Recoup Your Reno
Homeowners love saving money on their projects with a little sweat equity. Yet even DIY projects can cost quite a bit out of pocket. Here are 10 ways to get money back from your home improvement projects.
Take advantage of store rebates.
Many home improvement chains and hardware stores offer store rebates, and they’re worth taking a look at. In some instances, if you spend a certain amount of money or purchase particular products, you'll receive a gift card as a rebate. If you're purchasing supplies for a project, that gift card is like getting cash back for your home improvement.
Keep an eye out for manufacturer rebates.
When you purchase tools, appliances, or even certain materials, you may be able to obtain a manufacturer’s rebate, although you'll typically have to buy a specific product or set of products. Once you mail in the receipt, the manufacturer will send you a rebate check, which you can use however you'd like.
Use rebate apps.
A rebate app can be a helpful life hack, particularly when you're working on a renovation. On an app, you may even find a rebate that wasn't offered at a store or in a flyer. Most of the apps require you to purchase through the app and take a picture of the store receipt, but the cash-back amounts can be significant.
Use credit cards that offer cash-back rewards.
It's disturbingly easy to get into trouble with credit cards, but most homeowners will need to use them to finance at least some portion of a project. Before you make any project-related purchases, check into rewards cards that offer cash back. Many cards will offer 0 percent interest rates for a few months while also paying cash back for spending a specified amount within a given time frame. Particularly for those who can pay off the balance each month, using one of these cards is a no-brainer—it's like found money!
Contact your utility company.
Many utility companies offer rebates or discounts for renovation projects that will decrease energy consumption. This can include updates to electrical fixtures, appliances, or thermostats, or improvements to your home's insulation. The downside is that utility companies often require that you use one of their certified contractors.
Shop for Energy Star appliances.
It’s worth opting for Energy Star-certified appliances if you’re renovating your kitchen or laundry room, or upgrading major appliances like boilers or water heaters. There are many options available in every category, including washers, dryers, refrigerators, air conditioners, and more. These appliances will actually save you money on your utility bill each month, so you can keep more cash in your pocket.
Improve your insulation.
Did you know there was a time in our not-so-distant history, before oil prices began to skyrocket, when insulation was an afterthought? Many older homes still don’t have much insulation in their walls. If you’re embarking on a project, take the opportunity to insulate walls and seal around windows. These improvements can make a significant impact on your home’s energy bill and will pay you back month after month.
File for federal tax credits.
The federal government may ease your tax burden if you’ve completed particular renovations or maintenance projects in your home. These can include replacing furnaces, air conditioners, windows, or doors with more energy-efficient versions, or undertaking renewable energy projects (installing solar or wind power, for example). You may be able to take as much as 30 percent of the project's cost off your taxable income, increasing the amount of your refund or decreasing the amount you owe.
If your project involves replacing some of your home's features or fixtures, you may be able to donate your discarded building materials to a reuse center. Some projects lend themselves particularly well to donation. For example, if you're replacing your home's interior doors or putting in new kitchen cabinets, you can donate the doors or cabinets that you remove. In return, you receive a receipt that you can use at tax time to lower your taxable income. When you donate, you're spared the trouble and expense of having to haul away perfectly good items, and you gain the peace of mind of knowing that you've kept your discards out of the landfill.
Ask about professional referrals.
Some work may be beyond the abilities of the average DIYer. For projects that require professional expertise, ask your contractors if they offer a referral program. Many contractors pay cash to customers who refer a friend, family member, or coworker. If your contractor gives your friend a quote and it converts into a sale, you could see a check in the mail.
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