building some of your own furniture. It’ll take some extra time and a lot of elbow grease, but you’ll be able to keep a lot of cash in your pocket that would have otherwise gone to paying workers’ wages.
  • Cut costs by doing the work you can and should do without professional help. Nonetheless, understand your limitations and don’t take on jobs you can’t handle.


Achieving a top-notch, affordable home can be done with skillful budgeting and decision making. A solid foundation, good insulation, and the right type of building materials are essential to building a home that’ll stand the test of time and extreme weather. “Investing in these must-have pieces of your home is a must because they decrease the number of times you have to repair or replace,” says Dan Faires, a renovation expert for HGTV’s “Dream Home.” Using top-notch craftsmanship (or builders who employ it) during these key stages is also important since it’ll only get more expensive to fix later.

Note: Find construction information and good home building companies like Grit Build at https://gritbuild.net/

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