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  • Home Improvement Projects: Balancing Finances & Wants

    My husband and I own a townhouse that’s over 30 years old, and we’ve lived here for about 10 years. Very little work had been done on the place when we moved in. We’ve made some changes, as it’s impossible to live in a place this old for this long without having to make repairs – and if you’re repairing, you might as well improve too. :) Our bathroom remodel is a good example.

    But there are improvements I dream of – a remodeled kitchen and new flooring top my list. We’re talking tens of thousands of dollars worth of changes.

    So … these improvements will just have to wait. It helps to have clear priorities, and to accept that I can’t have everything I want all at once. More specifically, we can’t save money and spend it on the house at the same time. And saving money is our priority right now, so that we can pay off the mortgage and/or pay for private school in a few years.

    Focusing on priorities helps. And so does perspective – I do expect that eventually, I will have a kitchen I absolutely love. What also helps is avoiding HGTV and home improvement shows, which tend to make me focus on what I could have and consequently make me dissatisfied with what I do have.

    And honestly, what I have is plenty: a solid, reliable home, with a serviceable kitchen, carpet that the kids can spill on without upsetting me (too much), air conditioning (and boy, have we needed it these last few weeks!), and of course, my wonderful family.

    We continue to save, and we’ll spend that money on repairing and improving the house if the need arises. But for now, the priority is simply on saving.