How to upgrade your home with $100 or less


When Erin, a blogger from Minnesota, told us that she could make over a room for $100 or less, we had to see it to believe it. And boy, did she come through. A dining room upgrade for $23? No problem. A new-and-improved laundry room for $85? Done. How about an unrecognizable bathroom for under $33.50? We're not lying.

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How to Upgrade Your Home With $100 or Less
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How to Upgrade Your Home With $100 or Less

HOW TO UPGRADE YOUR: Dining Room

Before:

 

After: 

Erin ditched her pine tabletop for cedar wood planks that she bought for $23. She then painted the legs of the table a rustic blue color. The best part? She did it with paint she already had! So, word to the wise, always check what you have before you buy!

Grand Total: $23
 

HOW TO UPGRADE YOUR: Bathroom

The master bathroom is one of Erin’s favorite room makeovers -- and we think it’s ours, too. The frugal blogger painted over her oak vanity with an 8-oz. jar of satin enamel paint for just over $5 -- and it covered the entire vanity with two coats! She finished it off with elegant knobs from a craft store, for just over $17. Pro tip from Erin: Craft stores often have coupons, so don’t forget to take advantage of them!

Check out the finished product below.
 

READ: 4 DIY Projects for Under $50 That Can Transform an Entire Room

She also bought deeply discounted pieces of leftover wood for her local hardware store, for 95 cents each, to create accent shelves in her master bathroom. She did away with shelf brackets and opted for corner braces instead to stay on budget, and she gave them a chic finishing touch with oil rubbed bronze spray paint.

Grand Total: $33.50

HOW TO UPGRADE YOUR: Laundry Room

Erin made the most changes in the laundry room -- and it was totally worth it. With cedar picket fence posts, wood dowels, and wood glue, she created a wood overlay that’s now resting on top of an existing (and less visually appealing) wire shelf. And instead of buying a brand-new dryer, she sprayed her old almond-colored one with appliance paint to have it match her shiny new white washing machine. Genius!

Grand Total: $85

WATCH: 4 Cheap + Easy DIY Projects That Actually Look Like a Million Bucks

HOW TO UPGRADE YOUR: Accents

If you’re anything like Erin and her husband, you have a lot of scrap wood hanging around in your garage. If so, don’t let it go to waste! Erin loves a farmhouse rustic feel, so she built a DIY ladder and a planter as accent pieces in her home. The only purchase she had to make for the ladder was twine -- which was only $1.80. She did splurge by accessorizing with a Turkish towel and a charming wire basket -- but what’s a home makeover without one or two splurges?
 

As for the planter, the most expensive part of the project were the fake plants -- but the grand total still only came to $17.
 
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Luckily for you, Erin shared all of her tips -- so you can upgrade your home on a budget, too!

Watch the video above for a peek into Erin's home, and visit Erin's blog, Lemons, Lavender, and Laundry for more DIY inspiration.

READ: 60-Second Home Renovation DIYs ANYONE Can Do

Related: Expensive projects you should always DIY

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36 Expensive Services You Should DIY
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36 Expensive Services You Should DIY

1. Do Your Own Mani-Pedi

Manicures and pedicures can cost as much $20 to $50 apiece and sometimes even more, depending on where you go for this luxury service and what extras you purchase. Save money by pampering your nails yourself. You'll need to purchase some items upfront to DIY, but handling these tasks at home will add up to big savings over time. When doing your own mani-pedi, just stick to the five S's: soak, scrub, soften, soothe and seal.

Check Out: 10 Spa Day Products — Without Spa Day Prices 

Photo credit: Getty

2. Give Yourself a Facial

A facial from a high-end spa can run you around $50 or more — but not if you do it yourself at home. The key to a truly great facial is not to cut corners by skipping steps or skimping on products.

Like a mani-pedi, you'll have to invest in some products, but again, the initial investment will pay for itself over time. You'll need something for exfoliation, clay for pore cleansing, and skin-calming and rehydrating products

Photo credit: Getty

3. DIY Chemical Peel

The average chemical peel costs around $100. But you can save yourself money and a trip to the salon by doing it yourself at home, according to TotalBeauty.com.

Try Juice Beauty's Green Apple Peel. It costs only $45 and promises to give you a brighter complexion as well as diminish wrinkles and fine lines. 

Photo credit: Getty

4. Color Boost Between Salon Visits

A color glaze or gloss will run you about $50 at the salon, reports TotalBeauty, but you can boost your color by yourself at home. Not only will you add a few weeks between coloring appointments, you'll end up with shiny, glistening hair. You can find a box of John Frieda Clear Shine Luminous Glaze at Walgreens for about $9 to $10. 

Photo credit: Getty

5. Relax Your Hair

The average hair-relaxing treatment costs a brutal $160 at the salon, according to TotalBeauty, but you can get comparable results at home. Try Optimum Salon Haircare — you can buy these relaxers online for about $7 to $10 through retailers like Walgreens and Target. 

Photo credit: Getty

6. Groom Your Dog

Owning a dog can be expensive, especially when you factor in grooming costs. But you don't need to take Fluffy to a professional and pay $20, $30, $40 or even $90.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, you can easily brush, bathe and trim your dog's nails at home by yourself with just doggy shampoo, a brush and clippers. 

Photo credit: Getty

7. Prepare Your Own Taxes

Professional tax preparation costs can put a dent in your budget, but millions of Americans can get help filing their federal tax returns for free. The Free File Alliance, for example, is a nonprofit company that provides free electronic tax services through different tax software options.

Don't Miss: 50 Tax Write-Offs You Don’t Know About 

Photo credit: Getty

8. Handle Your Own Investments

Even the cheapest discount brokers can charge between $5 and $10 a trade. But with a little research, you can invest on your own for free with services like Robinhood.

"This single practice can save the average person tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of their investing time frame," said Trey Henninger, investing blogger at DIYInvesting.org. "Instead of hiring a financial advisor to select what index and mutual funds you should invest in, you can do it yourself with only a little bit of learning on the topics. This simple act can cut your investing expenses by a large margin."

Photo credit: Getty

9. Clean Your Own Gutters

Cleaning the gutters might just be the dirtiest job any homeowner faces. Neglecting them, however, can lead to water damage in both the home's roof and foundation. The average reported cost to have gutters cleaned by a professional is $145, according to HomeAdvisor. 

Photo credit: Getty

10. Make Your Own Cleansers

"Making your own cleansers at home is simple, more cost effective and also great for the environment," said Shanika McCloud, founder of Greenplicity. Here is one of McCloud's favorite recipes to replace expensive, chemical-based, all-purpose cleaners:

In a spray bottle, combine 1 cup of warm water and 1 cup of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar along with 2 teaspoons of Castile soap. Add 10 to 20 drops of essential oils of your choice. Replace the cap and shake vigorously.

Use as you would any other all-purpose cleaner for wood, glass, stainless steel and porcelain. Wipe with a microfiber cloth or paper towel. If you are unsure of how a particular surface will react to the cleanser, test on a small area first. 

Photo credit: Getty

11. Paint Your Home's Interior

Painting is one of the quickest, easiest and least expensive ways to give your home a dramatic makeover. It's even less expensive if you do it yourself. The average reported cost of having professionals paint your home interior is $1,670, according to HomeAdvisor. But that price can drop to just a few hundred dollars if you do it yourself.

You'll have to decide on your color scheme and buy supplies like rollers, brushes, paint tape, paint and primer. You'll need to remove the furniture, clean the walls, and remove outlet covers and switch plates. Next, outline trim, baseboards and edging with paint tape. Finally, apply two coats of paint and then touch up baseboards, trim and any spots. 

Photo credit: Getty

12. Paint Your Home's Exterior

Painting your home's exterior can beautify your home as well as add curb appeal and value — but it will cost you. The average professional exterior paint job costs around $2,624, depending on square footage, the number of floors, and the composition of the material, such as stucco or vinyl siding. You can dramatically reduce that cost by preparing your home for painting and painting some exterior features yourself.

Painting doors can knock off between $70 and $150. Painting fascia will save you between $500 and $1,000. If you do your own gutters and downspouts, that will save you between $200 and $800. 

Photo credit: Getty

13. Change Your Oil

The average professional oil change costs $46 dollars if you use conventional oil, according to Angie's List. To do it yourself, you'll need some plastic sheeting, rags, a rubber mallet, wrench set, oil pan, safety glasses, funnel, oil filter, oil filter gasket and, of course, the correct motor oil.

Watch: Car Repairs You Really Can Do Yourself 

Photo credit: Getty

14. Replace Your Air Filter

Your car depends on oxygen just like you. Replacing the filter regularly — every 15,000 to 30,000 miles, generally — will improve your vehicle's performance. But getting it done by a professional can run you between $40 and $100 depending on the make and model, according to Angie's List. It is fairly easy, however, to clean or replace the filter yourself.

To clean your car's air filter, just locate the filter, remove it, wipe it clean, clean the housing and then put it back. If it needs to be replaced, just take out the old one, clean the housing and put in the new one.

Photo credit: Getty

15. Fix Your Leaky Radiator

"Most people think they’re either going to need a mechanic or a great set of tools to fix a leaky radiator in their car," said Clayton Parks, vice president of strategic development at Bar’s Leaks and Rislone.

"A quicker, more affordable way is to do it yourself with a product that is designed to stop leaks and repair them from within, cooling the system and cleaning out unwanted residue,” he said. Bar's Leaks 1196 Grey Radiator Stop Leak runs about $4 on Amazon, which is significantly less than you would likely pay for a mechanic's labor costs. 

Photo credit: Getty

16. Repair Your Leaky Head Gasket

A blown head gasket can be one of your most expensive auto repairs. But you can get in front of that expense by plugging the leaks before the gasket is destroyed beyond repair.

"Go to a mechanic, and this could cost you thousands of dollars," Parks said. "However, there are products out there that can solve this problem without the hassle of a mechanic — and without the cost, as well."

Try BlueDevil Pour-N-Go Head Gasket Sealer, which costs about $26 on Amazon. All you have to do is pour it in according to the instructions — the solution does the rest. 

Photo credit: Getty

17. Wash Your Own Car

The average car wash costs between $6 and $9, according to Angie's List, with more comprehensive packages running between $10 and $20. It can cost $1 or $2 extra to do the tires, between $2 and $5 for clear coat and wax, and between $12 and $20 for high-end services like interior cleaning and mirrors. And don't forget the tip. You can avoid all that, however, by washing your own car.

Don't wait so long that a layer of grime builds up — wash off dead bugs and bird droppings whenever you notice them. Use a dedicated car wash product — not dish soap or detergent, which could be too harsh for your car's paint — and a soft, nonabrasive cloth or sponge, according to Consumer Reports.

Don't wash the car when the body is hot, and rinse thoroughly with water to remove surface dirt before you begin. When you're finished, rinse with a hose that doesn't have a nozzle, which encourages sheeting. Don't let the car air-dry. Instead, use a chamois.

Photo credit: Getty

18. Tune Up Your Car While You Drive

"You can optimize your car’s gas mileage without taking your car in for a tune-up," Parks said. "A complete fuel system gas treatment can be used on a regular basis to boost octane, clean and condition lines, and improve overall fuel economy, making the money you save go even farther. Most people aren't aware that these easy, affordable and safe DIY products are out there, but they're delighted when they find out," he said.

Lucas 10013 Fuel Treatment, for example, runs about $20 to $25 a gallon on Amazon. 

Photo credit: Getty

19. Make Your Body Your Gym

The average gym membership costs roughly $58 a month. You can eliminate that cost completely by using nothing but the body you were born with and gravity.

Whether you want to slim down or bulk up, there are countless workouts, exercises and routines at your disposal. From the common pushup to brutal squat thrusts, there are plenty of exercises you can do that will enable you to reclaim your health without leaving the house. Your options are limited only by your imagination.

Related: 10 Cheap Fitness Apps to Replace Your Gym Membership 

Photo credit: Getty

20. Brew Your Own Beer

The craft beer market is a $22.3 billion industry, according to the Brewers Association. No matter how big a piece of that pie belongs to you, you can save money — and have a little fun — by taking up home brewing.

Most beginners start with the malt extract method before they try more advanced methods. You'll need to make an up-front investment in some supplies, and sanitized equipment is a must.

Basically, you boil water and malt extract, add hops and yeast and seal in a fermenter, which you then monitor for three or four weeks. You then prime the mixture with sugar to encourage carbonation and transfer the mixture to a dispensing container. Finally, you fill, cap and store bottles for two to three weeks to allow for carbonation, at which time the beer will be ready to drink. 

Photo credit: Getty

21. Make Your Own Wine

The average bottle of wine costs $8.98. If you're a wine drinker, cut down on your expenses by learning the craft of making wine at home. It’s difficult to say how much money you'll save by making your own wine because the equipment varies dramatically in quality and, of course, it depends on how much you drink.

The process involves choosing, inspecting and cleaning your grapes, followed by the critical stage of adding juice, or "must." From there, you'll "rack" the batch and bottle the wine.

Related: Top 27 Wines Under $20 

Photo credit: Getty

22. Roast Your Own Coffee

A common personal finance tip is to make coffee at home instead of buying it on your way to work every day — and that is good advice. You can slash the cost of your daily coffee fix even further by purchasing raw coffee beans and roasting them yourself. The cost of coffee has many variables, from quality to export tariffs in the country of origin, but the cost of roasted beans can be several times the cost of green coffee beans.

You don't need an expensive roaster. You can roast the beans in a pot on the stove or even in a popcorn maker, according to frugal living expert Lauren Greutman. Either way, the key is to keep the beans moving and flipping the whole time. Remember to open your windows because the stove process lets off some smoke.

You can roast to your own level of darkness, but it generally takes about 8 to 15 minutes. You shouldn't grind or seal the beans for a day or two while they outgas. 

Photo credit: Getty

23. Grow Your Own Vegetables

Growing your own vegetables is one of the best ways to improve your health and boost your budget. A $70 investment in a 600-square-foot garden can produce 300 pounds of fresh produce with a value of $600 in one season, reported US News & World Report. That's a net savings of $530.

You can set up a basic backyard garden in one day. Decide what to plant, clear the ground, and improve and loosen the soil to get started. Next, plant and water, then mulch and maintain.

See: How to Save Money at the Farmer's Market 

Photo credit: Getty

24. Employ Smart Landscaping

When you do your own landscaping, not only do you avoid paying a landscaper, you can lower your annual bills and the overall cost of owning a home. Trees can lower the temperature by 20 to 40 degrees in the summer, which can slash your energy costs by between 20 percent and 50 percent, reported U.S. News & World Report.

It takes only three strategically placed trees to save the average homeowner between $100 and $250 a year. With a $135 expenditure, you can beautify your yard, boost curb appeal and save around $115 a year.

Photo credit: Getty

25. Dry Clean at Home

With the average cost of dry cleaning a two-piece suit at $9.50, maintaining your professional wardrobe or specific pieces of clothing that can't be washed can get expensive. But you can alleviate these costs by picking up an inexpensive dry cleaning kit and doing it yourself at home in the dryer.

You can get a Dryel dry-cleaning kit for around $22 on Amazon. The package contains a booster spray, cleaning cloths and reusable bag. Each carton can clean up to eight garments without stretching, shrinking or fading them. 

Photo credit: Getty

26. Mow Your Lawn

You can hire lawn care professionals for flat fees, hourly rates or monthly retainers. The average reported cost of regular lawn care is $675, according to HomeAdvisor. Eliminate this expense by performing this task yourself.

Popular Mechanics recommends cutting around the perimeter first and cutting a wide enough collar so you can turn without clipping flowers or hitting obstructions. Leave the blade high — buzz cuts can't grow deep roots, so they need more water, plus short lawns grow more weeds. Go slow and focus your gaze about 10 feet in front of the mower. The following week, mow the opposite way to even out the direction the grass leans.

Photo credit: Getty

27. Prune Your Trees and Shrubs

Pruning trees and shrubs is critical to keep your plant life healthy and radiant. The average reported cost for tree pruning is $410, according to HomeAdvisor. When you do it yourself, you can save money and make your yard more attractive.

Photo credit: Getty

28. Install Your Insulation Yourself

The average reported cost of having insulation professionally installed is $1,543 for the batt, reflective or rolled variety, which is the pink fiberglass insulation you see in many attics, according to HomeAdvisor. Whether it's for a drafty attic or a refurbished garage, if you do it yourself, you'll pay nothing more than the cost of materials.

Make sure you buy insulation that has the right R-value, which indicates its ability to withstand temperature transfer. Keep in mind that different insulation types require different installation methods.

Photo credit: Getty

29. Remove a Tree Stump

Americans pay, on average, $276 to have a professional remove a tree stump, reports HomeAdvisor. But if you do it yourself, you can save money, improve your yard's appearance, get rid of a potential hazard and make the lawn easier to mow.

Cut off as much of the stump as possible with a chainsaw, then drill holes in the flat surface about 12 inches deep, three or four inches away from the edge. Next, drill horizontal holes through the side, parallel to the ground, to connect with the vertical holes. Pour potassium nitrate stump removal granules, which you can get for less than $10, into the holes, then fill the holes with water. After four to six weeks, the stump will become spongy and soft, according to The Family Handyman, which will enable you to chop it up with an ax and remove it. 

Photo credit: Getty

30. Seal Your Driveway

Sealing an asphalt driveway can extend its life and help the surface survive difficult winters. But the average reported cost to seal asphalt paving is $395, according to HomeAdvisor. This is a job you can handle by yourself, but only if your driveway is at least six months old. Don't seal new asphalt.

You'll need a squeegee tool and a professional sealant, which will cost about $40. First, clean the debris, dirt and oil off of your driveway and tape the area around it that you don't want to seal.

Pour a 6-inch-wide bead of sealant out from one side of the driveway to the other, starting at the garage and working toward the street. Use your squeegee tool to spread a very thin film evenly across the entire surface, making sure not to miss any spots. Let it dry for 24 to 48 hours. 

Photo credit: Getty

31. Be Your Own Mover

Moving is inherently stressful and difficult. If you're going to save money by doing it on your own, planning is critical. Start preparing about two months before your moving day.

For a couple of weeks, you should focus on organization and sort and gather supplies. Around six weeks out, begin numbering boxes and packing nonessential items.

As you get closer, deal with administrative tasks, like notifying utilities and forwarding medical records. Reach out to friends and family who you might be able to recruit on moving day. Then, strategize how to use up remaining food stores and figure out how to handle your pets and plants.

Stay organized as you go, make and follow a checklist, and make defrosting your freezer and fridge the last order of business.

Read More: The Best-Kept Moving Secrets You Need to Know 

Photo credit: Getty

32. Clear Your Clogged Drain

Clogged drains can cost $81 to $500 to clear, according to HomeAdvisor. But you can tackle most clogs on your own. First, try the plunger. If that doesn't work, clean the trap under the sink and insert a sewer snake down the pipe. If those efforts don't work, your last option should be a chemical drain cleaner.

Photo credit: Getty

33. Install a New Faucet

The average reported cost to install a faucet is $242, according to HomeAdvisor. By doing it yourself, you can get the job done for as little as $100.

First, you should remove the drain lines from the faucet, according to The Family Handyman. Check for working shutoff valves. If you don't have them, install them. Measure supply tubes and purchase a basin wrench.

Disconnect the garbage disposal, then disconnect the water supply. Use the basin wrench to loosen and remove the old faucet. Next, place the flange over the faucet opening according to the manufacturer's guidelines and tighten the faucet-mounting nut.

Then, tighten the flange nut and attach the spray hose to the faucet supply tube. Mark the supply lines for cutting and connect the supply tube to the supply lines.

Photo credit: Getty

34. Make Your Own Hair Mask

Hair masks can easily cost more than $50. Gina Layland of Spa Pechanga at Pechanga Resort & Casino, however, knows a hair moisturizing treatment that you can do at home.

These are the steps:

  1. Using coconut oil, apply generously to hair and leave on for at least one hour — or even overnight — and cover your hair with a cap.
  2. Using apple cider vinegar diluted with water, apply to hair from roots to ends. This will strip your hair of any buildup and leave it smooth and shiny.
  3. If you’re trying to strip chlorine from hair, sprinkle on some baking soda and massage it into your hair before you wash with shampoo as normal. Make sure to towel dry instead of blow-drying on high heat. If you must blow dry, do so at the lowest setting.

Pro tip: Run a dryer sheet over your hair to tame frizz and flyaways.

Photo credit: Getty

35. Fix Your Toilet

“Running toilets waste an enormous amount of water in a home — up to 200 gallons each day, adding an extra $50-$70 to the monthly water bill," said Danny Lipford, host of Emmy-nominated, nationally syndicated TV show "Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford."

According to Lipford, worn out flappers or incorrect water levels are usually the culprits in a running toilet scenario.

"Both of these are easy and inexpensive fixes for homeowners," he said. "Skip the plumber’s hourly rate of $45 to $150 an hour and manage the water level yourself by adjusting the screw on the top or bottom of the intake valve. Head to the local hardware store for a $5 replacement flapper and follow the instructions to install." 

Photo credit: Getty

36. Install Your Own Light Fixtures

"Changing outdated or broken light fixtures in your home not only brightens your decor, but new pendants, chandeliers and wall lights will provide energy savings as well," said Purav Kapadia, president of lighting retailer Linea di Liara.

The problem, however, is that many homeowners are intimidated by the job and assume they have to hire an electrician, which costs from $50 to $100 an hour, according to HomeAdvisor.

“A more affordable way is to do it yourself," said Kapadia. "Please make sure that before installation, you disconnect power to the fixture at the circuit breaker or fuse box. Remove the old fixture and follow the instructions supplied with individual lighting products."

Up Next: Cheap Renovations That Increase Your Home's Value 

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