Friday, May 28, 2010

The main reason I've been so quiet lately

Ok, I think I'm ready to tell you now. One reason I've been so quiet is that we've been busy. Because we've just moved. Into a house. That we are buying.

Buying a house may not be the most frugal thing that we have ever done. There are pros and cons to owning and to renting. (One pro to renting is that generally, they clean between tenants.) For us, owning is something that we wanted to do, and it gives us more freedom in our lives. Freedom to do things like garden, have a dog, and hang a picture.

We had some time in the house and apartment overlap, so we used it to work on the house.

Here’s what we did:
-         Ripped up carpet in the bedrooms, hallway, and the living and dining rooms
-         Completely refinished two of the bedrooms (I covered the vents! Husband did most of the heavy lifting here)
-         Removed more wallpaper and wallpaper borders then I care to remember
-         Painted four rooms (with tremendous help from my dad)
-         Removed some damaged drywall in the bathroom and replaced it with cement board and tile.
-         Hired an electrician to upgrade the electrical box, and fix a few things.

Not cheap, but could have been worse. And, of course, there is more to be done, but we are very happy with our house, and what has been done so far.

My husband’s job has him interacting with people all day long, and it proved to be very helpful in finding an electrician, and discovering what we want to go ahead and try to do ourselves. Like the floors.

Over the past month, we have spent more time in home improvement stores than I had in my previous 26 years of life. We got to know the rough tools and such, and were considering redoing the floors ourselves, fully acknowledging the fact that I didn’t think I could handle the floor sander. In preparation, my husband watched the Ask This Old House video several times, but we were still on the fence.

At work one day, he helps a professional floor restorer, and gets a rough, unofficial estimate to refinish all our floors. When he told me, my eyes about bugged out, a la cartoons. Off to the home improvement store we went, our decision made! Since I’m a bit paranoid about putting too much stuff online (Sound contradictory? Yes, but I never claimed to always make sense.), I won’t go into exact dollar amounts, but after renting the floor sander for two days, and buying the other necessary products, we spent less than a tenth of what the professional would have charged us. We aren’t finished yet, though considering the costs, doing it ourselves may take time (which we have), but will save us a ton of money (which don’t have).

All this being said, my husband does have some experience with this sort of thing. Not the floors, specifically, but in general. I recognize that not everyone can do something like this, but we are lucky enough that we can.

Since this is getting a little long, I’ll end with a link to a picture of our shiny bedroom floors, pre-furniture. (Also, mid-painting.)

What home improvement projects have you tackled yourself to save money?

No comments: