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Cost of DIY projects – Part I

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I realize that the BAD community does not like my plan to put some money into my house these next couple of months. And I’m not putting a dollar amount there. And I won’t be. But I am not going to go crazy, I will remain frugal.

I just published my budget for October. And before everyone freaks out about the open line item for Housing spending, I thought I would tell you how that’s going so far this month.

Here’s the first update on the project list I originally published:

  1. New blinds in the front windows – labor DIY – DONE – no $$$ spent, but lots of frustration and about 2 days of labor as I did it 100% by myself. I will have to replace a couple of drill bits eventually as I stripped a few, but live and learn, I will do better next time.
  2. Paint all the trim – labor DIY – STARTED – painting the trim in the living room as I replaced the blinds. What a pain! No $$$ spent as I have almost 1/2 a gallon of the white paint and paint brushes from all the other walls we have painted.
  3. Trim out living room doorway which we expanded – labor DIY
  4. Install kitchen backsplash – labor DIY – READY TO START – I have the tile here, left over from the shower we did, but I did need a few things, spent $60 on supplies/tools but shouldn’t need anything else to finish this project except time.
  5. Center and install ceiling fan in kitchen – pay for help
  6. Change out dining room light fixture – labor DIY?
  7. Install kitchen light fixture – labor DIY? – DONE – contractor who helped me install my dishwasher/countertops did this as included in my negotiated price. I am so grateful!
  8. Paint existing switch covers and reinstall – labor DIY
  9. Upcycle existing 5 interior doors – labor DIY
  10. Create some focal walls – labor DIY (I priced out the stick on rustic wood look, whoa, that stuff is expensive so looking for more affordable alternatives other than just paint, ideas?)
  11. Clean, rearrange and decorate Princess’ room – labor DIY and will use existing furniture (she’s onboard with this plan)
  12. Furnish deck – RESEARCHING – I have an old, solid oak dining room set with 6 chairs. It needs some love, but it’s plenty comfortable for what I want on the deck. It’s not my dream patio set but it would do for now. So I’m doing some research to see what I would need to do to make it as weather resistant as possible. If it could last 3ish years outside, that would be awesome. (I’ve had it listed for sale for $150 for months, but no takers. So I might as well put some poly on it or something and see if I can make it work for now.)
  13. Upcycle some old doors that I’ve had for ages to use as decoration/cast iron storage hangers – labor DIY
  14. Build barn door for hall bath – labor DIY
  15. Hang new curtains in the living room – labor DIY – IN PROGRESS – I spent just under $40 for what I thought would complete this project. However, I didn’t get enough curtain panels, I need two more at ~$12 each (purchased on sale so hoping they are still on sale) and the rod I got is missing a piece so I’m hoping they will just open up another one and give me the correct piece. Again, I did all the labor myself.

    The before of the trim I painted, the windows I covered with blinds and then finally adding curtains. Curtains aren’t complete at time that I wrote this.

  16. Complete upgrades to hall bath & hang bar door – pay for help (already have a quote for this) – RESEARCHING – plan to finalize decisions for this next weekend so I can budget it out as this will be a bit more of a $$$ investment
  17. Build myself a closet of sorts – labor DIY? (have a paid labor quote for this but may attempt myself)

Progress – it took me ALL DAY to take down old blinds (probably been there 50 years), clean the rotting wood trim real good, sand it down, paint it and hang two of the 3 blinds. I finished up the 3rd blind and started on the curtains the next day.

Total spent in the first two weeks of September = $100 and I anticipate spending less than $40 more to finish off the living room curtains this week.

Not a professional but I can do this

It wears me out to work on my house. And I’m definitely not a professional. Gymnast comment when he saw these were “are you sure you hung those right?”

But every day I grow more proud. Not in the prideful, look at me way, but that I am finally able to provide a stable place for all my kids to come to, to find rest in. It’s been 13 years since my ex-husband and I split, I have struggled with housing all that time.

We don’t live extravagantly. I’m not trying to “upgrade my lifestyle”…Except for the dishwasher, that was definitely a splurge just for me and an upgrade to my lifestyle. But I want a home where they feel safe and proud to bring their friends without mold growing in the bathroom or tiles peeling off the floor. Where there are tiles on the bathroom walls versus crumbling remnants of what used to be. Most all of our furniture are garage sale finds or DIY…did you see Gymnast bed frame when I showed you my wardrobe idea for the office. He built it out of scrap wood and free pallets. My wall art is all from projects the kids have done.

Saving $$$ by doing it myself

The thing is, I could not afford to hire someone to do all this. To make it professional. But more than I want professional, I want out of debt. And everything I do myself, I save myself literally hundreds of dollars. So for the next 3 months, I am giving myself guilt free permission to spend the money on what I need to get the house to a certain place.

I’ve got tough skin. So you can condemn my choices especially when I get off track. I appreciate the constructive criticism, the have you considered this comments and so on. But you have not lived in my shoes, see a glimpse of what we have been through.

My Life by the Numbers

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Greetings BAD Community. I hope you’re all having a magical day even though Tuesdays are basically a letdown. I’ve heard from some of you that numbers are important so I want to share some of my monthly expenses. I didn’t get into discretionary spending because that’s a topic for another day. Before we get to that, here’s my life by the numbers:

Hi, my name is Lindsey. I have a BA in psychology and currently, work as a mental health outreach worker for the provincial healthcare authority. I bring in about $75,000 a year but can bring in extra cash if I’m freelance writing – up to $15,000 in a year. But I try to avoid working that much because I burn out and then I’m useless.

Single Motherhood & University

When I graduated from university, I was saddled with $45,000 in student loans because I was raising my daughter while going to school. My first job paid next to nothing, and it was hard making ends meet in the beginning. Nonetheless, I paid off all those loans even though it took me eighteen years. Buh. Bye.

Love, Marriage & Buying a House

I ventured into real estate when I bought a house ten years ago with my then-husband, but it didn’t last. In the first year, an intense rainstorm had water pouring through our pot lights – insurance didn’t pay, but we were still on the hook. The second year, there was a hail storm with a costly deductible. To this day, I believe this house was made of marshmallows and built on a sacred burial ground. It was so cursed.

My spouse was unemployed for close to eighteen months during this time, so we decided to sell the house. It wasn’t anyone’s fault; it was just a bad three years, and we ran out of options. We made a modest profit from the sale and paid off the cars and credit card debt. We separated in 2016 and finalized the divorce in 2019. There wasn’t any bad blood; it was just something that needed to happen.

Boldly Go Forth, Child

My daughter moved out and started college in 2016. She is done with school for the time being but supports herself with a full-time job. I guess you can say she’s still finding herself and is happy to work at whatever job she finds herself at the moment. Being young is a journey, and sometimes one path is windier than another.

Right Here & Right Now

Now, I am a 45-year-old ‘empty nester’ with a reasonable career and few financial obligations. I’ll be paying off the last of my credit card debt in the next month and have less than two years on my car loan. I have some extra expenses like my $500 personal training package I signed with my gym. I wanted to make my health a priority, and I have a flex spending account as part of my benefits that cover the majority of it.

I am in a common-law relationship with my partner of four years. He has three kids and sees them every second weekend. By the time I started dating him, his children were getting older, and my relationship with them reflects that reality. After speaking with a lawyer, I decided to keep my finances separate as it’s easy to become legally entangled in financial obligations for child support. Is anyone else in a ‘blended’ home? If so, how do you decide to split expenses?

Can’t Sing, Can’t Dance, & I’m too Fat to Fly

Career-wise, I have no idea what I’m doing. I’ve hit the top end of what I can do with my degree. Healthcare is a highly regulated profession, so options are limited unless I go back to school to get a very similar degree to my current one. It’s a really cool job and there are many perks like an excellent defined benefit pension plan, strong union protections, prescription coverage and a flex spending account. But it also keeps me stuck because I don’t want to leave a safe, warm work cocoon for a ‘risky’ job in the private sector. What would you guys do?

As far as financial goals, I’m similarly stymied. I think paying off my car faster could be a good goal. I don’t think it saves me any money, but it’s one less monthly payment. While that’s important, I also need to spend more time planning out retirement. If I stay in healthcare, I will be paying into a defined benefit pension plan which will pay out close to $50,000 a year. On the other hand, I’ll have to put away a lot more if I move into the private sector.

At any rate, here’s my current budget. The rest will come as I figure out how best to share all this information.

What do you guys think so far?

**You may need to use the drop-down menu so the table shows all 12 lines of my budget.

Rent$900
Car Payment$330
Auto Insurance$170
Gas$200
Credit Card$200
Mobile phone w/ AppleCare$150
Streaming Services$40
Utilities$150
Internet & Web Hosting$90
Gym$55
Personal Training$500
Total$2785

 

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash