We all know that renovating costs money. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat and watch a home makeover/design TV show and found my self saying “well of course they went over budget – EVERYBODY knows that happens….you have to just plan for it”…how naive!
Well it turns out its true. But I mean REALLY REALLY true. Like we planned to go over our budget and even had a “secret emergency budget” to pay for that but when we blew through that 6 months into the project and were still roofless we realised that yes renovating costs a lot of money and then some. I went back to work early (leaving my 11 week old son) after maternity leave because we couldn’t afford for me to be not earning any longer, I had to choose a roof or stay with my child who I felt deserved a roof! Every purchase for the house is carefully scrutinized for maximum efficiency, cost and quality. We try not to scrimp but try instead to spend carefully – making sure to buy the materials that can do a job right the first time and do it well but are as reasonable as possible. All of this is Jon – he research’s things for hours to make sure he’s getting the best possible deal and then he will still try to negotiate (he always been good at that whereas I suck at it!!).
It’s a fact that budgets WILL spiral, unforseen events cause delays (aka the firing of drunken roofers!!) and delays cost money. Then there’s the stuff you didn’t think to include in the budget that costs the earth….we have spent over $3,000 on nails & screw alone so far..no i’m not even joking!!! And how were we to know that we would have to pay to get parts of our home drywalled only for it to get ripped out again a few weeks later and then we’d pay AGAIN for it to get put back once more work was approved and done… sheer madness but a necessity because we live here and so work has to work around us. And I’ve mentioned before that we are debris box addicts but we had planned for 5 in the budget which seemed totally reasonable and now we are on our 18th…yes you read that right 18 boxes at $500 a pop..that’s quite a bit of cash to pay for stuff to be removed from the house!
So how are we paying for this renovation? We certainly aren’t millionaires with a lump sum at our finger tips, and unfortunately I wasn’t lucky enough to be one of the Instagram 16 employees!!
No, we boringly saved my entire salary for over a year beforehand knowing that we wanted to take on this kind of project – we just didn’t think it would be this big! We both work full-time and we try to live off one salary so that the other is used solely for renovations costs. But that’s still not enough. We have begged money from the bank (HSBC) several times, and they have been great until the last time they came to check out the house and deemed it “uninhabitable” and so wouldn’t extend us anymore credit … um yeah that was a major “YIKES what now???” moment (and btw the house was TOTALLY habitable..at least by our standards, ahem!). And we have been fortunate enough to borrow a little from family to help us though this final phase of construction which has been amazing tho we know this isn’t an option for everyone and yes we do have to pay it back so lets hope the bank deems our house habitable soon!!!
Its stressful. Very stressful. We have had to sacrifice a lot of things in order to pay for this renovation – vacations have gone on hold, my closet is a mess and we are surviving on the kindness of grandparents to avoid pricey childcare fees for the little fella.
Money is a tough topic – It can lead to many heated discussions and it most certainly will be the worst part about your renovation….. but my advice is as follows….
1. Keep talking about it to each other and maintain as tight a budget as possible even tho at some point it will slip.
2. Use each other as a sounding board for your purchases and make sure you REALLY want something before taking the plunge.
3. Know when you need to spend money and where you can scrimp. Be open to cheaper alternatives where you can get away with it. (This topic is a whole other post in itself!!!)
3. Track all your expenses as you go – not just before and creating a master excel spreadsheet to do so. Jon has done this and its been invaluable. Everything goes on it and we save every receipt (even the $4 ones) for him to double-check against.
4. Opening a renovation specific bank account isn’t a bad idea either – we made the mistake of having the cash in with all our regular expenses in our checking account and this has caused so much chaos!!
Budgeting for a renovation isn’t easy but if you can master this and you can master anything!