How to spend and stay on track in your project budget

Is it possible to stay on budget during your renovation or new build, especially whilst you’re spending your budget on construction?

There are 3 key strategies I recommend for those wanting to stay on track in their project budget. Let’s go through them, and the tools you can use for tracking your renovation or new build budget overall.

One of the things I often see occurs is that homeowners will be so diligent during their early phases of their projects. Total ninjas when juggling competing demands, sorting their priorities, hunting down bargains, making strong decisions so they meet their budget.

And then construction will start.

They’ll head to site and start seeing progress. And then they’ll start changing things. Or they’ll see a material or fixture somewhere, fall in love with it, and have to have it – even though it’s more than what they’d originally budgeted for, or already selected.

This might be because construction feels like the last point at which you can be sure you’ve got it right. Your last opportunity to ensure you’ve made the best choices because once it’s in, it’s permanent and you’ll be living with it.

And perhaps too, it’s because it can be hard to visualise things when they’re all on paper. You’re looking at lines on a page that represents rooms and spaces and joinery. Often homeowners will walk on site and say “Oh, is THAT what it looks like” like it’s the first time they’ve actually realised.

When you make changes on site: be it because you’ve not understood how something actually was designed … or you see an alternative product or material you would rather use … or you change your mind about anything you’ve previously selected or included in your design … these changes rarely save you money.

More often than not, they cost MORE in time and money.

And it’s in these changes that homeowners can blow their budget. They’re spending a little extra here and there. All those ‘little extras’ add up over time, get a builder’s margin added onto them, and can end up being a big budget blowout.

In this episode, I share the ways you can spend your budget wisely, and stay on track for your project, as well as the tools you can use. I go into detail on these three specific strategies:

  • Strategy 1: Start how you intend to finish … and finish how you started
  • Strategy 2: Monitor your progress – in time and money
  • Strategy 3: Be realistic about your own abilities

Following these strategies will help you to manage the spending of your budget with the same discipline you set it with. And ultimately that will help you stay on track in your renovation or new build, and deliver the finished result without huge financial headaches.

Listen to the podcast now to learn more about these strategies and stay on track with your spending!

Links mentioned in the podcast

Microsoft now has a template you can use to set up your budget in excel.

Pocketbook is one of my favourite apps for streaming your bank account and tracking / categorising transactions.

Renovation Budget Tracker ($4.50) is another app you can use.

Check out AMP Budget Tracker where you can enter budgeted amounts and track spends against them online.

Tom’s Planner is great for setting up a project program.

Craig Thomas from KiikoLED shares with us some key tips about LED Lighting and how to get it right.


This season, Undercover Architect has a podcast partner: Kiiko LED.

Kiiko LED is customisable, DIY, LED strip lighting, that you can order online to your specifications, for your needs and project.

Kiiko LED is founded by Craig Thomas, who I’ve personally had the pleasure of working with for over 12 years now, in my own projects, and in client projects.

And so I’ve been able to organise with Kiiko a fantastic UA Community only offer. If you head to their website at www.kiiko.com.au/undercoverarchitect you’ll be able to access a $25 discount to use on your first order.

Check it out, and start building your Kiiko LED strip lighting now!


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