bartering & budgeting

on younghouselove.com yesterday, they posted a tribute to their thrifty fathers...and they referenced a post (click here) they did recently on money management. i am just so excited to read all their awesome advice. it is always fun when you find a kindred soul out there...

we started 2 years ago remodeling our house. we estimated everything would cost about $6,000. we've more than doubled that now and are not done yet. but, over the last 2 years, we have learned countless lessons, not only about how to remodel but how to estimate and bargain shop, etc. dave & i discussed some of this just today.

here are some lessons we have learned:
  • if you want to pay cash for everything (which we do) we need to have a very realistic estimation of the costs that will go into remodeling a room up front. (for example, we thought it would cost $800 to remodel our guest bath...then we determined there was extensive water damage and the entire room had to be gutted...we ended up spending $2500)
  • we need to be sure that we both have the same expectations for a room...if one of us is thinking granite countertops and the other is thinking stock laminate that could result in a huge difference in price...
  • it really pays to take our time deciding what materials to use. for example, right now we're choosing tile for the master bath floor and to surround the shower/tub. the first option we chose would be $160 just for the tile (not including adhesive, grout, etc.) i thought to myself "that's not good enough" a little phrase we picked up in FPU from Dave Ramsey. So i went to another store. still not good enough. i went back to the first store. found another ceramic tile option that would be about $130. dave liked it better but THEN we found marble on clearance. it would only be about $105 considering we have a tool that we can use to bullnose natural stone ourselves. seriously considering this now. so, we may end up with marble tile in the master bath for $105! we spent way more than that for the guest bath tile, and it's not as nice a material.
  • another thing we've learned along the way is that you need to do 1 room at a time or you will become very discouraged and disgruntled. we're now in the process of trying to finish 5 rooms before our baby arrives in 2 months.
  • another thing that dave has really mastered is the "art" of bartering. we have lots of very talented friends and family members and we've discovered that pretty much everyone is interested in bartering services and not spending money. for example, dave's been able to work on several peoples' cars in exchange for our entire kitchen being re-wired (and up to codes that we don't even know exist), a new furnace being installed, and floor joists and walls being replaced in 1/3 of our house. :) why shouldn't neighbors help out neighbors in the scope of our talents?

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