In an economy like this, how can we avoid talking about money? And since it’s our blogiversary week, we thought we’d take a look back at the most expensive project in Young House Love’s history (and how we managed to make it slightly easier on our wallets).
You’ve probably seen pics of our kitchen remodel (if not, they’re below), but unless you’ve read back as far as January, you missed the big cost breakdown of our gargantuan project. In that post we opened up our bank accounts so you could see how even while spending $17,500 we still managed to save ourselves $5,500 by negotiating with contractors, finding sales and buying discounted items. Good stuff. Who says you can’t be a penny pincher and high roller at the same time?
What we didn’t mention back in January is that we eked out even more savings by playing the no interest credit card game. When it came time to fork over $14,000 in cabinets, countertops & installation fees, we opened a Home Depot credit card (during their ever-present “no interest or payments for 6 months” promotion). We had the money at the ready, but rather than pay it off on the spot we stashed the cash in a high interest savings account. Of course our Type-A-aversion-to-debt made this hard, but we knew it would be worth it in the end.
And it was. By taking advantage of an interest free 6 months from Home Depot (and investing the 14Gs) after half a year we earned 210 bucks in interest when it came time to pay off the bill in July (weight lifted). It’s nothing to retire on, but it helped us pretend that our faucet and seeded glass pendant were free. Which is pretty darn sweet when you think about it.
Do you guys have any great money saving tips or stories to pass along? You know we love a good bargain (especially one that makes a home improvement project a little easier to swallow) so let the sharing begin.
Love this entry. I’m a numbers person so it is great to see how you pulled it all together. Smart idea on the no interest credit card (only becuase you were disciplined enough to stash the cash away for the 6 months.) I LOVE your kitchen!
Former Richmonder says
Can we get some tips on how you negotiated with those contractors? The thought of that is so daunting to me!
And you’re not alone — I got a Home Depot credit card when I bought a new washing machine. I got no payments and no interest for six months, free delivery and removal of the old machine, AND a free toolset! Love it.
Ditto! We did the same thing @Sears when buying a fridge, washer and dryer this past year. I’d say you have to “know thyself” when you do something like this, though – not a ggod idea if you’re the spendy type.
A co-worker turned me on to http://www.ebates.com. Before you shop, visit ebates and set up a free account. Then choose the store you want to shop from the ebates site (west elm, Target, Walmart, Shutterfly and so many more often mentioned on this blog) and it redirects to that store’s website. If you purchase during that same session it keeps track and gives you a percentage back. Once per quarter they send you a check for your purchases. Sometimes they even offer a gift card bonus on your first purchase.
I used this to buy several things from my two moodboards and will have a nice check coming back to me soon.
Also, I search for coupon codes online a lot and get free shipping or discounts off of purchases. We saved $500 bucks that way remodeling our guest bathroom.
Your kitchen is stunning! And those counter tops are so dreamy!
Great job : )
Just a little tip here: we signed up for a credit card with a rewards program that includes Home Depot. So everything we charge earns points that we can redeem for Home Depot gift cards. This paid for our built-in entertainment center, part of our new fireplace (tile was from Lowe’s) and part of the paint we used on our home’s interior.
Count us among those who’d love to hear your tips for working with contractors!
I love your kitchen! The after is just stunning, love all the white!
I did want to know where you got that wavy white dish type thing that is on the counter. I have been looking for those for a while now and can’t seem to find it anywhere!
Love those money tips chicas- thanks for passing them along. And as for where I got the wavy white dish, it’s actually a giant faux clam shell from zgallerie.com that I use as a fruit bowl. John surprised me with it last year for my birthday and it’s been everything from a dining room centerpiece to part of my holiday decor- that shell gets around!
Oh and since there seems to be such an interest in contractor negotiation tactics, I’ll be sure to write something up for all you home improvement bargain hunters asap!
From what I’ve recently found out, the best way to save on house projects is to get one’s parents to pay for everything! While this may sound bitter, it is actually an observation accompanied by a feeling of disbelief. In the past four months, I have watched a few friends have their parents provide these younger (20-early 30s) couples with their house downpayments and renovations. I am not describing a gift of “here’s a washer and dryer” – I have watched exchanges from a few thousand dollars to upwards of 30k. In fact, I know a couple (both beyond age 35) who are getting their formal wedding covered and a gift of a huge plot of land. So, if you had helicoptering Baby Boom parents, all you need to do is ask. Cabinets covered!
The best way to save is by knowing when to DIY and when to hire for it. Most projects are cheaper by DIY, but the ones that I can really mess up, I hire for them.
Lauren, you are so on the money girl. Knowing when you can do it yourself (and when to put down the drill and call in the experts) is an invaluable tip when it comes to fixing up your home on the cheap. God grant us the knowledge to know the difference!
Well, this is probably not the norm, but my husband and I went to a strictly no-debt lifestyle. We got tired of finance charges, juggling no-balance accounts that inevitably go high-interest when we’re not paying attention and the monthly payments that accompany a lifestyle of debt. So, we now pay for EVERYTHING in cash. We have opted for much more budget conscious choices with this house than with our last (bank- and credit card- financed) home. It is worth it to sleep easy at night!
I love this idea. I often make purchases on store credit cards even though I have the money available, but it usually cause there are “extra points that month ” or some other catch, but I never would have thought to invest the money and get some “free” money in the meantime. Thanks for sharing!