I’ve always been very uncomfortable talking about money.
In my mind how much you make, how much you have, and how much you spend should all be kept tight to your chest, because discussing those things is tacky. And don’t even think about asking someone about how much they make, have, or spend, because that is just rude.
But money and home renovations have a very symbiotic relationship. So here I go throwing all my principles out the window.
The recent completion of the new flooring in the office got me thinking about the connection between home renovations, and pretty décor, and the money it costs to make it happen. I’m always looking for ways to “get the look for less” like in my DIY pumpkin post, or makeover pieces on a budget like I did by painting every bathroom vanity in my house. Trying to save a buck is also one of the many reasons why I love thrift store shopping for home décor.
At some point, though, you are going to have to spend money if you’re changing the look of your house. So how do you decide what to spend that money on?
I like to think of it as a trade off – with some additional wrenches thrown in the mix.
I’m going to use a Venn Diagram to explain because it’s more fun and I can customize it with pretty colours.
In my mind, when you’re considering undertaking any home reno job, you have to weigh the pros and cons. There are three major things to think about here.
- How much is this going to cost me? – or How Much You Put Into It. We’re very young home owners, and after paying for our house, worrying about the fourplex, the car, and keeping both Max and Remy well-fed, there isn’t a lot of extra piles of cash laying around. As much as I would love to jump into a $50,000 kitchen renovation and score myself some new cabinets and a beautiful quartz countertop right away, it just isn’t realistic for us.
- How much can I make? – or How Much You Get Out Of It. Resale is always something to think about, and it doesn’t make a lot of sense to put that $50,000 kitchen in if when you go to sell you don’t see any increase in profit because of it. The last thing you want to do is “lose money” on a renovation. Unless…
- The Happiness Factor. I’m a big believer in this one, because I like to be happy. At the end of the day, no matter how much you’re going to spend, or what you will make, you have to also weigh happiness. Would putting in that new $50,000 kitchen change my family’s quality of life? Would it bring us happiness? Another thing to consider is how long you plan to stay in your home. Our house is obviously way too big for just the two of us and we plan to stay here for a very long time. That being said, a lot of renovations that might not make a lot of sense if we went to sell (ie. we might not make a ton of money off them) are things we may very well do. Are you renovating for your family to enjoy for many years to come, or are you renovating for the next family?
I wouldn’t consider anything we have done on our house so far to be a “big renovation.” Granted the bar was a pretty big undertaking and I did get to put my foot through a wall, but it certainly did not come with the expense of a big kitchen or bathroom reno. We just don’t have the money for that quite yet.
I do, however, have a couple tricks for DIY and what I do when the finances don’t quite line up but you still want to achieve that happiness factor.
- Quick Fixes. I may not have the funds for a whole new kitchen but I do have a paintbrush and no fear. Just because I don’t have the thousands it would take to put in new cabinets doesn’t mean I can’t have new cabinets, or that I was willing to live unhappily with my gross orange-toned wood ones. For less than $100 (and with a lot of man hours), I got the look of new cabinets for way less. These painted cabinets may stay forever, or we may eventually have the money to tear them all out and put a new kitchen in in the future. Either way, I decided to quickly fix a problem I had and I love the way it looks right now.
- Stages. I don’t have enough money at the moment to tear my entire ensuite apart, but I started with the wall colour and there was a huge difference! A little while longer, we replaced the faucet. And then a few months later I painted the vanity and we added a new topper. Next up is a new toilet and tile floor. By doing things in stages we can pay for things in stages.
- Getting Thrifty. I get a lot of my furniture and décor from the thrift store or from yard sales. Not only does this save a ton of money, but the hunt is also super fun. Max, Remy and I all go out Saturday mornings together, and it makes for a nice activity.
- DIY. As long as it’s not your furnace, electrical, or plumbing, I say go for it. I’m surprised during every project by how much Max and I can do, and it certainly saves a lot versus hiring out. I’m also very good about my DIY and giving items makeovers, I always look beyond what something looks like now. Spray paint is your best friend.
- Take It Slow. Could we afford to do all three bedrooms of flooring at once? No. Would we physically be able to handle doing all three rooms at once anyway? No. So why would we. We can save our sanity and keep our finances from taking a big hit by going slow. Spending $200 on flooring every month for a few months is not nearly as scary as dropping $1000 to have it all sitting in my house right away.
I hope my thoughts on home renovations and money were helpful, or at least interesting. DIY and home décor are things I love, but I’m not going to spend money I don’t have on them. I need to make sure I can keep up Remy’s extravagant lifestyle and ensure she is flush with milkbones.
Let me know if you have any questions.