13 Ways to Save Money When Painting On a Budget

painting on a budget

Everything looks new when you give it a “fresh coat of paint,” but the cost to do so hinders people from taking the leap.

And, it’s no surprise – why!  

A professional painter may charge anywhere between $4,000 to $5,000 for the labor and materials for the exterior. And it’s another $820 to $13,500 for painting the inside (depending on the rooms and total square feet area).

If you hire per hour basis, the hourly rate of painters can range anywhere from $20 to $65, with an average of $50 in most cases.

If you pre-plan a painting project, you can pull off the ultimate look, coming across as a professional painter yourself… even if you’ve never picked up a paintbrush before.

What things do you need to know to pull off this task successfully and within the budget?

We will look at them here…

What Expenses Could You Incur with A Home Painting Project?

The cost of a home painting project will vary based on the material being painted, the product used, and where you live.

However, in general, the majority of expenses will fall into two key categories:

a) Labor Costs:

The most expensive aspect of a paint project is the labor.

A painter spends more of his/her time prepping the surface to be painted to ensure the paint sticks and lasts for years to come. You save yourself a ton of cash if you choose to do the sanding, patching, cleaning, caulking, and painting for yourself. 

b) Paint and Materials:

The next costliest expense is the paint, which can run anywhere from $15 to $75 a gallon.

The cost is dependent on your preferred grade, sheen, and additional features.

For example, some paints are mold-resistant, whereas others don’t need as many coats or offer a lifetime warranty. 

If a warranty comes with paint, weigh the pros and cons to determine if it’s worth it.

In most cases, there are a minute number of exterior stains and paints that don’t last long, and you’ll likely want to paint again before it’s exceeded its lifetime.

Talk with a painter to get his/her to take on the best paints available.

Remember, a few added costs to a paint project will also include:

  • Brushes
  • Rollers
  • Tarps
  • Tapes
  • Other supplies and equipment 

These are typically added to the cost but not individually broken down. 

save money when painting home

Painting House on a Budget – How to save?

The average cost to paint a house’s interior can be from $1 to $3 per square foot of floor space.

If you have a large two-story house you need to paint, be prepared to spend around $10,000 total for about 3000 square feet of area.

However, if you do it yourself and wisely use the paint, you can save yourself a lot of money.

Besides this, what other cost-saving methods could you implement and carry out?

Let’s have a look…

1- Avoid Waiting Too Long 

You want to make sure your painting project is done before you notice signs of wear on the surface.

If you notice surfaces with chips or peeling paint, you’ll have to spend more hours prepping the surface to be painted.

A professional painter can speed up the process but will charge you for this time, adding up the costs—the less time spent on prepping a surface, the more money you’ll save.

2- Do-It-Yourself Painting 

As mentioned before, if you don’t have a lot of money (or just want to save money), consider taking the project upon yourself.

Remember, paint is going to be a considerable expense, but you still have to purchase (or rent) the equipment and supplies, including but not limited to brushes, caulk, ladders, primer, tarps, etc.

Make sure to use a brush and not spray to avoid over-spraying frames and shingles, especially if you are not a pro. 

3- Make the Preparations

You need to do a few things before you start painting your surface – clean the walls, cover knobs and floors with tape or tarp, take off the switch and outlet covers, etc.

If you get paint on something you didn’t want, it can be a costly fix.

In fact, it could lead to the purchase of new hardware. 

4- Take Measurements of Wall Space 

It’s not bad to have leftover paint, as you can use it to cover dings or holes in the future.

If you have a lot of it, storing or disposing of it can be a challenge.

Take measurements of the wall space and put the numbers into a paint calculator to find out how many gallons will be needed.

If you have a bigger, open-concept space, you may want to purchase a bulk amount of paint to save yourself money.

5- Choose Your Paint Wisely 

Don’t go for bargain-based paint, as it usually takes more coats to cover the walls.

Make sure to invest in paint that offers a certain quality level or has important features (self-primer, for instance).

Always consider the wall’s current paint when determining the paint you need.

You don’t have to invest in premium paint either, as most people tend to repaint rooms before it wears out. 

Also, if it’s a garage or basement, you want to paint; a lower-grade paint will do just fine. 

For example, I would suggest middle-grade acrylic paint, as it will last a long time with its surface gripping and doesn’t cost a lot.

how to save money on paint supplies

6- Be Cautious When Painting 

After all your planning and prepping, painting sounds like the easy part.

You may want to rush the process, but it’s essential to take your time.

Make smooth, even roll to ensure the paint job is done correctly.

Rushing leads to mistakes, and mistakes mean more money spent – to rectify them. 

Invest in self-priming paints instead of buying a primer to save yourself money.

If you plan to paint over a light color with a dark color or the walls are rough, you should purchase a cheap primer to keep you from buying several gallons of paint. 

7- Share Your Supplies

Although paint will expire, the supplies won’t, and you can use them repeatedly.

If you can’t find your supplies, you can always borrow them from a friend or neighbor and return them when done.

When borrowing isn’t possible, you can also consider companies like Clare and Backdrop that will send you a painting essential kit right to your door.

When you have the supplies now, your next painting project will be less expensive. 

8- Attain Multiple Bids 

When you are hiring a contractor to get the paint job done, it’s imperative to get bids from more than one contractor.

Ask friends and family for recommendations or conduct a search online at sites like Networx or the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America to find local licensed and insured painters. 

Find out how many hours it’ll take a painter to do the job – from the preparation to the painting itself.

Learn what products will be used, how costs are applied, and if there are any ancillary expenses. 

save money on painters

9- Have a Written Agreement 

When you choose a painter, be sure it’s a written agreement that includes how long each part of the job will take.

Also, it should include the estimation of painting costs, like if you have a 3 bedroom house, how much should it cost to paint such a house interior.

You can go with a simple contract that includes what will be done, how many coats of paint will be used, what kind of paint, and the suggested color. 

10- Ask if You can Help Your Painter

If you choose to use a painter, ask them if they’ll reduce their price if you take on some of the duties: 

  • Cutting shrubs
  • Moving furniture 
  • Prep work such as sanding, scraping, and patching
  • Taking off the outlet covers, doorknobs, or switch plates and then re-installing them

11- Forgo Extras

Review the painter’s contract to determine if there are extras that you can forgo for now.

For instance, you may decide to repaint closet interiors or ceilings at another time. This will save you both on the labor and on the paint. 

12- Be Intentional with the Paint

If money is an issue, don’t change the color of your walls.

By using the same color, one coat of paint may be all you need.

This is especially true if the condition of your surface is good.

Do not use deep colors such as reds or bright yellows, as to get a suitable coating needs at least four coats.

If you do go with these colors, premium paints will reduce the number of coats needed. 

Although dark colors look good on exterior surfaces, they will fade more quickly than light colors. So, you’ll need to repaint the surface sooner.

IMO, you should be going with bold on the inside but stay neutral on the outside.

13- Using the Same Color Paint

While you may not want to paint every room the same color, reusing the same-colored paint will lower the costs you incur.

You don’t have to paint every room the same but use the same shade on trim and ceilings, which will create a cohesive look and let you purchase it in bulk.

Baseboards and trim need regular touch-ups, so you can buy them in bulk and have them on hand. 

The Bottom Line

Labor will be the most significant expense of a painting project, but it’s also where you can save the most (if you do the job yourself).

Even if a professional painter came in and helped, make sure you follow the few strategies I have mentioned above. Hopefully, these can save you a good amount.

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