The following guest post is written by Kelly from View Along the Way.
When my husband and I bought our previously-foreclosed house, the entire guest bedroom floor was covered in what I can only assume was feces. Soaked through the carpet, through the carpet mat, and into the floorboards.
We had a lot of work cut out for us!
It’s now three years later, we’ve almost completely gutted the place, pouring our own sweat and tears into every project, and we’ve learned many lessons about saving money along the way:
1. Don’t be afraid to DIY.
My husband and I are DIY-ers to the core. We believe you can learn how to do just about anything with the help of Google and a healthy spirit of adventure.
Our kitchen backsplash: our first attempt at tiling a vertical wall.
We’ve learned the pros don’t have any magical powers. They have better tools, but you can rent those. They have more knowledge, but you can find that online. And they have more experience, but you’ll get that quickly. There’s probably a certain level of ignorance-is-bliss necessary to get you started, but you can do it.
We hired professionals for exactly two jobs: installing carpet and installing our quartz countertops. For both jobs, we paid gobs of money and were completely dissatisfied with both jobs.
I learned through hiring those professionals that the people who will care the most about the final result are my husband and me. No one else has to live with the final result.
If you read Money Saving Mom®, you’re probably not new to this idea, but did you know there are coupons for home improvement stores too?
Lowe’s and Home Depot accept competitor coupons, and you can buy 10% and 20% off coupons for either store on eBay. We always use coupons on our home projects.
3. Shop with Gift Cards
If you know you have a big purchase ahead – for example, a large appliance – find the best deal, then buy a gift card for that retailer before you make the purchase. Home Depot and Lowe’s gift cards on eBay regularly sell for about 80 – 90 percent of the value, so you can save lots of cash by putting a little time and forethought into your purchases.
4. Work With Your Budget
I almost died when I saw a beautiful upholstered bed at a designer home store for over $2000. I loved it, but there was just no way we were forking over a couple grand for a bed, even if it would completely make the room.
So my husband and I got to thinking, strategizing, wondering: could we make something like that ourselves?
After several weeks of research and trial-and-error, we ended up with this – our first real upholstery attempt:
It’s our own version of the pricey designer bed, which we built out of wood and upholstered with fabric we bought on sale and with coupons for only $278. Yes, 90 percent off!
You can see the whole upholstered bed shebang here.
5. Have some vision.
Shop for furniture at yard sales and thrift shops, then spruce it up to make it your own. There are some incredible furniture pieces with beautiful lines at yard sales for next to nothing, just waiting to for a little lovin’. A quick sand and paint job can turn them around completely and give them character and class.
6. Avoid expensive matchy furniture sets.
You don’t need matching furniture to have a beautiful home. Take a look at the most beautifully designed rooms online and in magazines: they almost always have a collected feel. You’ll rarely see identical end tables or matching sofas and loveseats. The more collected your house feels, the more personality it has.
Unmatched furniture creates a collected, cozy feel. Via BHG
7. Go slowly, and pay with cash.
I might be preaching to the choir once again! Yes, using cash takes a bit longer but allows you to enjoy the fruits of your labor without worrying about how you’ll ever pay the bill later. It saves strain on your marriage, and gives you plenty of time to make the right decisions as you go.
We still have lots of learning to do, but following these tips have saved us tens of thousands of dollars on our home remodel so far.
Do you have any money-saving home improvement tips to share?
Kelly’s blog, View Along the Way, chronicles her attempts to fix up a beaten-down home on a teensy little budget. Be sure to check out the before and after photos of their house on her blog.
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