Budgeting a renovation can be difficult, but it's not impossible. It's hard not to feel envious when you see your friend's brand new kitchen or bathroom, only to return to yours, which might feel cramped or have outdated fixtures and floor tiles.But you don’t need to take on more debt to have a home you’re happy with. When we talk about things like credit counselling and debt consolidation, it doesn’t mean your life has to be put on hold. There are many ways you can successfully manage your money, finances, and debt while still being satisfied with your lifestyle. Debt management is not about giving up the things you love; rather, it’s about balancing your finances and goals in a way that won’t push you further into debt.
If you've ever contemplated taking out a loan, maxing out your credit cards or dipping into your kid’s education fund to spruce up your home, below are some reno ideas and tips to help keep you out of debt.
Set Up a Separate Savings Account for Your Renovation Goals
If possible, give it a fun name that motivates you like “Kitchen Goals” or “New Bathroom.” Whenever you spend less than expected on an expense or cost, put the extra funds into this account. For example, if you budgeted $500 for Christmas gifts but only spent $400, you can put the extra $100 into this account. The same goes for regular expenses, like your gas, transportation costs or groceries. Any time you save on those items, throw those extra dollars into this account as part of your money management efforts.
You also can set up an automatic transfer of a fixed amount from each paycheck to go directly into this account every month, even if it’s just $20 at first. Additionally, any extra funds you receive, such as bonuses or income tax returns, can also be deposited into this account. Once you start regularly contributing to this account every chance you get, you'll see the savings grow before you know it.
Get Real About Which Renovations You Really Need
When looking at your home — whether it’s on your own or with a friend or professional contractor — you might come up with some wonderful ideas for redoing an entire room, but it’s okay to scale back and only focus on the must-haves. While these ideas may be enticing, the cost can add up very quickly. Get a breakdown of the costs and examine which changes will really make a difference to your everyday life and which ones will cause more financial grief than they're worth.
For example, you might want to reface or replace your entire kitchen cabinets. Refacing your cabinets can easily run $7,000 or more, according to Home Advisor, and replacing them can double that price. But if your kitchen cabinets are in good condition, a fresh coat of paint and simply replacing the handles could make a world of difference. Even just decluttering a space and changing up the furniture, lighting, and wall décor can give your home a whole new, modern look.
Embrace DIY and Think About What You Can Do Yourself
Think of simple changes that won’t cost you much and that you can do yourself, such as painting, switching light fixtures and window coverings. There also are a ton of “textured” wallpapers and adhesive films that you can use that are made to look like marble, brick, wood, etc. and can cost as little as $14 on sites like Amazon. (We recently updated an old kitchen hutch just by using white and marble wallpaper.) The possibilities are endless with these types of DIY home projects and you're only limited by your creativity — and Pinterest can help with that!
Don't Underestimate the Cost of Financing a Renovation
Using credit for home renovations has become so commonplace that many contractors now offer direct financing as a perk. While using credit or even a home equity loan can make your renovation goals a reality sooner, it can add hundreds to thousands of dollars to the cost when you calculate the interest. Ask yourself whether updating your bathroom a few months sooner is worth the actual price it will cost after you factor in financing.
Pay Off Old Debt First
If you still have unsecured debt of any sort, take care of it first before indulging in keeping up with the Jones'. A credit counsellor can help you with this task. And don't forget about paying any personal debt(s) you owe! What would your friend or relative think if you still owe them money and they visit your home and see your new hardwood floors? Be honest: If the situation was reversed, you likely wouldn’t appreciate it, either.
Get free budgeting and debt help from Credit Canada
Having a home you can be proud of while managing debt is possible with just some simple planning and getting the right support you need. If you need help managing your debt and everyday expenses while achieving your goals, set up an appointment for a free Debt Assessment with one of our certified Credit Counsellors by calling 1-800-267-2272. They can show you all of your available options and the ins-and-outs to getting what you want.