Amy Clark

We Lived Thrifty So We Could Do This…

I feel like a confession today. Over six years ago we purchased our first home and  have been steadily making progress on the house ever since. We have done everything from painting kitchen cabinets, painting walls, more painting, renovating our patio, and getting our children situated in their rooms. We have also outsourced things like getting a new roof, knocking out walls, landscaping, new furnace, and new air conditioner that were all desperately required updates on our late-sixties home.

We are coming to the end of the DIY road and now moving into uncharted territory…a major home renovation. We will be knocking out a wall to create an updated family room complete with built-in storage and fresh new drywall with crown molding. We are finishing our basement to create a private home office that will be away from the family chaos so I can write my first book (editor’s note- let’s see if anyone actually picks up on what I just said). We will also be creating a walk-in pantry with a cubby for our kitchen computer. To top it off, we are getting new flooring throughout our home.

We will be doing all of these home improvements and paying for them with cash that we have been saving. Truth be told, we are paying for all of our home renovations with the money that I earned from my site. Although we don’t do “his” and “hers” accounts, we keep my income in a separate account to track income earned and business expenses. That account is where we will be withdrawing the funds from to complete the project.

I have gotten some criticism from family and friends that we should just move into a new house and skip renovating this home.  If the housing market was better, if there were better houses on the market that fit in our budget, and if I had a desire to get out my neighborhood, I would…but I just don’t. I didn’t pour all of this money, blood, sweat, and tears into this home to abandon it because it is lacking two rooms that I would like. It makes more sense to me to invest in the home that I have learned to love so much and make the most of it. These renovations offer a long term solution for making the most of our space as our children get older.

When I think about it, it makes my heart beat really fast and I find my hands getting sweaty. Spending money makes me do that. Spending this will greatly diminish the financial cushion that I love so much. It doesn’t mean we will be eating beans and rice every night, but it will mean careful management and hard work to restore the cushion again.

You just can’t be a frugal blogger and not address something major like pouring money into a home renovation. I am very proud that we can pay cash for it, that we continue to live in a home that is within our family’s budget, and that we will be able to renovate our home to accommodate our family’s long term needs.

I look forward to sharing with you what is happening in our house, how we saved on our projects, and why these renovations will offer long-term living space for our family.

Why am I telling you this? Because I want you to know that we are still living within our means. Still paying cash. And still committed to a life of no debt. I want you to know that we even bartered my husband’s web design services to save on the project. I want you to know that the reason this blog works is because I am authentic and committed to the goal of living my life on a budget.

Basically, it feels good to share it with someone who understands the beating heart, the constant questioning of yourself that you are making the best choices, that even though you save so you can spend on what is important that it is so incredibly hard to part with your money, and that is still cheaper in the long run to update your home then to move and start paying on a new mortgage, and I am absolutely making the right choice.  Can you tell me that?

Are you saving for a long term goal in your family? What is a dream project, trip, or family experience that you have been saving for?

Published February 01, 2010 by:

Amy Clark

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of MomAdvice.com. You can read all about her here.

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