Saving Advice Forums  

Go Back   Saving Advice Forums > Financial Chit Chat > Frugal Questions and Answers

Frugal Questions and Answers Frugal ideas and questions. The place to learn how to get those costs down.

Like Tree2Likes
  • 2 Post By Milly

LinkBack Thread Tools
  #1 (permalink)  
Old 02-17-2017, 07:15 AM
$ Saving HS Freshman
Join Date: Mar 2013
Forum Posts: 124
Default Home improvement

As many of you know, we are diligently working to pay off debt right now. At the same time, we bought a house this past summer and while it's an awesome house, it is dated and there are upgrades we want to make. Part of us wants to finish off the one big student loan (~$31k) before we do anything, but part of us wants to start modernizing this house. Dave Ramsey is screaming in the back of my head, telling me to not do anything right now and finish off the debts and then move on. The living room alone would be pricey since we're looking at removing carpeting, adding tile by the front door, totally repainting, removing wallpaper, new blinds, lighting upgrades, etc. Priorities are the living room and dining room.

It probably makes sense to just hold off for now and wait until we have better free cash flow right?
Reply With Quote
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 02-17-2017, 07:32 AM
$ Saving College Sophomore
Join Date: Mar 2015
Forum Posts: 832

If you can do most of the work yourself, room upgrades like this can be done pretty cheap, and no reason you couldn't both fix up the house and pay down the student loan.

We remodeled our first house very economically, one room at a time as we could afford it.
Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 02-17-2017, 07:37 AM
$ Saving HS Freshman
Join Date: Mar 2013
Forum Posts: 124

We can do a few things on our own but luckily her step-father is a contractor and her mom has down a lot of interior design type work so it really is just the cost of goods which in and of itself can get expensive. I guess the first step will be to budget out how much we can expect it to be and go from there.
Reply With Quote
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 02-17-2017, 08:20 AM
Join Date: Nov 2016
Forum Posts: 1,272

Personally I think you should get rid of the debt first.

We made the mistake of doing some kitchen and bathroom updates while we were still paying off debt. Since we obviously didn't want to incur any more debt, we went forward with a VERY TIGHT budget for the remodels. We couldn't afford complete makeovers, so we basically addressed what we felt needed to be addressed and left other things as is. We realize now that we should have waited and made sure we got everything done at once.
Reply With Quote
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 02-17-2017, 11:17 AM
Milly's Avatar
$ Saving Jr. High Schooler
Join Date: Feb 2017
Forum Posts: 83
Default The Home Improvement Pitfall

It sounds like the improvements you are talking about are pretty helpful ones. You need to watch out though because getting carried away updating the kitchen and such can cause problems if the market tanks.

I have a friend who bought a home at the peak of the market. He and his wife are among the most intelligent people I know, so paying it off early was a no-brainier for them. They set a plan to pay it off in 10 years despite the high price tag. They stuck with the plan for a while, but as time went on, they made some trade-offs. Instead of paying the extra towards their mortgage, they started paying it into the house with kitchen remodeling and various flooring. 10 years later, when they would have been all paid off, they moved. In that amount of time, the housing market had dropped significantly and they were forced to sell for less than they still owed even with the updated kitchen. Had they stuck with the plan, they would have come out of the transaction with the entire sale price (minus fees) as liquid money for their down payment on the next home.

Moral of the story: If you pay off your home, you can always sell it for something. Stick to your payoff plan and get there as fast as you can because you never know what the market or your life has in store for you. If the market just goes up, you can always do the projects later. It wonít hurt you to focus on payoff first.

Reply With Quote
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 02-19-2017, 05:58 PM
$ Saving Fourth Grader
Join Date: Feb 2017
Forum Posts: 29

I think this is an scenario we all have faced from time to time.
I put off some improvements/ remodel on my home waiting for the right time financially and time etc.
in the end I feel, I should have done it so much sooner. the satisfaction level with the improvement I don't think I can measure in money.
Reply With Quote
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 02-20-2017, 01:28 AM
$ Saving Assistant Professor
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: W. Canada
Forum Posts: 3,988

another .02 cents worth...

DR is a multi millionaire and doesn't live in your house. Enjoying your home and it's decor offers a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction. I'd caution keeping the updates within parameters of homes on your street. It's not 'a good thing' to have the most expensive home on the block.

A lot of the updating you mention falls more in the category of 'sweat equity' than dollars spent. I know from experience that removing wallpaper and preparing walls for painting is DIY. All the research confirms that paint gives the biggest return for sums and effort spent. Quality paint isn't necessarily predicated on price [more on ratio of titanium]; designer colors can be copied by any good colorist following the numbers on paint chips.

Last fall we carefully removed quarter round and baseboard, ripped out carpeting and underlay in living, dining rooms and hall, rolled it up in reasonable sections and hauled it to the dump. A lot of discussion resulting in replacing it with mid-priced [25 year warranty] laminate and were pleasantly surprised by how much easier a DIY it was than expected. We had help from an experienced floor layer with our 20 or so really tricky corners. [he came in and did them all in under two hours.] We were so excited to be able to repaint and re-install the old baseboards. I was sure the variance in depth would make it impossible. [we had to touch up wall paint at a few points.

Painting is all about prep. Tons of detailed info on You Tube. While I'm willing to shut off all electricity to merely replace an existing light fixture, [take a picture before undoing the plugs of existing wiring] Kitchen and bathrms are expensive both for materials and professional hours. I think an electrician, plumber and permit are needed for liability.
Reply With Quote
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 05-20-2017, 11:04 AM
Join Date: May 2017
Forum Posts: 2
Default Saving money on home improvement projects

I agree home improvement projects can be costly. I am currently remodeling my 1996 RV. I have gutted it and am now redoing the inside of the RV. One way that I save money is by using coupons for Lowes from I try to separate my purchases into $50 transactions. Then I use the $15 off of $50 coupons. This saves me 30%. Then I purchase a gift card online from Raise or one of the online gift card sites. This can save an additional 10% depending on the gift card discount.
Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:10 PM.

Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2 ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.