When we moved into our house about a year and a half ago I knew that one day we’d be overhauling the kitchen.
It was…. well… dated…
Dated is putting it nicely.
I’m pretty sure it was put in sometime in the 1950’s and the only thing that was ever updated was the flooring.
The rest was brown… and metal… and horrible. Also significantly lacking in a dishwasher, yep no dishwasher.
I knew an overhaul was going to cost a lot, and require a ton of work so it wasn’t something we thought we were going to undertake for a while.
Until one evening when I was perusing Facebook and got a notice from a buy sell trade site. Someone had just listed a whole kitchen full of cabinets for $200… and they looked like they’d fit perfectly in mine.
“Um, Honey,” I said. “What do you think about buying some kitchen cabinets?”
I thought maybe we’d buy them and stick them in our storage unit until we were ready to do everything else, little did I know we’d end up jumping in with both feet and totally making over the kitchen. But that’s how we roll, jump in, spur of the moment, make it happen.
Without a lot of planning our budget was limited (it probably would have been even with a little more time). So we had to make it work without breaking the bank!
Through the process we found some great ways to save money and how to make big changes on a small budget!
#1- Re-use & keep what you can– You know those shows where the people buy a house and go in and overhaul everything?? I think that would be so awesome! However when you’re performing a budget conscious renovation replacing everything isn’t exactly practical. So take a good look at what you have. Does it really need replaced? Can you make it work with what you’re doing? Even though our floor has a few flaws it definitely didn’t need replaced so it stayed put. Our fridge, even though I would love to replace it, works just fine, it fit in the new floor plan, so it stayed too. Prioritize your spending on things that need replaced and re-use what doesn’t.
#2- Do It Yourself- This is a no brainer. Whatever you can do yourself do it! Even if you don’t have knowledge about electric or plumbing there are things you can do. Painting, demolition, even hanging new cabinets are with in the capabilities of most people. If you have friends or family who can help you with other aspects recruit them! A six-pack of beer and pizza are cheaper than a plumber! Some things like replacing a faucet are fairly simple to learn too & Youtube is full of tutorials that can help!
#3 Buy Used– I already mentioned that the cabinets were used. When we arrived to check them out and purchase them the lady selling them also had a dishwasher for sale, an island, and was selling the sink complete with the faucet. So we snatched them up too! Our stove was crazy old and massive so we knew that we’d have to replace it. We also wanted to preserve as much of our new counter space as possible with a hanging microwave. So I started looking. I found the stove at a local used appliance store, the microwave (only 3 months old!) I found on a Facebook Sales site. In searching I found a lot of cabinets, complete kitchens, appliance sets, etc. on Craigslist, Facebook, and locally. If you make an effort to look you can get great bargains on gently used items!
#4- Know When to NOT Do it Yourself– My husband is incredibly handy. He can do plumbing, electrical, basic carpentry but he drew the line when it came to the countertop. Even though buying and cutting sections of counter would have been cheaper he didn’t have faith in his ability to get them fitted right. So we made the decision to order them custom cut. If you know that trying it yourself can potentially end up costing you money then go ahead and hire someone, or buy new.
#5 Shop Around- When we were shopping for our countertop I assumed the big box stores would have the best prices. Boy was I wrong! After going to Lowe’s and getting a quote and almost bursting into tears (even after the 10% Veteran’s Day discount!) we went to a local builder’s supply. Well to my surprise they were 1/2 the price and could have it done & delivered in a shorter amount of time! It’s worth the trip or phone calls to find out what different stores have to offer you may end up saving more than you think!
#6 Get Creative- I tend to be much more creative than I am practical. So when I see pretty white cabinets that will work in my kitchen, I figure out how to arrange them and am ready to go… until I measure and realize that I have more cabinets then wall space…. We had to figure out how to make the most of the cabinets we had and the space we had to use them in. We ended up leaving the cabinet out from under the sink and using a curtain instead. And that curtain? Well the one under the sink and the ones at the window are all made from one panel! Fabric would have cost almost twice as much as one panel did and with just a little cutting and sewing everything was covered!
At the end of everything we spent just a little under $1500! Not bad for the makeover we ended up with!
Want to know how the budget broke down?
Sink & Faucet – $40
Misc. Supplies & Decor (paint, plumbing etc.) – $150
So after a lot of dust and sweat we ended up with a kitchen I love to cook in. It is now a gathering place for my family, a space we enjoy using, and we did it all on a shoestring!!
What’s the tightest budget you’ve ever had for home improvement? Do you have a great tip for saving $$?
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