Whether you’re trying to renovate your bathroom or add an island in your kitchen, you’ll likely have to save up some money before making headway on your list of home improvement projects.

While saving for such a large expense can be tricky, there are a few ways to increase your home improvement budget while keeping your eyes on the prize.

1. Minimize Expenses

One of the simplest ways to increase your renovation budget is to minimize expenses and check your spending habits. You may not notice you’re overspending on frivolous things like food and coffee until you analyze your monthly spending. For instance, the average American spends nearly $100 a month on coffee alone. By setting aside this money to spend on home improvement projects, you could easily save close to $1,200 within a year.

Other spending habits include monthly streaming subscriptions and energy bills. You may view these as fixed charges that you have little to no control over. However, you always have the freedom to cancel memberships and subscriptions for a few months to save money.

Likewise, you can insulate your home, install a programmable thermostat and seal drafts to minimize monthly energy bills this winter.

2. Make Saving a Habit

Another easy trick to saving money is to pay yourself first. Instead of immediately spending your income on bills, groceries and other necessities put a portion of it into your savings account. Then, you can use the remainder to cover your rent and other recurring expenses. If there’s anything left over afterward, you may use the rest to eat out or go shopping.

Paying yourself first will make saving a habit so you won’t have to think twice about putting money aside for your home improvements. Moreover, you won’t be able to talk your way out of prioritizing savings. Set up an automatic transfer to make monthly deposits from your checking to your savings account to make the process even easier and remove any temptation to spend that money on unnecessary things.

3. Ditch the Fancy Friends

Reducing your budget for entertainment and dining out might be easy for some people. However, social butterflies and those with a big friend group may struggle to cut expenses and save. From buying one-too-many drinks at the cocktail bar to going putt-putting on the weekends, spending time with people who have money and like to spend it could be problematic.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, it may be time to ditch your spendthrift friends. Turn down more invites than you accept and avoid expensive nights out on the town. You might also have an honest conversation with your friend group and share your home improvement plans. Find affordable ways to hang out by having potluck dinners and watching a movie at home. If your friends are good ones, they’ll be willing to work with your new budget.

4. Start a Side Hustle

Have you always dreamed of being your own boss? Do you want a super easy and fun way to save money? Start a side hustle. Whether you love walking dogs or want to sharpen your baking skills, turning your passions into profit is a relatively straightforward way to pad your income and save more money.

Of course, building a side hustle to profitability while still working a full or part-time job can be challenging for some. However, if you choose a hobby or craft that you already enjoy and practice on a regular basis, turning it into a small business won’t take much more effort. Create an online profile for your business, market to family and friends, and get creative. If it becomes too overwhelming, you can always back off a bit or try something else.

5. Pawn Jewelry

If making your own jewelry and selling it to your social circle doesn’t sound easy or fun, try pawning jewelry instead. This strategy is ideal if you need cash fast and have a few high-end pieces you no longer wear. Vintage jewelry can also be quite valuable, especially older, rarer gems and precious metals. However, it’s best to keep your expectations realistic and have a reputable jeweler appraise your pieces to find out how much they’re really worth.

The jeweler should analyze the jewelry as more than the sum of its parts. In doing so, they’ll study the weight, karat and market price as well as the clarity, color and cut of each stone. Bring the appraisal document with you to the pawn shop. They may still only offer you half of what the piece is worth. However, if you have proof of its value, you may be able to negotiate a higher price.

Stretching Your Dollars

As you know, renovations and home improvement projects can be expensive. Why else would you be reevaluating your entire budget? Yet, there are ways to stretch your dollars further and do more for less. For instance, you might caulk and weatherstrip your home instead of adding expensive attic insulation.

A fresh coat of paint, a layer of fertilizer and a new backsplash can also work wonders when it comes to freshening up your home and making it feel new again.

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