Apr 26, 2011

Our Bathroom Remodel & Having An Emergency Fund

We've lived in our home for nearly ten years now, and we're about to embark on our first major remodel. We've had some work done, of course - you can't live in a thirty-year-old house and not have to make some repairs and changes. But overall, what we've done so far has been pretty minor: re-tiled the bathrooms, installed new toilets, removed the cottage cheese ceiling, etc.

This time, the work we're doing is apparently major enough to require inspection to make sure it meets construction codes. Although I hope I'm wrong about that since it'll cost more money.

And speaking of money, a project of this size obviously requires a good amount of it. I have to admit, I cringe every time I think about paying for the material we're buying and the work that's going to be done. I'm just not used to paying that kind of money for anything, and especially when it's not budgeted and planned for. It's one thing to pay the property tax bill twice a year, for example - it's big, but the money comes out of our Infrequent Bills Account, so mentally, it doesn't have the same impact that depleting our savings for this remodel will have.

But the remodel is necessary because there's some water damage in the bathroom and changes need to be made to prevent the same type of damage from happening again. We don't have the skills to do the remodel ourselves, nor do we have any confidence that we could acquire such skills. So we took some time finding a contractor through word of mouth, and we picked out new tile yesterday - and the prospect of having a bathroom that looks pretty is actually kind of exciting. :)

Every day, though, I'm thankful that we have enough savings to be able to pay for this remodel without destabilizing our financial position. We've worked really hard for financial peace of mind, and even though it pains me to pay for the remodel, the truth is that we can afford it. And that's because we live well below our means, and don't spend money unnecessarily.

I won't say it's easy, since there are definitely things I would like to have but don't think are the best use for our money. For example, rather than spend $300 on a new vacuum, I make do with what I have and keep trying to win one through blog giveaways. If only I could win a bathroom remodel instead!


Shelby said...

Glad to hear you found a good contractor by word of mouth, I hope it was a VERY good referral! From my own experience, I have just a couple helpful hints. 1) Be CERTAIN of your project and cost (plan on a contingency both time and $). Contractors want to work as long as possible so they tend to have a lot of "sugestions". 2) Watch the workers. Not necessarily hover 24/7, but like I said, some like to spread the work out over days. 3) DO NOT let them have any idea that you can "afford" the remodel. Obviously you can afford it and they know it, but do drop concerns if they start to "up" the price. 4) Get it in writing! Better that everyone knows what is expected and don't be shy about it.

I could go on and on....unfortunate personal experience. There are plenty of good contractors out there but as with EVERY industry, there's some bad apples.

Chief Family Officer said...

@Shelby - All good advice, thank you! I'm sorry you had to learn this the hard way, thank you so much for sharing - I really appreciate it!

Karen said...

We remodel our home and rentals by using Craigslist to get slightly used vanities, faucets, tile and really almost everything! It is truly amazing the things we find there!!