To save money on a granite countertop, avoid rare colors and patterns, use a granite remnant, consider a pre-fabricated granite countertop, and choose a basic edge treatment. Cheaper alternatives to slab granite countertops include granite tiles, granite overlays and countertops with a thin piece of granite supported by medium-density fiberboard.
Because it is a natural product dug up from the ground, slab granite varies in color, pattern and veining. A slab with a rare design costs more. When choosing your granite, look at the prices on the slabs. This cost likely doesn't include installation costs, but you can save money on the overall project by starting with a cheaper slab.
The quality and thickness of the granite can also affect the price. While saving money is important, a thin, low-quality piece of granite may not hold up as well as a more expensive piece.
For a small area, a granite remnant saves money. Remnants are the leftovers from larger slabs. You won't likely find a remnant large enough to do a full kitchen, but it may be enough for a bathroom or kitchen island. Granite tiles have lots of seams so they don't create a smooth, solid surface, but they do provide the look of granite. An overlay is a thin piece of granite often mixed with other materials that goes over the existing countertops.
Keep the design of the granite countertop simple. If you choose a decorative edge with lots of detailing, you pay more for the extra work it takes to fabricate it.