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Owning a home was a long-term dream of mine that I finally realized last year. We bought a 1925 farmhouse-style home that was at the bottom of our price range. We knew it needed some work, but we were excited to make it our own.
Now that we have been in the house a while reality has set in. There is a huge temptation to want to overhaul the entire house as soon as you buy it. Lots of things need updated, some of the things that were updated weren’t my taste. And doesn’t a new home call for some fun, new furnishings?
Discontentment can be contagious. There will always be something to improve or update on our home. Someone will always have a nicer house. And sure, new furniture would be nice, but the furniture we have works just as well for our family and guests. Once I realized where I had let my mind slide to, I knew it was time to straighten out my priorities.
Our priority right now is to get out of debt. So all of our extra money is going to our debt snowball, and not major home repairs and renovations. Once I weighed out what being out of debt will mean to our family, suddenly the outdated front door wasn’t such a big deal.
I also realized that nothing was stopping me from personalizing the house, even though I am on a budget. For the first 6 months we lived here we didn’t change anything except the locks. I got curious about what was under the very old, worn carpet that covers our downstairs and decided to rip it up in our foyer. Some of it was beautiful hard wood. And some of it was not. And some of it was patched, possibly even by a blind person. I was really dejected that I had only made the house look worse.
The moral of the story is, you don’t have to live with things that make you hate your house. You also don’t need to do a $10,000 remodeling job to improve the aesthetic. There is a ton of gray area in between and lots of budget-friendly fixes that can dramatically improve your home. Here’s a few we have done.
If you want to spruce up your home on a budget, meet your new best friend paint. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to drastically change the appearance of a room. Our bathroom was the one room of our house I really hated. It was bland, ugly, and really made me feel like I was living in a dump. For about $50 total investment we painted the walls, painted the cabinets, changed out the hardware, and got a new shower curtain. I absolutely love it now!
Decorating my entire house is NOT in my budget right now, but I can afford a little bit at a time. Out of every paycheck I earmark about $20 to home decor. A lamp here, a picture there, and this house is starting to feel like home. Coupons from Hobby Lobby definitely help stretch my $20, and just this week I picked up this piece for about my desk on their 50% off sale! Just because you are on a budget doesn’t mean you cant buy decor you actually love, you just need to budget it out ahead of time.
I mentioned the old, gross carpet that covers our lower level. We were going to replace it when a home improvement store had a sale, but through their mistake we missed the sale window. This put the price out of our budget for now. Since I had already ripped up some of the carpet, we HAD to find a budget hack for flooring because I hated feeling like I was living in a construction zone. I ended up putting down these peel and stick carpet tiles. This project cost us a couple hundred dollars, and will definitely tide us over until we can afford to professionally replace all the carpet.
Whether your home is brand new or 100 years old, I promise it’s going to be a lot more pleasant to live in if it is clean. This is especially important when you are on a budget because you cant afford to be replacing things. Setting up a morning and evening cleaning routine has dramatically improved the cleanliness of my home, and has also made deep cleaning much quicker and easier.
When we moved into our house the previous owners didn’t have a water softener. There was such severe hard water buildup on the kitchen sink we thought we would have to replace it. After almost 2 weeks of scrubbing and elbow grease, the sink looked great! We saved ourselves hundreds of dollars by just cleaning it.
Some people are blessed to buy their dream homes, or have the financial ability to totally renovate them. But a lot of us aren’t in that position. If you fall in this category with me I hope this post inspired you. Not only can you make small improvements, it is indeed possible to love your home on a budget!