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Published: Friday, 7/16/2010

Smart ways to save money on summer home improvement projects

(ARA) - With summer in the air, you're just itching to get that home improvement project going. It's a great time to install a rain garden, improve storm-water runoff in your yard, redo your windows or siding, or even change the look of one of the rooms inside your house with new paint and furniture.

No matter what project you have on your summer to-do list, you're going to be shopping for supplies, and depending on how large your project is, the price can add up quickly.

Here are some tips to get your home improvement projects going, while keeping a bit of extra cash in your pocket:

* DIY - If you have any handy talents, you can save a lot of money by doing the project yourself, or by only contracting out part of the work where a professional might be required. If you aren't certain about installing a wood floor in your living room or are in need of landscaping ideas for around your back porch, head to your local library and check out several books on the topic for background knowledge.

* Negotiate work agreements with your friends - Having more hands on deck to help with the work will make the job go much faster, but you don't have to hire the help. Offer your friends a trade - maybe you'll take them out for dinner. Or volunteer your services on one of their home improvement projects. Just make sure they understand the trade before the work gets started so you don't abuse your friendship.

* Put cash back in your pocket when purchasing supplies - You can find great deals on supplies from leading home improvement retailers including Home Depot, Ace Hardware, American Blind, Lumber Liquidators and many more using online coupons and discount codes through Ebates.com. And at Ebates.com, not only can you get discounts for free shipping, or reduced prices at more than 1,200 online stores, but you will also get a check back in the mail for a percentage of what you purchase online.

* Look for contracting specials - If you do need to hire a contractor to help you with your project, look online to find specials being offered this summer. You can also find coupons for discounts in home improvement newspaper tabs or in the back of the phone book. Some of the more popular coupon topics include insulation, siding, windows and doors and roofing projects.

* Stage your project over time - You might discover your project is too much to handle - both physically and financially - in one season. The best recommendation is to break it down into mini projects. For example, if you want to landscape the entire yard, consider concentrating first on a vegetable garden or a flower garden that outlines the house. One advantage to breaking down a huge project is it allows you to discover how much maintenance and upkeep work you need to do on a yearly basis. You may discover you want to revise later stages of the project and make them maintenance free.

As the summer gets started, fast forward your imagination to this fall where you are enjoying that new room inside the house, or are sitting on your refinished deck and admiring your backyard with its fresh gardens. And you should feel a smile spreading across your face as you remember how much money you saved on your project.

Courtesy of ARAcontent



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