True or false: millennials are bad at managing money?

The number of homeowners choosing to improve their current residence rather than move is increasing, with approximately four million households a year undertaking some kind of home renovation. High property prices along with the cost of moving are key reasons for staying put, with a building project often a cheaper way to create some extra space.


Projects may end up costing more than intended though, with 40% of homeowners exceeding their original budget according to the Hiscox Renovations and Extensions Report 2018. The report concluded that:

“Here’s where age and experience would seem to pay dividends with only 26% of over 55s going over budget compared to 59% of millennial homeowners.”

On the face of it, this statistic appears to play into the ‘frivolous millennial’ narrative. Is this another suggestion that millennials are poor at managing their money? After reading this, the idea stuck with me for a few days; would my parents really be on point for how much their renovation was going to cost? Just because they have carried out work in the past doesn’t mean they would be familiar with current rates.


The same report highlights that younger generations are more likely to renovate for practical reasons, with just 22% renovating to keep up with design trends versus 41% of over 55’s. Young families aren’t moving when they outgrow their home - they can’t afford to – which means that the type of projects millennials are carrying out are more complex than an aesthetic overhaul. With that comes more risk and potential for hidden costs.

‘Decorating the nursery’ becomes a highly skilled construction project when it involves extending your one bedroom flat to the side and rear (whilst propping up your neighbour above) and relocating the kitchen and bathroom, all to create an extra bedroom for a new baby.

On top of this, millennials are likely to be completing home improvements with less disposable income or savings than their more mature counterparts, meaning that they are under pressure to achieve more for less.

It is possible that younger homeowners have higher aspirations for the look of their projects, using more expensive materials and finishes. Perhaps inexperience does play a part through false optimism about what can be achieved. It’s a complex picture, not easily unpicked.  

Whatever the reasons, I suspect money management isn’t one of them. As Olivia Rudgard argues in her Guardian article, ‘Stop trashing millennials for not saving enough money – they’d love to, if only they could’, contrary to being bad with money, millennials have to work harder to manage their money in a difficult financial setting. I feel that the same rings true for home renovations.

It’s our experience that millennial homeowners are more willing to educate themselves on what to expect from their renovation projects. We estimate that around 79% of the attendees at our workshops fall into the millennial age group, keen to learn how to manage their projects and budget accordingly.

While there is much speculation around millennial spending habits in the press, when it comes to owning a home it’s clear that younger homeowners have to work much harder to achieve the house that they want. Luckily, if there was a generation able to rise to the challenge, it would appear to be this one. 

Join our membership

Getting started on a renovation project is hard! 

Take your first step to getting the home you want and go from thinking about renovating to having a clear, actionable plan for your project!

Our HomeNotes Journal is here to bring you clear and up-to-date information for Homeowners renovating their homes.

Sign up to receive our monthly newsletter with latest news, articles and offers for homeowners.

Continue reading >>

Don't Move, Improve Awards 2021

We've been big fans of the Don't Move, Improve! awards since they first began. We take a look at this year's entries, and boy, are they good!

Read More →

Making the most of your outdoor space

If you’re living in London, then chances are you’re severely lacking in one department: outdoor space. But even if you only have a small patch to play with, this space can do so much for you with a bit of care and forward planning.

Read More →

Top five questions to ask before hiring your builder

Asking your builder the right questions upfront can save you money, and headaches! Here are five essential questions to ask before hiring...

Read More →

Your ultimate guide to extractor fans

Our complete guide answers all your extractor fan questions (even those you didn’t know you had!)

Read More →

Meet the team: EJ Ryder

Edwin J Ryder and his team specialise in bold, creative design and impeccable workmanship in their joinery and interior finishes. We spoke with Edwin to find out how they work with clients on their property renovations.

Read More →

Why well designed homes cost more

Good design isn’t just a luxury for those with the biggest budgets; it’s a sound financial decision for everyone. We take a look at The Modern House and their approach.

Read More →

How much will my extension cost?

When it comes to home-renovating this is the most common question we get asked. So let's get right to it, how do you work out the REAL cost? Read on to find out >

Read More →

Your ultimate guide to cabinet handles

Handles are that small but important detail that can really lift a piece of furniture or a space. But look no further for your ultimate guide!

Read More →

How to use colour in your home renovation

Committing to colour in your renovation can be daunting but read on and find out the ways you can use colour in your home - with confidence!

Read More →

Should I stay or should I go?

It’s tempting to try and ‘live in’ while your house is being extended or improved. Here we explain why that might not be the best option…  

Read More →

Why we're over open plan living...

Open plan spaces look great in the magazines, but are they practical for the realities of family life? Read on to find out why we think there's a better solution.

Read More →
Dont move improve front image

Don't Move, Improve awards 2020

Once again, the ‘Don’t move, Improve’ awards run by the NLA has brought a bevy of beautiful inspiring residential projects to the fore! See the full 25 shortlisted projects here.

Read More →
New Decade of Sustainability 2020

The new sustainable decade is here

2020 is here and change is afoot. In light of the global shift to action, we want to help homeowners in the UK to make sustainable choices for their projects. Read our commitment to you at the start of this new decade.

Read More →
Katie Flaxman from Studio 31

Meet the team: Katie Flaxman from Studio 31

There’s plenty to shout about when it comes to landscaping your garden – even if you’re on a budget. We talked to director Katie Flaxman of Studio 31 to get her insights on the whole process.

Read More →

Material spotlight: CORK and all its benefits

In our latest Material Spotlight feature, we take a look at some of it’s most recent facelifts and take a moment to celebrate the wonder that is cork (and it really is wonderful)

Read More →
The Round House by Michaelis Boyd Associates

Open House London: 21st-22nd of September

For those who have decided THIS is the year that they’re going to bite the bullet and renovate, Open House London is a chance to go and see some projects up close and personal. Here’s our list of recommended projects to go visit.

Read More →

Inspiration for play within the home

An IKEA hack … A token mural wall? Put down your Pinterest and let us help you with some wild and whacky inspiration for introducing play areas within your home.

Read More →

It's laminate, but not as you know it

It’s the kitchen designers’ current favourite material; Fenix is as versatile as laminate but smarter and better looking. We had to know more…

Read More →

get the latest from homenotes

Sign up to receive our latest news, articles and offers for homeowners - straight to your inbox!

Coming soon . . .

Our membership is launching at the start of June.  Sign up to get notified when it goes live!