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Posts tagged with: getting out of debt

Renovation Tips



We came $60K under budget on our home purchase (WHEW!) but we bought a house that needed some work. We’ve decided to reinvest all $60K back into the house. When my husband does all of the labor, $60K equates to roughly double or more of what folks spend to contract out. That $60K, in theory, can stretch pretty far.

*In theory*

So how do we decide where to allocate our remodeling budget…especially since there is more than $60K of work needed?

Big Rocks First
Franklin Covey shared his story about prioritizing the most important things first. If you are one of the few people left on the planet who hasn’t been exposed to this, watch HERE

We are replacing the windows ($15K) and the carpet ($10K). Oof. That kicks us down to $35K.

Safety is also a ‘big rock’ for me. My husband said he ‘thinks’ he can paint the 18’ ceilings in the living room. He does not have the proper equipment and this sounded like the least safe thing to do. The painter was $2,400. That’s cheaper than an ER bill so we hired a painter for the high ceiling areas only. The rest of the house we are painting.

The water heater is 20 years old. Yeah. 20. In case you didn’t know, they usually last 10-15. When you turn on the hot water, occasionally gray water comes out. Um, I don’t need to worry about the kids drinking that. My husband is replacing the water heater for $1,500. For those counting, we’re now down to $31K and we haven’t even done anything fun.

Every. Single. Wall. Needs to be painted. Remember how the colors of the home scared everyone away from buying it? Yeah. Now we have to cover those up. One of the rooms took FOUR coats of paint…and we buy good paint. I felt my soul die on that a little. But then I remembered what a good deal we got on the house and I’m more forgiving. Paint and supplies cost us $6K.

Perfect Pairings
This is the time we move to the fun stuff right? Nope. Sometimes it’s less expensive to do things now while something else is in process because it will save you money later. My husband wanted to replace some of the plumbing in the spare bathroom. A rush for right now? Nope. But will it eventually fail later? Absolutely. Unfortunately, the wall we need to cut into is the same wall the painters are scheduled to paint and they are letting us borrow their ladder. If we don’t do the repair now, even though it’s not a rush, we’ll have to bring the painters back out later and somehow figure out a way to get to that stupid wall.

We also have to replace the flooring in one of the bathrooms. Yes, we could do the flooring only but we eventually want to replace the vanity. If we do the flooring now, we’ll either have to get a vanity with the exact same footprint or replace the flooring again later. Ugh. New vanity it is. And a new toilet. Same reason.

Dreams and Wishes
Once all of the boring stuff is done, we get to the fun part. We hope to have just over $20K left and we’re focusing on dreams and wishes. We are renovating the master bathroom and painting the kitchen cabinets. We’re hoping to have some left over but understanding that renovations are like nailing Jell-O to a wall. We don’t get to even start the fun stuff until all the other big rocks and pairings are done which will be a couple months away.

I am SUPER grateful to be married to my contractor. I’m a lucky girl.

Tell me your renovation nightmares!

Another ER Trip on My Watch


My husband was working on our home renovation last Saturday and I was home with the kids. We’ve been working day and night on the renovation but I decided to stay at the rental house with the kids so they could get a good nap. We’ve been running power tools seemingly non-stop, and the kids really need some quiet rest.

My daughter had been asking all week if I would play with her making Play-Doh ‘tacos’. My husband had also been asking all week I could take some time to find some paint or wallpaper for the dining room and I just hadn’t had time to do either. I was at my computer looking at the swatches when my daughter asked if we could sit down to make tacos. I told her I needed 30 minutes at the computer and then I would happily play with her. While she was waiting, I asked if she and my youngest son could clean their room (they are sharing). When we clean, we blast music. She was blasting Encanto, and I had asked if she could close the door so I could concentrate (and there is only so much ‘Bruno’ I can take). They were going in and out of the room, and I kept asking them to keep the door closed.

I heard the door open, and my daughter came out to tell me the room was clean. My son, who knew I wanted the door kept closed, kicked the door shut. The solid core door. The door my daughter’s hand was in…hinge side. I get chills thinking about her scream. I RAN to the door to open it and looked at her hand and almost threw-up. I won’t describe it just know; it was bad. Again, I am not the person you want in an emergency.

I scooped her up and immediately put a cold wet towel on her hand. My husband was only five minutes away, so I had my son call him. He came home to take her to the ER while I stayed home with the other three kids. We have a wonderful children’s ER 5 minutes away and they were amazing. They were able to put her hand back together, but they said we won’t know if the nails will grow back for 6-8 months. They told me not to get my hopes up.

We have a high deductible health plan with an HSA account. We’re fortunate to have a decent amount in the account since I made a couple accidental overpayments in it when I switched to the new job. They had to do x-rays, stitches, and a bunch of other magic so the bill will likely be a big one, but we have enough to cover the max out of pocket so financially we’ll be OK. Yet another reason to make sure you can cover the max out of pocket if you choose the high deductible plan. Life is unpredictable.

Emotionally? I’m far from OK. The mom guilt is hitting me hard core. If I would have just sat down to make Play-Doh tacos when she asked, this wouldn’t have happened. If I hadn’t have asked them to keep their door closed, this wouldn’t have happened. My husband keeps telling my I’m being ridiculous, but I can’t shake it. As soon as he left for the ER, I completely fell apart. When the doctor said she might never have nails again on that hand, I started crying all over again. I love painting her nails. It’s her favorite thing. Geez. I’m crying just writing about it.

Money? Gonna be fine. My heart? Filled with so much guilt.