Home renovation tips – how to save money
Everyone wants to live in a dream home with gorgeous aesthetics straight out of an interior design magazine. But if you’ve already bought your very own HDB, chances are you’ve taken a huge dip into your savings and could really afford to reel in on the spending.
Whether it’s preventative measures to save you from future hassle and expenditure or ways to style and furnish your home at significantly slashed prices, here are 7 money-saving home renovation tips.
Don’t forget that there are rebates and GST vouchers available to support you in your home renovation and ownership journey!
For more BTO and renovation-related articles, check out:
- Guide to applying for BTO
- Affordable HDB renovations
- Minimalist HDB designs
- Multi-purpose home appliances to upgrade your HDB or BTO
- Guide to BTO household items & renovation decisions
1. Overlay existing floor tiling with vinyl instead of hacking
Image credit: Vanchitecture
Ever since the days of Sims, Pet Society and other games which allowed you to customise a beautiful virtual abode, getting to choose your ideal flooring material and design has been an #adulting fantasy to strive towards.
Hacking existing flooring and redoing the entire tiling design spells downtime, additional charges, and the tedious need to ensure water-levelling and waterproofing is all done perfectly to prevent major issues in the future. Unless a risk has already been identified which warrants hacking to rectify, save yourself the trouble and opt for a vinyl overlay in whichever design tickles your fancy.
2. Plan your electricity plugs strategically to avoid multiple rewiring in future
Image credit: Focus SB
Electronic devices practically run our daily lives, so it’s best to plot all the plugs you need ahead of time along with the specific locations where they won’t get obstructed by furniture. Having to fight your cohabitants for the limited power points results in unnecessary tension, and First World Problems as simple as not being able to charge one’s phone or laptop somewhere near the bed will make any homeowner wish they had more foresight.
Installing new, separate electrical outlets after your home is completed could cost as much as a few hundred per plug, so plan wisely.
The good news is that once every 3 months, eligible HDB households will receive a GST Voucher called U-Save (short for Utilities-Save), each valuing up to $100 depending on the HDB flat type. This would help reduce your total utility cost. Under the Open Electricity Market, eligible households will continue to receive the U-Save GST voucher regardless of which electricity provider they opt for.
3. Use paint in creative ways instead of a feature wall
This eye-catching geometric design can be easily achieved with just masking tape and your own preferred palette of paint colours.
Image credit: @eliza_rose_home
A feature wall may draw “oohs” and “ahhs” from all your visitors, but it requires a significant monetary investment and an even bigger commitment. Imagine waking up one day and finding the design intolerably hideous; what then?
Toy around with streaks of colour and, while the visual impact is on par in a more subtle and understated fashion, you don’t have to worry about hacking down a whole feature wall should your tastes suddenly change. Just paint over it, and it’s good as new!
4. Buy display sets or go to furniture shops with price-match policies
Transforming your bare-bones unit into a full-fledged sanctuary is all down to the furniture you fill it with, but this doesn’t equate to emptying out the rest of your bank account. Purchasing display sets at furniture store showcases will shave a couple hundred bucks off the price. And if you’ve ever taken those display sets for a test run, you’d know that nothing on show ever really gets dirty or damaged enough to even be noticeable.
Furniture shops with price-match policies are also a godsend for homeowners on a budget. Say you put a deposit on a piece of furniture from one place only to discover that it’s retailing at a lower price over at a competitor store. Flag this to your original retailer and they’ll match that price!
5. Go for a minimalist style with fewer built-ins
Image credit: Qanvast
Those with cash to splash probably envision a dream home with the whole shebang, where every last inch is fitted with additional features that all add up to cost an arm and a leg. Not only would such a concept leave a huge dent in your pocket, it could also end up looking tacky and serve to be more of a hindrance to maintain than a positive resource in your daily life.
Thankfully, “less is more” serves as a timeless concept, one that holds true even beyond the minimalist trend that has swept over Singapore of late. Ditch the fancy fix-ins determined by whatever’s in trend and opt for a no-frills, decluttered sanctuary comprising of just the bare essentials.
6. Check on debris removal charges with HDB to prevent inflated quotes
Image credit: Qanvast
When we fantasise about home renovation and dream makeovers, we neglect the burden of clearing debris brought on by hacking down walls, unloading of cement and raw materials, plumbing replacements, so on and so forth.
Referred to as haulage or debris removal, the proper procedure comes with a fee that may range from a couple of hundreds to over a thousand bucks, depending on the size of your home and the extent of renovation work. To avoid getting overcharged by your Interior Designer (ID), do your due diligence and check in with the HDB rep directly. If you suspect that your ID has provided inflated quotes, you can also write in to your Town Council for verification.
7. Pay for big-ticket items with credit card to earn miles and cashback
Many people possess the mindset that cash transactions are always safer, as they prevent you from falling into the trap of spending money without any immediate subtraction. However, in a phase like new homeownership where you’re making several large expenditures, there’s no better time to whip it out and start raking in the benefits.
Credit card perks such as cashback accumulation and redemption of flight miles take forever to work towards when you’re spending meagre cash on daily necessities. Make sure to swipe your big-ticket purchases like those multi-thousand dollar furniture sets to really see your points soar in an instant.
Save money on your new home with GST vouchers and rebates
Officially becoming a homeowner is one of the biggest milestones in our lives, a level-up achievement we dream about since young. Unlike “happily ever afters” in fairy tales though, there are still bills to pay and hefty expenditures from having a place to call your own. A penny saved is a penny earned, so use your GST voucher and rebates to help with your utility bills and conservancy charges.
Service and Conservancy Charges (S&CC) basically refer to the payments that all HDB residents have to make to sustain cleaning and maintenance of common areas such as void decks and staircases, including pest control services. To provide financial assistance in day-to-day expenses, eligible HDB households receive between 1.5 to 3.5 months worth of S&CC rebates depending on flat type, from April 2019 to January 2020.