Everybody wants to get the most house for their money. One of the best (and least utilized) techniques to do that is pretty simple, and that's probably why it gets overlooked.
The basic approach? Spend your money where it shows and not where it doesn't. It's simply a matter of prioritizing and focusing your resources where they'll have the most impact.
Here's an example. Let's say you have a $3,000 budget for light fixtures. You can certainly spend all of that on lights. As a wise friend of mine says, the easiest thing in the world to do is spend money.
Here's the trick: Pick out all of your fixtures using your budget over the whole house. Now, go back through the selections and set aside the lights that go in secondary bedrooms and bathrooms, closets, hallways, laundry room, garage, and any other rooms that don't really need expensive fixtures.
Find the least expensive fixture that provides adequate light, and swap it out for the more expensive one.
When you're done, you'll have saved a significant amount of money. I've seen clients save $500 or more on a $3,000 budget by using this technique.
Start By Using Your Whole Budget
The key is to start by using your whole budget. Why? Because it forces you to stay disciplined on the fixtures that DO show while knowing you still have to equip the other areas.
If you start with the least expensive fixtures in the secondary areas, you'll be tempted to just upgrade the others and wipe out the savings.
Of course, you might want to spend that savings on upgraded fixtures, but you'll have a much better idea of the savings you can apply to those upgrades if you'll follow this technique. You can apply this technique to flooring as well, which is one of the bigger costs in building a new home. Again, simply choose your flooring for the whole house using your initial budget, then figure out which areas to downgrade to save significant money.
By using this approach throughout your home, you can recapture some of your budget and allocate it to the finishing touches that really matter to you instead of spending unnecessary money on a light fixture for a rarely used closet.