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DIY Diet – 16 Ways to Keep Your Home Improvement Budget Healthy


15-paint-flickr-Doha Sam
Photo credit: Doha Sam / Flickr


The cost of upgrading your home can add up quickly. What started with a little paint and some new light fixtures can turn into a vicious cycle of one more thing followed by just one more thing. Before you know it you’re in the middle of a major renovation.

Like having a few too many of your Aunt Emma’s pancakes at Sunday brunch, sometimes you get more on your plate than you can really handle. The key is planning ahead and knowing when to stop. To keep your home improvement budget healthy try these handy tips. You’ll be a lean mean do-it-yourself machine.

16. Oops Paint

Many paint stores have a collection of paints that for whatever reason were returned as unsatisfactory or were never delivered. There is nothing wrong with the paint but either it was not tinted correctly or too many cans were prepared for the order.

Typically there will be a spot of dried paint on the lid that will show you the color you are buying. The price to buy a gallon of “oops” paint is a fraction of what you will pay for a standard can, but you can still get great colors and top quality paint.

The drawbacks are that you normally have to take the paint as-is with no additional tinting. You are also limited to the amount they have in stock. If you run out of paint and you want more, it will be a little more difficult to get exactly that same shade to complete the job. If you want to buy more of the same color you will have to go to a paint store with a spectrophotometer.

If that sounds a little technical, don’t worry. Major paint retailers all have computer based color matching systems that use spectrophotometry. There are also free apps now available so you can snap a picture of your half painted wall with you smart phone and find the right color of paint to finish the job.

One way that you can plan ahead to make the most of great deals on “oops” paint is to bring along some accent items from the room you plan to paint. You may be able to match a color from one of your accessories with the available colors. Use that color as trim paint or as paint for one feature wall.

Pro Tip

California, Oregon and Connecticut are the first three states to have legislated paint take-back programs that require paint retailers to set up and administer programs to properly manage leftover paint, according to the Paint Care website. Four more states are set to follow shortly.