The stockings are hung, the halls are decked, and your HVAC system needs a total upgrade. Or your bathroom needs remodeling. Or it’s your kitchen that needs work before you can welcome your friends and family into your space for the holidays. Well, fortunately we have this incredibly useful Home Remodeling & Renovation Guide to help you get started. Badly timed renovations that coincide with the holidays can be a challenge to both your patience and your wallet. If you’re wondering how you can afford to complete these renovations, here are some practical tips for renovating before the holidays.

Plan early

Take a pointer from Hallmark. Every year, the card store puts its Christmas decorations on display as early as July. Unless you’re a dedicated collector of Hallmark keepsake ornaments, you probably think the summer is too early to start thinking about holidays. But there’s method to the madness — at least when you apply their schedule to your finances.

The earlier you start preparing for your holiday renos, the better prepared you’ll be. With a cushion of time, you’ll:

  • Have longer to research contractors and other professionals you’ll need to complete the work
  • Have more time to order materials and accommodate delayed shipping
  • Have longer to save to make sure you can afford each part of your plan.

Budget well

Timing isn’t the only way you’ll be financially ready to take on your renovations. You need to save effectively as well. A budget can help you do that. It helps you focus on areas of your spending that’s limiting what you can spend. For example, after tracking your expenses, your budget might show you’ve spent nearly $1,500 on pizza last year. We can all appreciate a slice of ‘za now and then, but that’s a lot of money to be spending on takeout.

It might not be pizza that you’re spending your money on; it could be something entirely different, like data overage charges, online shopping shipping expenses, or the latest pair of shoes. You need to keep a keen eye on your budget to weed out your bad habits. If you can reduce what you spend on these items, you’ll have more cash to put towards your renos.

Organize backup

The holidays are hectic without taking on household renovations. The frenzy only amplifies when you start tearing into your home.

Don’t throw yourself at the mercy of the chaos. It’s your renovation, whether it goes smoothly or not. And in all likelihood, it won’t go smoothly. Even a summertime renovation is liable to go off the tracks. Renovations at any time can reveal unexpected damage, or they can tailspin out of control when a contractor bails on their work.

These and other mini-emergencies happen all the time. That’s why experts suggest you prepare for these emergencies, adding as much as 25 percent on top of your budget to cover any surprise issues that come along. For smaller renovations, another 25 percent of your budget is relatively easy to cover, but large-scale renovations (say, a whole kitchen re-design) will take a lot of cash. Adding another quarter to this bill can be difficult.

Starting to save early can help you cover this emergency budget. If you aren’t sure how to jumpstart your savings, check out the latest MoneyKey blog post. It shares simple yet effective ways to limit your spending to boost your savings. As online lender, they offer these tricks as a way to help their customers improve their finances without relying on an online loan.

The holidays are a busy time normally. Add renovations into the mix, and you’ll wonder where all your free time and money is going. You can help keep track of these things by planning your projects well in advance with a proper budget. Get an organized head start so you can juggle both the holidays and your reno without losing your cool.