In the past 5 years the cost of some plumbing, electrical and home-building supplies have nearly tripled. Romex wire and copper pipes and fittings has nearly tripled due to rising copper prices. Electrical and Plumbing alone can count for a good portion of home improvement costs for this reason, you may want to keep an eye on those copper prices before you contract or even do your own improvements to avoid buying materials at highs. Keeping a budget can be hard because you don’t know what kind of prices to expect the next time you visit Lowes or Home Depot. I am not sure how you should time it exactly, but when you notice prices are low, you may want to purchase supplies then.
The best way of pricing materials at their lows can be done a couple of ways, but you should have a general idea of how much you should be spending. You can visit your preferred home improvement retailer, call, or even browse their online store for deals. My favorite happens to be searching online, since you can easily view prices of competitors or even find a newly discovered source. Home Depot and Lowes are the biggest home improvement stores in the US and are always running deals. I recently used a coupon and received 15% off appliances coupon with free delivery for brand new Fridge and Dishwasher from Home Depot, this deal was not even known obvious when shopping in-store the next day. Going this route will save you huge, you may want to use RetailMeNot as well since they have access to even more stores and savings. You may even want to signup online and subscribe to their mailing list and be informed the next time they run a special.
As far as contracting out work on your home, you should hit up the search engine again and get over the phone quotes from at least 5 different local companies specializing in field. If you happen to know of someone or a company that does great work at an affordable price then no need to research, especially if you trust them. One good practice when dealing with contractors is to be very clear on what it is you want done as well as material and labor costs. Knowing this before starting your next project will help you save as much as possible. Also thoroughly analyze project and budget for unexpected costs since you never know what your getting into until you’ve already begun.