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$5000 can get you what??

One thing I should have mentioned in the beginning was our budget. If it weren’t for Scott I would be so far in the red it isn’t even funny. Budgeting is not fun but a necessary evil. We knew that we didn’t want our house to become a money pit where we put more into it than what it would be worth in the end for selling. At the start of this I never would have thought we could get much done with $5000. I’ve been told I have a champagne taste on a beer budget.. It might be true.

We’ve transformed this house so far, with some room to spare in our $5000 budget. The biggest thing we’ve found that helps with keep costs low: DIY.

The only things so far we’ve had done for us: carpet installation in the sports room, and we paid one of Scott’s friends to hang our doors. We’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of help along the way from Scott’s friend Tucker, and from Scott’s family. As well as housewarming gifts from my parents in the form of Lowes gift cards.

The thing that has cost us the most so far has been either of those two. To carpet one room, with a pad and labor it was about $550. I’ve realized I have VERY unrealistic expectations with costs of projects. Things that I think aren’t going to cost a lot do cost us more, and the things I think are going to cost more are usually pretty minimal. For instance: I thought to carpet the one room would without a doubt cost at least $1,000, minimum. It was half that & I was pleasantly surprised. But on the other hand I thought to get our house painted would be like $100 max and it was more like $410 with all supplies (still not bad). So from now on when I go to Lowes or Home Depot I basically just close my eyes.

Scott estimated we’ve saved at least $4000 by doing things ourselves. Here is a list of major projects we’ve done:

Painting all interior walls and all ceilings
Kitchen cabinets
Installed new toilets in both bathrooms, and 1 new vanity. (to have 2 new toilets installed by a local plumbing company would have been $1100.00 to buy the toilets and install, it cost us a little over $300.) *We did get one special toilet lid, no slam with a night light. The guy at Home Depot called it a “night club toilet seat” because it lights up neon blue! Haha!
All new light fixtures (9 regular lights, and 1 ceiling fans) and we still have some to do (in the primary bathroom)
Re-doing the back yard (with the help of Tim) which included: new grass seed, new edging, new bark layed down.
6 new doors, 3 more to be added (buy them pre-hung in the door jamb)
New molding throughout the house (installed would have been at least a minimum of $2000
Installed a new dryer vent to our dryer. This one saved money but was quite the hassle.
New blinds in all the rooms (with the exception of our sliding door in the sports room)
New thermostate (not the Nest, but equally as good but 1/4 the cost.)

Something that helps with budget: We did not include gift cards, or CL sales of old furniture… but even with that being said, its not like we are rolling in the gift cards or $$ from craigslist! ..I am actually pretty certain we’ve got $15 from CL from some old Ikea tables. Side note: Another good thing that helps with budgets: Scott hasn’t added my decor purchases to the cost! Lucky me, because that could rival the cost of all of these projects combined currently! (I don’t truly think he’s doing this to help our budget look better just to be clear.)

One thing that has helped us to stick to our budget has been an excel sheet showing all the costs adding up. Again, a necessary evil. At the end of the day, I may not be some finance guru but I do see the importance in not living above our means and making these huge changes that won’t benefit us in the end when we sell. And it’s teaching me to wait for the things I really want to work on and save on smaller projects. Plus- I really love getting my hands dirty and getting my DIY on! Scott teases me because every project I think of is always followed by “it can’t be that hard” even though he ends up having to do most of the hard work.

This post is a bit overdue because I should have led with this information. It just didn’t occur to me! Anyone have any great tips for working on a limited budget and re-doing a house? I would love to hear! 

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