Getting through this renovation on a shoestring budget, alive and well.

I’ve got a big renovation going on at my house. Well, it hasn’t started yet but the bills have sure started rolling in!

I’ve got my permits, my plans, my cost breakdown and a contractor lined up to do the work. Now, we’re just waiting to get started since he has another job to finish first, emptying out my stuff and tear-down starts this weekend and another few weeks before my little house turns into chaos.

This renovation has cost me countless sleepless nights already because I really don’t have the money to rebuild part of my house. I’ve been mulling and mulling it over and today I sat down with YNAB and planned my budget.

I’m going to try to get through the rest of July on a very bare budget and I have all my expenses, food, everything and a little blow money figured out for the next two months.

My budgeted expenses are;
– $1150 for August and
– $965 for September

I’ve figured out that during that time period I will then be able to put $4,117 CASH towards the renovation! Since the whole thing will run at about $7,500, in fact renovations usually go over, I’ll only have to borrow about $4000 on my SLOC to do it all! I should also be able to pay that all off and keep up with paying extra on my student debt by Dec 31st.

All in all I think that I can finish off the year owing about $5,000 on student debt with the renovation PAID in FULL. And, even if things don’t run as planned… my original goal was to have my student loan below $10,000 for the year WITHOUT this renovation so I think I’m going to get through this year okay no matter what. (Eck, then I’ll have to start thinking about my tax bill though)

But, it is very important that from this point forward I can’t be breaking my budget at all. I have a mostly new wardrobe, new shoes, I’ve got everything I need… a roof over my head, fun new toys to play with, heck I even have a fancy new phone. Go go gadgets. I’ve got blogs to read and write and awesome friends to hang out with, I’ve got a few cooking skills so there’s no need to be eating out all the time and I should be able to control my spending. There is no reason for me to break my budget other than lack of self-control or extenuating circumstances.   (Feel free to send me a stern email if I do try to wiggle myself out of that one)

This all makes me very very nervous though. It’s so easy to justify spending $5 here and there. I don’t deal with stress well, but this renovation has to happen… EEK!

Have you dealt with any big expenses that just had to happen? How did you handle it?

Published by Renée

I write about my life, travel and my financial up and downs on my blog, Nickel By Nickel, while contradicting myself daily. ;)

19 thoughts on “Getting through this renovation on a shoestring budget, alive and well.

  1. That’s great that you’ll be able to put so much cash toward the renovation. I feel compelled to say this though, but only because I used to do the same thing: as long as you leave that “or extenuating circumstances” line in your “there is no reason for me to break my budget” mantra, you’ll keep having extenuating circumstances. Savings and insurance are the ticket for those.


  2. Aww and renos are stressful enough as it is without having to worry about financial stuff, too!

    You can live through it! Plus, if you ever need more spending money, you could just sell something 🙂


  3. It sounds like you have it pretty well planned out. Living on less to make up for the big cost of renovations is a great idea.

    I can be the same way with *ahem* will power. Maybe if you make it into a challenge instead of something that you have to do you can trick yourself into following through?

    Best of luck!


    1. I’m trying to do that a little bit, trying to hit my year-end goals and my grocery budget… I know that restricting myself just backfires… I could NEVER do a no-spend challenge… have to find a balance here, got through the week okay I think


  4. I have found that no matter how hard you try, renos always seem to cost more than you plan.I am not sure how it happens but it does. I think you have a done a great job planning though and making sure your basis are covered. Renovations are challenging in the best of circumstances so be fair to yourself.


  5. Big expenses that have to happen are the worst, because they seem to come whenever they feel like it, no matter your financial priorities at the time. Jackie is right – even the smallest things become “extenuating circumstances” when your budget is small – it’s tough to keep going, but we must!


  6. When I got divorced, I moved into a house that was built in the late 50s and hadn’t been updated since. My dad and I remodeled the entire house ourselves – everything from refinishing hardwood floors (that had been covered with pink carpet for years) to replacing the baby blue toilet! I saved a ton of money doing it myself, but it wasn’t really worth the amount of time and energy I spent. And the house still isn’t 100% completed.

    No matter how you do it, renovating is expensive! Just make sure that the changes you make will significantly increase your home’s value. Spend on those things and save on the things that won’t make a big impact.


    1. Well, I’m adding a bed-room to make a onebedroom house a two-bedroom house, value wise I think I’ll get what I put in but not much more than that… which is crappy… BUT it will make for an easier sell and also gives me a much better opportunity to rent it out if I want to do that instead! Sucks to do it but I think it’ll be a win-win in the end


  7. Pingback: Weekend Yakezie Round-up – Breaking the 200,000 Alexa Barrier Again | Spruce Up Your Finances
  8. Pingback: July recap « Nickel By Nickel
  9. I started trying to really stick to my budget last month, but I found that I’m needing a bit of warm up to get good at this. I’d say, instead of trying to eat out “less,” decide to eat out not at all, or pick a budget and once you spend it, you don’t get to eat out anymore. I did well all month, but a couple of “situations” close to the end of the month ended up with me going out to eat with friends AND paying someone else’s way a couple of times, sending my eating out bill from about $50 to over $100 in a couple of days.


  10. Pingback: Renovating: Demolition! « Nickel By Nickel

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create your website at
Get started
%d bloggers like this: