No matter what the occasion, saving money is always a good thing.  But when it comes to building your dream home, making financially wise choices can really impact your wallet.  Especially in today’s economy, everyone is looking to make their money work harder for them, and with housing construction where it is, you are sure to find some good deals for your American dream.  Here are just 5 ways to make every dollar count when building a new house:

#1.    Plan ahead!
Nothing can ruin your budget more than not having one!  From floor tiles to floor plans, everything from start to finish should be as accurately planned as possible.  Of course, that also means to plan for the unexpected!  Those who have the cold, hard numbers for every nook and cranny can safely say they know how much they are going to spend.  Being thorough on your planning means you can see how much those budget windows will actually save you in the long run.  Even if you go all out for that three-car garage, the double fireplace, or the granite counter-tops with beveled edge, knowing your financial boundaries before you even break ground will prevent your dream home from becoming a nightmare.

#2.    Shop around!
Whether you are looking for a builder or just someone to hang curtains, do not hesitate to look around and see what kind of prices you are offered.  It is a buyer’s market, my friend, so remember that people will compete for your business!  Often you may even be able to negotiate prices, or get some pretty sweet upgrades, just to lock in the deal.  One word of caution: do not decide on price alone!  Sometimes things are cheap for that very reason---they are cheap!  Do your homework and find the best bang for your buck.

#3.    Save the earth, save some money!
Nowadays, everyone is “going green.”  And while doing your part to protect the planet is a noble cause in and of itself, it's nice to have the added bonus that being environmentally-friendly can save you some green in the process.  Check out specials from manufacturers and installers.  Everyone from high-efficiency air-conditioner salesmen to roofers installing heat-reflective shingles are offering discounts, not to mention the tax credits associated with many energy-efficient solutions.  Sure, some things may cost a little more up front, but the long-term savings will outweigh the initial cost.

#4.    That’s what friends are for!
Know a plumber?  Someone who does drywall?  Don't hesitate to call in a favor from a friend in the business.  They will appreciate the work, and they are less likely to cut corners for someone they know personally.  You can even take this step further and do some of the work yourself.  You may not be Bob Vila, and you don’t want to jeopardize the inspections (or your safety!), but you may be able to put on some finishing touches at a fraction of the cost.  Have a painting party, and you will have great memories to go with those savings!

#5.    Know your territory!
After the fact, it's amazing what people notice and would like to change about their homes that never crossed their minds before construction started.  Think of things you can take advantage of now, to save some big bucks later.  Consider the sunlight, rain, humidity, and wind to which your home will be exposed.  Moving some windows, changing roof pitches, or raising the doorstep may not be immediate thoughts, but will pay off big time when Mother Nature comes knocking.  Colors, building materials, all sorts of factors can come in to play depending on the climate and location of your house.  You can protect your investment and your wallet by thinking of those factors you cannot control!

This is just a small list of money-saving strategies for those wishing to pinch their pennies.  Regardless of your location, style of home, square-footage, or taste for decor, there is always a way to save some dough, without sacrificing your custom-planned home.