:::: MENU ::::

Browsing posts in: Personal Finance

Huge Inflation of Home Improvement Projects


The Huge Inflation of Home Improvement Projects

With summer just around the corner, my family usually tackles the outdoor home improvement projects this time of year. The garden is planted and yard work divided up among everyone. However, inflation and the price of construction materials are preventing many of our home improvement projects. Unfortunately, we are facing a necessary repair with a price tag I’m not sure we can afford.

The Home Improvement Project

My mom maintains a long honey-do list every year. But, there has been one nagging item topping the list for a few years now. Our deck has been in serious need of repair for about five years. It has withstood the elements for nearly 30 years, so we all agree it’s about time that we gave it the TLC it needs. While most of the framework and joists are in good shape, the actual decking is slowly rotting away. It seems like every time someone goes outside, there is a new board that creaks or another hole that appears. Although it is not in immediate danger of collapsing, it can’t go unattended for much longer.

In the past, my dad might have attempted to do the updates himself. However, health conditions have removed this option. The only way we are going to have it taken care of is to hire a professional.

How Inflation and Shortages are Affecting Home Improvements

After much discussion and consideration, my dad called a local contractor for an estimate three years ago. However, when he saw the final tally, he balked. He thought $5,000 was too much to pay for a job he could do himself. So, he put it off. Now, here we are two years later. We are in a situation where we can’t avoid the problem much longer, but the cost of building materials has skyrocketed. It’s a classic example of how hesitating to make a decision will bite you in the rear. While deck builds and repairs are always costly, the most recent estimate was double the initial bid. What’s worse is that we have called nearly every contractor in the Omaha area, and no one is able to even look at your project until spring. Some even have recordings that give referrals to other companies since they are booked so far into the future.

We are not the only ones experiencing these issues. The rising inflation of building materials is affecting everyone’s home improvement and construction projects. Even large-scale projects have been delayed due to the increase in the cost of steel and wood. And while prices have already hit recent highs, it seems as if it will only continue to go up until supply chains catch up to the demand.


The Reason for Inflation Costs of Home Improvements


Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place

So, that brings me to my current position of beings stuck between the metaphorical rock and a hard place. Since it is not my home, it isn’t my decision to make. But, my mom is begging for help after several failed attempts to talk to him. She feels she has waited long enough and wants to be able to use the outdoor space again. While it might not be my place, sometimes I am the only person who can communicate with him about financial matters. My question is: What’s the best way to approach it?

We have a good relationship with the initial contractor who gave us a fair bid. Since we will be able to keep most of the deck’s original structure, we only need to replace the decking and railings. We also found cheaper options for the spindles that save on the final bill. All in all, we are looking to spend $8,000-$10,000 to complete the repairs.

However, my dad has a severe aversion to spending money. His anxiety over spending money has been crippling in the past. And since he makes the final decisions, it is going to be a hard sell. My guess is that he will want to wait a little longer to see if the costs of building materials decline. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that is a gamble we can make.

I find myself in a precarious situation, but want what’s best for everyone. While we could wait one more year, it could be even more expensive later on. Even the professionals say that we shouldn’t wait any longer. What is the fairest way to handle this without stepping on toes?

Read More

Free Books!


My kids love reading. We can’t walk past a bookstore without them begging to go inside. I can easily say no when they beg for candy or fast food but books? I want to stoke the fire they have for reading. Unfortunately, books are expensive and my kids are fast readers. Books don’t last a week around here. Fortunately they enjoy the same types of books so at least they can share.


I know what you are thinking, ‘Why the heck don’t you just go to the library?’ I do! But not often. Our local library is still working on reduced hours due to COVID but even if it was open longer, it wouldn’t solve the problem. We’ve been on the road for more time than we’ve been in our house this year. We can’t borrow in one town and return in another. Plus, I struggle to remember what books we have, when they are due, and where they are.


We took the kids to dinner and a band was playing. My husband and I wanted to enjoy the live music (it’s been SO long since we’ve heard live music and we crave it!) but we knew the kids wanted to go home. We grabbed their books from the car and they read while we enjoyed the show. The hostess came over to compliment our kids who were quietly reading and I said, ‘I love that they love reading but UGH, such an expensive habit! I wish libraries worked with our schedule a little better!’


Her face lit up. ‘Haven’t you heard about the Little Free Library?!?!’ she exclaimed.


And that was the day my life changed for the better. The Little Free Library is a book sharing program! It’s a neighborhood book exchange where everyone is invited to take a book or leave one. You don’t have to return it. There are no pesky due dates. AND, there are 8, yes 8 near our home in San Diego! We were in Michigan and there was one a mile and a half from where we were staying. They are seemingly everywhere!


The downside, if you are looking for something specific, they are very unlikely to have it. The upside, it’s a treasure hunt. We’ve left some great books like Dog Man for other kids to find and we’ve discovered some amazing Lego books. Occasionally we’ll even find crafts or DVDs.


The Little Free Library has been a budget saver! And, it’s the first thing the kids want to find in a new city. You can find more information about this AMAZING program here: Homepage – Little Free Library