After becoming overwhelmed with all the high estimates for the renovations we would like to do, I have finally compiled a renovation budget. My system is this:
1 - Make an excel spreadsheet listing all the renovations you would like to do and each part of the renovation. For example, our kitchen includes: Cabinets, counter tops, appliances, sink, appliance hook-up costs, cabinet installation costs. It is easier this way to break down the items and see where you can trim costs.
2 - Establish the total amount you would like to spend on the renovation. Deduct 10-20%. This is what you should work with for a budget. Divide the costs among the pieces of your renovation, with a total at the bottom.
3 - The following columns should list your estimates from professionals who will do the work, or prices you have found for materials. This way you can easily see the difference between the costs.
4 - After each section total for the estimates, create a formula to note the difference in the price from your budget (ex: 'sum="contractors price total" - 5,000') This way you can see where you are over and under budget for certain projects.
* Don't forget about the additional costs (ie: contractors % fees) add those in to the total.
* The extra 10-20% you set aside is left for unforeseen costs in your renovations
* Get more than one estimate for a specific job, this way you can see what costs are averaging.