A big shout-out to Dave Ramsey’s EveryDollar for sponsoring this post. I will always provide my 100% honest opinion and only recommend programs I trust and believe in. For more information, see my full disclosure here.
I LOVE focusing on the pretty stuff and the room reveals. Seeing that dramatic before and after is an absolute thrill!
But I’ve never really discussed the big “B” word: Budget.
I mean, you can’t get to the fun decorating part of your home if you haven’t figured out the financial part first. This whole “adulting” thing is so overrated sometimes, don’t ya think?
I’ve learned over the past couple years of tackling the room makeovers though that working around a tight budget and figuring out money-saving solutions is actually part of the fun! It’s addictive really, right up there on the scale with chocolate and bacon. So here we go…
5 Steps to Budget for a Room Makeover:
1. Create a room wish list.
(See? It’s fun already!) In the beginning, before you do anything in the space you want to make over, write down a wish list with the items you want to DIY and/or buy to complete the room.
Even create a mood board if you need help visualizing as you plan. (Polyvore is a great site to help you visualize.) Include even the smallest details like accessories, throw pillows, or shelf decor. It’s often the smaller items that will cost you the most. Those do-dads can add up quickly.
2. Research, compare, and add up prices for all of the items on your wish list.
Start doing some shopping around. Research home improvement projects online and decide whether you should DIY or hire out a contractor. Of course, the greater your skill set is as a handyman (or handywoman), the cheaper you’ll most likely be able to get the job done.
Keep an eye out for sales, compare prices among competitors, and decide on what you should splurge and where you can save. Make a list or a spreadsheet of prices as you make your decisions until you have a concrete sum down to the penny of what your room makeover will cost.
3. Set up a temporary home savings plan with an online budgeting tool.
Since leaving my full-time job, Robert and I have done our fair share of budgeting, and my favorite tool by far is Dave Ramsey’s EveryDollar software. And it’s FREE! There’s an EveryDollar app that makes it super simple to use when you’re running all over town… or convincing your three year-old she doesn’t need all the chocolate in the grocery store check-out line.
Even if you aren’t planning a room makeover, it’s great to track your spending all on its own. You can see a full detailed tutorial over at Just a Girl and Her Blog, but, in a nutshell, your ultimate goal is to “give every dollar a name” and allocate all of your income into categories.
As you prepare for your room makeover, one of those categories should be temporary home savings. Look over your finances and hash out a game plan for the amount you can afford to set aside each month from your paycheck to prepare for your makeover.
From there, you will have a clear picture of how long it will take to save to reach your wish list’s budget and where you can make sacrifices in your monthly spending to make it happen. Making Sense of Cents has an excellent article with ideas to save money each month, and Robert and I use almost all of them.
4. Adjust your wish list based on what you can afford before you start on your makeover.
After you set up a temporary home savings plan on EveryDollar, you’ll probably run into two possible decisions you’ll have to make. (Because chances are your wish list exceeds what you can afford at the moment, right? #StoryOfMyLife)
You can choose to wait a little longer than you originally planned to save up for the room makeover you really want, or you can go back to your wish list and start adjusting. Ask yourself if there are cheaper alternatives. Instead of replacing your kitchen cabinets, can you reface or paint them instead? Rather than spending a couple hundred on a new light fixture, can you find one that will work better in a lower price range? Or DIY one from a thrifted light?
Whatever you do, don’t start on your room makeover until you already have the money saved and in the bank for the entire overhaul. You don’t want to be in mid-demo when you discover you won’t be able to afford it after all. (Is that a Captain Obvious statement? My bad.)
5. Provide a little “wiggle room” in your budget for makeover emergencies.
Most of the time, it’s going to happen. You’re going to go over your budget because a home improvement project went badly or you underestimated the cost of a DIY. Give yourself a financial cushion and don’t spend every single penny of your budget just in case disaster strikes.
There are certainly other financial ways of being able to afford a makeover, and if you are planning a full home renovation, you could set up a loan through your bank.
But since our home is fairly new, and our makeovers are smaller and mostly for cosmetic purposes, we like to think twice before taking on that extra debt. Robert and I always pay for our projects and makeovers with cash because we don’t want that extra financial weight.
By the way, I’m sooooooo ready to spill some of my ideas I’ve had swirling around for our kitchen makeover that I hope hope hope will be happening in just a few short months. Ahhh!
Do you have any budgeting tricks of your own or ways you decorate on a tight budget? Do you have a favorite budgeting tool that helps you out along the way? I’d love to hear about it!