How to Budget for a Home Remodel by Spring
With fall in full swing, any big plans you make probably revolve around game-day festivities or picking the perfect pumpkin for your porch.
But we think it’s the perfect season to think about spring! Here’s why.
Spring’s the time for new beginnings. So wouldn’t it be nice to ring May in with a fresh new home renovation? You know, the one you’ve been dreaming about for months—maybe even years—but never seem to have the money for?
Lots of folks borrow money to bring their home improvement dreams to life—but you don’t have to. You’ve got a budget! It’s time to put a plan in place and actually make it happen!
Decide How Much You Want to Spend
Home renovations can cost a bundle if you take it down to the studs and build it back from scratch. According to HomeAdvisor.com, the average kitchen remodel costs nearly $20,000 while the average bathroom remodel comes in around $9,000.
Those numbers can feel intimidating, especially if you’re just starting to save and want to get started next spring. So why not start small? You don’t have to gut an entire room to make a big splash. You can do a lot on a $5,000 budget too. Here are just a few ideas to help scale costs down:
- Focus on a single “wow” upgrade.
- Choose ready-made over custom materials.
- Knock out simple jobs yourself.
- Transform outdated finishes with a fresh coat of paint.
Let’s say you set a $5,000 budget for your remodel and want to begin work in May. How do you know how much to save each month? Divide your total budget by the number of months you have to save.
If you start piling up cash in October, that gives you eight months to save. At that rate, you’ll need to set aside $625 a month to hit your goal by May.
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If you want to aim big with a $25,000 remodeling project, go for it! It may take you longer than eight months to save up that kind of cash, but the process works the same way. You might plan on a three-year track to make that dream happen.
Create Room in Your Monthly Budget
You probably don’t have an extra $625 just lying around doing nothing each month. So now it’s time to dig into your budget and find it!
Start by identifying any line items you don’t use anymore. For example, maybe you just finished building your emergency fund. You could take the $1,000 you were throwing toward that each month and split it evenly between your kitchen remodel and retirement fund. That’s an easy $500!
Then look over your budget once more and find small cuts you can make here and there. You don’t have to quit every indulgence cold turkey. But what if you carpooled to work a couple of days a week and ate in two extra nights a month? Those small changes could give you the remaining $125 you need to bring your monthly savings to $625.
Once you’ve made room for your new goal, be sure to add a Spring Remodel fund to your EveryDollar budget so you can account for your newfound dollars each month.
Want to Get There Faster?
The great thing about starting to save now is that Christmas falls smack in the middle of fall and spring. Turbocharge your progress by throwing part of your holiday bonus toward your savings goal.
And while you’re channeling that holiday spirit, why not drop Santa a few gift hints? It’s as easy as creating an Amazon wish list featuring your most-wanted home improvement items. The more you can knock off your to-buy list, the quicker you’ll hit your target.
Of course, Christmas isn’t the only opportunity you have to rethink gifting. Nothing says romance like a sleek new toilet for Valentine’s Day. Porcelain lasts longer than roses anyway.
Before You Swing a Sledgehammer . . .
There are a few things you’ll want to do to ensure you make the most of your investment.
Plan ahead. Flying by the seat of your pants with your home remodel can cost big bucks. That’s why it’s important to spend time working out all the details first. Start planning now, and you should be in great shape by the time your project is fully funded.
Budget for surprises. If you’ve ever watched a home improvement show on TV, you know things go wrong in just about every major home project. (Just ask Tim “The Tool Man.”) Take the stress out of the unexpected by building room in your budget for contingencies on the front end. Twenty percent should do the trick. If you end up not using the contingency, then an upgraded appliance or a party to celebrate in your new kitchen will be a great way to redirect those funds.
Fixing it up to sell? Talk to a real estate agent you trust before tearing anything up. A good pro can point you toward upgrades buyers appreciate most, so you don’t spend more money than you have to.