How to Get Money Back While Improving Your Home
Yellow Brick Home's Scott and Kim Vargo reveal ways to get money back on your home improvement projects
February 27, 2024
Written by Scott and Kim Vargo of Yellow Brick Home
Home improvements can be a great way to find more enjoyment in the space where we spend the majority of our time. Something as straightforward as a new sofa or dining table can have a huge impact on the comfort of your home and the way you use it. Home improvements costs, however, can add up quickly! On top of the cost of home furnishings, construction costs for structural and finish changes are at record highs.
All of these expenses can spiral quickly beyond an established budget, so we’re sharing a few tricks that we’ve kept in our back pockets over almost 15 years of renovating homes with increased value in mind.
Scott and Kim Vargo of Yellow Brick Home
Combine Sales and Store Points
We’ll start by stating the obvious. One of the easiest ways to save money is by purchasing things on sale! Paying less up front certainly cuts down on initial costs, but how do we go about getting additional money back? We combine or ‘stack’ sales and store points!
For example, when we initially replaced the kitchen appliances in our Chicago home, our budget was tight. We needed to find every way possible to lower our overall costs, so we got creative. To begin the process, we did enough research to land on the suite of appliances that would best fit our overall design and budget. We then watched prices and waited for the best sales and made our initial appliance purchase at a significant discount during a Memorial Day sale. That sale rewarded us with a digital gift card once our first appliance was delivered. We then used that gift card to purchase the next few appliances during a Fourth of July Sale. We earned more rewards with that purchase, and we redeemed them during a Labor Day sale, finalizing our appliance suite.
Over the course of one summer, we saved close to $2,000 on our appliance purchases by watching sales and redeeming rebates! The process can be time consuming, but the staggered payments also made it easier for us to budget while other portions of the kitchen renovation were underway. For us, it was a win on multiple levels.
Sell the Items Being Replaced
This goes without saying, but friends are often shocked when we tell them how much money we were able to recoup by selling the items that we replaced! In the appliance example above, we sold off the working, although mis-matched, appliance set one by one and made over $500! This added up to an additional savings of around 15% on the appliance set we purchased at a significant discount.
We also organize a block-wide yard sale most summers to sell off smaller items we’ve replaced throughout the year. While this definitely takes a bit more effort than simply having the delivery team that drops off new items haul away the old ones, we find the savings to be very much worth the effort!
Consider Local Utility Rebates
As you upgrade items in your home, consider looking into your utility providers for cash back or discounts on the improvements you’re making. For example, your energy provider may give you a rebate for energy-efficient upgrades. We took advantage of a similar program when we upgraded our furnace and added central air conditioning to our home. Although it was a large expense, it was an upgrade we had planned for, and the big rebate from our energy supplier was the cherry on top.
Take Advantage of Credit Card Cash Back Offers
We’ve been loyal Capital One customers for over a decade, so this one feels like second nature to us. In addition to smaller, baked-in rewards on daily purchases, we also take advantage of statement credits of up to 10% at some of our favorite retailers. These credits can typically be found on our card statement’s home page. Look for the word ‘offers,’ and you may be pleasantly surprised with the additional rewards available to you!
These credits often come as a happy surprise when it comes time to pay our credit card statement each month. We prefer to let our rewards cash build over time, then redeem it for something special, such as a family vacation!
Purchase the Right Item, the First Time, for the Least Overall Cost
Overall, we do our best to get the best value out of every purchase and that rarely means buying the ‘cheapest’ item. We find lots of satisfaction in purchasing the right item at the least overall cost by tapping into the tips outlined above. We gravitate toward products that are well-designed and made to last, which helps to minimize environmental impact and long-term cost of ownership.