Let’s Talk Money With Michelle of 4 Men, 1 Lady

Something we love about the home-slash-DIY blogosphere is that no matter someone’s renovation budget, there almost always seems to be some great story of money saving. Whether it’s salvaging existing materials, shopping for steals, negotiating a deal, or simply doing it yourself, there are some great stories of frugality and ingenuity out there. So in that spirit we thought we’d periodically share some cash-monay saving tips from some of our favorite bloggers. And maybe we’ll sneak in some eye candy along the way. Sound good?

First up is Michelle from the blog 4 Men, 1 Lady, who has always wowed us with her jaw-dropping transformations. But I should let Michelle take over so you can hear it from the lady herself:

We took a 1970’s rambler complete with gold formica counter tops and rust color carpet and did a complete remodel. We had a good game plan what we wanted to do pre-remodel but once took a sledgehammer to the place we started to see the real potential and the list grew. Thus our estimated 4 month remodel took 9 months. People kept telling us that projects always cost more and take longer than you anticipate and unfortunately, we were no exception to that rule. Seeing the budget quickly go south I knew I had to be really careful about how the money was spent. I made it my goal to shave anything I could off the budget. Here’s what I did.

Cabinets: We exhausted Facebook and asked everyone we knew if they had any good references. Instead of paying a premium price we found a very talented cabinet maker who just quit at a major cabinet company and was starting his own business in his garage. We were able to get inset, custom cabinets for the same price we were quoted at IKEA. Savings: $2,500.

Appliances: I shopped around and found a package deal on high end appliances…”Buy two get one free!” Savings: $1,500. I also was able to buy a floor model hood and the salesman also threw in the family discount. Savings: $700.

Lighting, tile, misc accessories: Home Depot has great prices to begin with but I learned that if you spend over a certain amount you may qualify for contractor pricing. So I made a huge list of everything we needed from doors, lumber, tile, lighting, etc and made one gigantic purchase. Savings: ? $600.

Closet: Every gal knows how important a great closet is. I received several quotes from closet companies which were outrageous. In the end, we used the Ikea Pax system which was really customizable and for a fraction of the cost. Savings: $1,000

Tile labor: Our plan was to tackle installing the tile ourselves. After doing a whole house we ran out of steam and patience. Unfortunately, labor costs more than the product itself…ouch. All the quotes of the tile people were pretty comparable. We asked the sub contractor that we chose if he could come down on his price. We asked 25%, he countered with 15%. We knew very well 25% was wishful thinking but if we would have said 15%, he would have said 5%. (I also talked more about hiring the right sub-contractor in a post here). Savings: $600.

Hardware and misc items: Many stores will have an annual “Friends and Family” month with up to a 25% discount on everything. I waited patiently (or rather impatiently) for these to hit then I made my purchases. Savings: $300.

Thanks for sharing your moneys saving tips with us, Michelle! If any of you want to read (and see!) more about the makeovers shown in this post, check out Michelle’s posts on her Kitchen & Living & Dining Area, Master Bath & Closet, Entryway and Main Bath. She has tons of great photos and full source lists as well.

We’ve already got some other bloggers in mind to tap for some more budget-salvaging tips, but if you’ve got anyone you think would be great to feature, please let us know in the comments and I’ll drop them a line beg.


As a little Friday bonus, here are four fun projects, chats, or questions going on over on the Forums. We also announced this week’s giveaway winners, so you can click here (and scroll down to the Rafflecopter box) to see if it’s you.

by WifeInProgress by GilitC by The_Makerista by juliejm






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