As mentioned in our 2018 Backyard Makeover Update, we are trying to keep costs low for our backyard projects. Well, we cut our costs and have saved over $2000 so far this summer! This started because of being on maternity leave for a year and the large unexpected expense of repairing a portion of our drain tiles in February (thank goodness for emergency savings). It has turned into a fun challenge. We’re excited to share how you can save money on your backyard too!
5 ways to save money on your backyard projects:
1. Use what you have
Do you have materials sitting around your yard or garage? Can you re-purpose or reconfigure what you already have? We saved money by composting, using leftover slate pieces and amending excess dirt from the drain tile repairs instead of buying all new soil for the raised beds. Alternatively, if you really don’t have a use for what you have, you can sell it for cash to put towards the purchase of what you do need.
2. Shop sales
We took advantage of mid-summer sales for patio chairs and outdoor pillows for our deck. Mid-season is a good time to check sales because stores clear their seasonal products to make space for the next season’s merchandise. Waiting a little longer can lead to even bigger deals. This is balanced by the amount of time you will get to use the seasonal item for the summer.
3. Find cheaper alternatives
Sometimes it comes down to what you are willing to use until you can really afford what you want. While we really wanted a large padded furniture set for around the fire pit, we decided on plastic Adirondack chairs until we’re ready to spend more. For now, they allow us to relax and enjoy the backyard in a comfy seat even if they don’t look as snazzy as the more expensive lounge sets.
4. Buy second hand
We have become Varage Sale fanatics! Before we buy most things, we check if anyone has it on our local online classifieds sites. Ideally, we anticipate our needs so we can wait until the item is posted. You have to know prices and the best way to search your favorite sites for this to be worthwhile. Sometimes people price items too high and the discount isn’t worth the time/gas to pick up. Buyer beware – we don’t usually buy big ticket items because there are no returns if they don’t work.
5. Use free materials
Not only are online classifieds fantastic for finding quality second hand items for less money, they also have a free section. Also known as our favorite section! From Varage we’ve picked up a free hose, patio table, wire for trellises and pots for plants.
Looking for building materials? Many people are giving these away for free because they don’t want to pay for disposal. Similarly, big box building stores and construction sites often have scrap bins where useable materials end up. Keep an eye out when you’re driving around for new home builds or renovations – PLEASE GET PERMISSION to be on the site and to take the leftover supplies. From a building site, we got material for 3 of our raised beds.
Pallets are another item you can often find for free because companies have to pay to get rid of them. Be sure you know which pallets are safe to use.
Don’t forget to budget!
You won’t save money on your backyard projects if you are spending money
you don’t have. Which is why it is important to budget for the expense of your projects. This works well because it spreads out your spending and can help you focus on one project at a time.
When we added our backyard makeover spending into our budget we spaced it out over a few months. Things were going smoothly until we saw the fire table we wanted go on sale for a great price. The savings were too good to say no to. Instead of just going ahead with the purchase we shifted our budget around to accommodate the extra expense. This meant reducing our fun, gas and a few other budgeted items for the month. It made for a much tighter month than we were planning. However, it felt good to make decisions to accommodate a want and know we had the money to cover the purchase.
I was shocked when I added up our savings from these 5 techniques. They do require some patience but $2000 is a huge chunk of change! Looking for more ways to save? Check out this post from Centsable Momma.
What do you do to save money on your backyard projects? Let us know in the comments!
-Denise and Sean
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