A man calculating on how to save money from building house

Most people dream of owning their own home at some point in their lives. You, too, may desire to do the same, which is not surprising. The shelter is considered one of the basic human needs. It is a requirement for survival.

You can either buy a turnkey home or build it. But consider building your own house. Doing so ensures you get the kind of home that you want.  However, building costs can quickly spiral out of control. You may then end up being forced to abandon your building project mid-way. And then you’ll end up out of money and without the new home that you need.

Here’s the good news, though: if the total house building cost looks like it’s about to become more expensive than you anticipated, you can do away with what you don’t need. If you know what you are doing, saving money when building a house for cheap is possible. You can save thousands of dollars if you know what you are doing right from the start.

Here are ways to save money when constructing a dream house. Consider them the ten golden rules that will save you money while enabling you to complete a cheap house build every time you take on a house building project.

10 Golden Rules on How to Save Money When Building a House

1. Plan Your Budget Wisely

How often have you heard the saying, “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail”? Bear this saying in mind when you decide you want to build a house for cheap.

Start by planning your budget wisely. Set realistic expectations concerning your budget. For example, if you plan to build in Singapore, remember that it is one of the most expensive countries to live in. The average cost per square meter of buying a home in Singapore is 14,373, quite expensive right?

But if you intend to build on landed property and haven’t yet bought that piece of land, be prepared for the sticker shock. The average cost of land will be about $7,000 per square meter in most regions of Singapore. And that’s before you begin the building process!

So, setting a budget of 100,000 won’t even be enough to buy you a decent amount of land. It would only get you 14 square meters.  Decent bungalows on the landed property will cost you an average of $1600 per square foot. So even buying to renovate may also cost you more than you anticipated. It, therefore, pays to sit down and list your building priorities. 

Know when to save and when to spend to save thousands. Sometimes, that may mean planning for a two- or three-story building that occupies less land, so it’s less expensive.

Essential aspects of construction like land, roofing, foundation, plumbing, and wiring should be at the top of your list. Without them, your house will not be sound. 

However, when it comes to features like premium tiles, you can afford to make changes and get the most affordable options if your budget is tight.

2. Get Several Bids and Select a Contractor Wisely

Contractors having discussion in office

Once you have a budget ready, it’s time to get the right contractor. It’s part of every smart strategy for building a house for cheap. If you spend your hard-earned money on a contractor, ensure you get what you are paying for. Guesswork, therefore, has no place in the contractor selection process. Get several bids, investigate the contractors carefully, and then choose.

Good contractors and subcontractors will help clients achieve their dreams. But they will also be realistic. Their cost of doing business should be fair. And they should be the epitome of reliability, timeliness, and integrity.

You can get potential contractors by asking for referrals from your friends and family built in the past. It’s easier to get good contractors that way. Also, ensure you ask for references from those contractors that you have found for yourself. 

Ask for a name email and pursue those references to get information about your shortlisted contractors. Then check out their online ratings and reviews. This is when it pays to be nosy.

3. Build During the Off-Season

The cheapest houses to build maybe those constructed during off-peak construction seasons. When you choose to implement your construction project can affect your costs. The law of supply and demand applies.

If most builders in your location tend to be busier during the warmer or drier months, the chances are that their services will be costlier. The demand is usually higher, and they can afford to reject some projects. 

On the other hand, there may be fewer clients looking to build homes during colder or rainier months. That makes those off-season months the best for house construction. To save, you must go against the grain.

You will be in a better position to get the best contractor or subcontractor. And since the demand for their services will be lower, you can negotiate lower prices as one of the ways of saving money.

4. Choose a Forgiving Aesthetic Design

When building a cheap house, money is always an issue. You may run out of money before you complete all your projects. For that reason, you must select a forgiving aesthetic design to save money.

A forgiving aesthetic design is one that looks attractive, even when it is incomplete. It gives the impression that it was designed to be that way.

The minimalist look, the rustic design, and the industrial look are all great choices. They are characterized by features such as fewer furniture, bare wood, and concrete floors. These aesthetic designs are very forgiving. 

People will assume you meant for your home to look chic without doing too much, yet that wasn’t the case. And you can always renovate later when you have an additional budget for it.

5. Choose a Smaller and Open Footprint

No rule states you must live in a big house, is there? So, don’t feel the need to build a big home if you can’t afford it. Saving money requires smart decisions on your part.

Take the time to find a professional architect. Let that professional design a house with a small floor plan with all rights reserved. Explain your vision. 

If you intend to add to the house, later on, you can ask the architect to design a modular floor plan that will enable you to build in stages as you are able. Keep your blueprints and use them when you need to construct an add-on.

Also, think about asking for a home that has an open footprint. Putting up the walls from the foundation to the roof level can be costly. So the fewer your walls are, the more money you will be able to save.

6. Budget Upkeep: Stick to the Budget

To save money when putting up a home, you must be vigilant. At every construction phase, you need to practice goal-keeping concerning your budget. Know when to splurge and when to reel in those construction expenses.

Budgeting is a skill that you must learn. Anything can distract you from achieving your building goals if you are unfocused. People may have an opinion they want to impose on you concerning your building choices and priorities. Those houses that you see in construction and renovation magazines may tempt you to change your mind on every essential structure aspect. 

But it’s not about others – it’s about your perspective. So stick to the budget and find ways of getting the money for the next stage if you have overspent on a previous building stage.

7. Choose Eco and Go Green

Aerial view of private houses with solar panels on the roofs

Think about ways you can make your house energy-efficient right from the start. It’s much cheaper to live off the grid if you have designed a sustainable home than if energy efficiency is an afterthought. 

Fundamental decisions such as using drywall, gas, solar heating, natural ventilation, and light can be affected by your need for eco-friendly features. Including such features mid-way may cost you more than if you were to include them from the beginning.

8. Shop and Shop Around

Do not accept the first price that any supplier of a home build project quotes. Shopping around is one of the easiest ways to save money when building a home. Before you buy anything for building your home, talk to your contractors. They may know retailers or vendors that can offer huge discounts for bulk orders of parts, products, or services. 

It would help if you also shopped around to cut every cost. Investigate whether some local manufacturers or wholesalers offer what you need directly at more affordable prices. Shop around at your local retail outlets to see whether they have a clearance sale. You could send your contractors to check the products you need and determine whether they will work for your house.

9. Source Materials When Possible

While contractors can help you shop around, you may have to pay for their time or their mark-up price. And that could prove to be very expensive in the end. If you want a new home while saving thousands of dollars, then try to source for some materials yourself. While things like lumber, paint, drywall, etc. may be easier to source from your contractor or subcontractor, there are lots of items you can find on your own. Then you can pay the right contractor for installation and save money.

For example, did you know that people often offer free stuff through platforms such as Craigslist? You may be able to get hardwood kitchen cabinets, barely-used appliances, and free plywood lumber, etc. 

When people want to renovate and upgrade their houses or are moving away, they want to get rid of their stuff as quickly as possible. You can, therefore, find great deals by merely looking for building materials in the right places. Those that aren’t free may be very cheap to buy.

So, if you hear that some expatriates in your area are moving in or moving on, check around. There may be a garage sale you can attend to source for materials. It’s amazing what you can find when you pay attention to what’s going on around you.

10. Do the Work Yourself

Don’t underestimate sweat equity. How much work you, your husband or wife, your family, relatives, and friends put into building your home can considerably cut down the costs. Just make sure you appreciate their help by helping them return by feeding them and offering much-needed services like babysitting etc. 

Maybe you can’t install the roof, but you could learn to paint. Using a hammer is not difficult, either. And neither is sawing wood under supervision or landscaping with Google’s help or a gardening friend’s advice. 

Critical tasks like plumbing and wiring should best be left to professionals, though. You don’t want to cause flooding or start a fire in your dream home soon after moving in.

When you put in some hard physical work during the building phase, you will appreciate your new home more when it’s complete. You can point at some features and say, “I built that,” or “my friend made that for me.”


Remember that building your dream house is much more hectic than buying a home. But it can be much cheaper if you plan well and stick to the budget, even if it’s partly financed by a loan you have taken from licensed moneylenders like Raffles Credit

Most importantly, home building enables you to put your stamp in every space and corner of the new home you will live in. So, you get to save thousands of dollars and enjoy the new home you help to build. 

Are you planning to build your dream home? You can check out Raffles Credit to help you expand your budget during this important phase in your life. Visit Raffles Credit and shop the best loan deals to help you achieve your dream home!