Posts tagged ‘budget’

November 17, 2011

Tips for Designing on a Budget

by Cait

Since I’ve scored some great deals recently I thought I’d share a few tips on what Robert and I do when we’re trying to stick to a budget. This could probably be broken up into a several posts, but I figure I’ll at least lay the groundwork here, and expand on things if anyone has questions. Also, these tips probably won’t work for everyone, it’s just what we do.

1) Determine how much you have to spend – In the case of our guest bathroom our budget is roughly $2000-2500. It’s best to determine the budget before you start a project, but in the case of our guest bath that wasn’t really an option. After a pipe burst in the wall we found black mold while trying to repair the pipe, so we pretty much jumped headlong into demolishing things and never looked back. Which is basically the reason it sat for six months while we saved up to redo it. Here’s an excerpt from a post I wrote about the Guest Bath budget a while back before we started hardcore crunching numbers.

    “…we’re hoping that when it’s all said and done we’re under $5,000. To me that seems like a huge jump from $485, but Robert points out that we have to redo all four walls, the ceiling, insulation, the floor (and parts of the subfloor), some of the electrical, and all of the plumbing (inside the walls as well as moving the toilet and shifting the sink over). I know all of that is going to add up to a lot more than I was expecting, but hopefully it will still end up being a lot less than $5,000.”

2) Research – Figure out what it is you want to do. Search on Pinterest, read blogs (in addition to all my blog friends’ blogs I sometimes troll sources like Apartment Therapy, Decor Pad, Design*Sponge, Desire to Inspire, Fresh Home Ideas, and Houzz), flip through books & magazines, ask your friends, ask your mom (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – my mom is creative, resourceful, thrifty, well-informed, eco conscious and hilarious. She is the perfect person to bounce ideas off of, and often picks out design elements that I never would have considered.), bounce ideas off your blog friends by email. Whatever works best for you.

3) Measure – Take some basic measurements of the space before you start shopping. Better to know ahead of time that you have 96 inches to play with instead of falling in love with a 103 inch sofa and not being able to fit it in the room. The same goes for tubs, sinks and shower arms. If your bathroom is 76×93 inches, you probably don’t have room for both a garden tub and a stand up shower. Consider having your smartie husband do the math for things like square feet to avoid trying to remember algebra to make him feel included.

image from Home Depot

4) Price It Out  – Now that you know how much you have to spend and what you want to do, start estimating how much the material costs are going to be. Loving white shaker cabinets with honed carrara marble counters? Shop around to figure out what the average price is at the usual suspects – Lowe’s, Home Depot, Ikea, and any regional chains you might have. This is also a good time to start adding the prices of everything you want to see how it fits into your budget. (Robert created a spread sheet for the guest bathroom because he’s a big nerd we like to be organized.) It might work out that there is a way to get those honed marble counters and still stay within your budget, but sometimes you have to get creative.

5) Consider Your Options – This gets its own step because this is where you somtimes have to get creative. Once you’ve figured out how much things typically cost see if there is a way to make it work for you. Maybe Ikea cabinets paired with marble from a local outlet is the best option, maybe it’s Habitat for Humanity ReStore cabinets retrofitted to work in your kitchen & countertops you splurged on, and maybe it’s a less expensive countertop for the majority of the kitchen and a marble remnant topping an island. If your heart is set on something there is usually a way to make it work, or at least there is an agreeable compromise until you can pull the trigger and go for it. (We pretty much hated the crumbling tile in the guest bath from the moment we moved in, but we made it work for a while with a coat of paint, a new mirror, shower head and spa-like shower curtain. A full bathroom redo was simply not possible with our budget when we first moved in.)

6) Shop Around – Be sure to check out local places, ask around (friends, relatives, other bloggers close by) if you aren’t sure where to start. Most of our best deals came from a local home renovation outlet and our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Also check online at places like Amazon, eBay, Overstock, Craigslist, Freecycle. Thrift stores and salvage yards are great, too, and I’ve heard some cities have a “Love it or Leave it” section at their local garbage dump. We aren’t lucky enough to have that here, but Robert and I aren’t strangers to the occasional curb-shopping-on-trash-night episode (that’s where our yellow Art Room chair & front porch bench came from, as well as a few other pieces). Read sale ads, search for coupons (online and in the newspaper), consider asking family members for gift cards for holidays or birthdays, ask stores to price match, and haggle if you have to.

7) Buy – This part is probably obvious – when you find what you want for a price you’re willing to pay- buy it! Hypotheically, if you find 351 glossy white 3×6 subway tiles at your local ReStore, consider looking like a crackhead sitting on the floor counting them all to makes sure there are enough. Also hypothetically, it’s good to know how many of something you need before you start looking around, to avoid making math errors while hurredly counting tiles.

A few other tips:

  • Make a design board to see how purchases work together. I’ve made several variations of our guest bathroom plan, it helps make sure everything looks cohesive.
  • Keep an updated list of purchases (including where you bought it from and prices) to help keep yourself on track. Keeping receipts is good too if the places accept returns.

What about y’all? Any tips of your own? What works for you when trying to stick to a budget? I’d love to hear any tips you have!

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October 21, 2011

Guest Bath Redux: A Few More Purchases

by Cait

Absolutely no work has been done on the guest bath since the last time I talked about it. Unless you count all the hours of overtime I’ve put in at work to save up the funds to work on it again. Fortunately the nice chunk of change from that has eased the spending freeze on the bathroom a bit.

That being said, I finally ordered the faucet and tub spout because today the price on the faucet was down to $158 again (from $176) and Overstock had also sent me a coupon. For $180 with free shipping they are both on their way into my hot little hands. Now on to bigger and better things like drywall vent fans.

You may notice that I also changed our floor tile choice on the design board. We perviously chose white hex tile ($5.95/sq ft), but the about the same time I was falling in love with this lantern shape tile ($6.95/ sq ft) I noticed that octagon dot tile was only $2.57/sq ft. Fortunately we liked all three choices equally, because we’re saving quite a bit of money by changing our minds. Also, both our local Home Depot and Lowe’s carry this tile in store, so we can buy only what we need, rather than ordering full cases (unless they let you order partial cases? I didn’t get that far in my research).

Also, anyone who follows me on The Twitter knows that with the recent cold snap (record lows this time of year for sunny Florida) I have been complaining nonstop about the frigid tile in the hall bathroom. Here’s hoping I can convince Robert that we should add radiant heat to our list of things we want for the bathroom (and eventually hall bath, kitchen and laundry room). Maybe he will agree because I have been so good at saving us money on big ticket items thus far? And because I’ll let him keep the thermostat lower in exchange for toasty floors?

Here’s hoping.

And for those of you playing along at home, here’s a round up of what we’ve spend so far.

Costs Thus Far:
Shower Arm: $22.99 (eBay)
Sink: $20 (local home renovation outlet)
Shower head: $25 (local home renovation outlet)
Toilet: $149 (local home renovation outlet)
Mirror: already owned (HomeGoods)
Shower Diverter Escutcheon: $65 (Period Bath)
Vintage Porcelain Faucet Handles with Escutcheons: $20 (eBay)
Shower Diverter Handle: $5 (eBay)
Bathtub: $124.99 (ReStore)
Sink faucet & tub spout: $180.87 (Overstock.com)

Total:
$665.89 (includes sales tax and/or shipping)

I’d say we’re doing pretty well on budget (we’re hoping to keep things below $5,000. Hopefully way below.)

Still to Buy:
Sconces
Recessed lights
Vent fan
Curtain rod
Tile (walls & floor)
Caulk & grout
Drywall & green board
Paint
Tape & mud
Insulation
CPV & other misc plumbing bits

Anyone else working on (or recently finish) a complete gut job of their bathroom or take on any other big projects? I’m loving Our Humble A{Bowe}d’s kitchen reno. Who thinks I’m crazy for wanting radiant heat for a bathroom floor in Florida?

September 8, 2011

Budget Cuts

by Cait

Generally speaking I try to shy away from talking about budgeting here. The last time I wrote at length on the subject was March, shortly after Robert switched companies. It’s not so much that I’m uncomfortable talking about money (although I kind of am sometimes; I always feel like my comments come off as judging other people on how they spend their money). It’s hard to keep in mind that everyone spends their money differently when talking about budget. The “simple” ways that a lot of people cut back in order to make up for a loss of income just don’t work for us. We can’t just go “Well, I guess I’ll stop getting my biweekly mani/pedi & give up my cup-a-day Starbucks habit, you can give up your gym membership, and together we’ll stop going out to dinner & a movie weekly and skip our vacation” because we don’t really do any of those things to start with.

Robert and I often find ourselves reminded of the fact that we may not be like most couples. We don’t go out to dinner very often, we haven’t seen a movie since a spontaneous decision to see The Men Who Stare at Goats (when it came to a small theatre that sells pizza and beer in 2009). Robert doesn’t go to the gym, I have never gotten a manicure in my life, and when I buy coffee it’s $1.12 mug refill at Einstein’s. Of course that doesn’t mean we are hoarding our money, it just means we choose to spend our money in different ways. We love our house (working on it & buying things for it), we love food, and occasionally I go a little retail crazy. (Especially when the seasons change and new cuter stuff comes out. Though to be honest, when I say “retail crazy” I mean I shop sales at places like Target & Old Navy and I spend about $100 total. Last year I bought the sweaters I mentioned in this post and the boots I mentioned here.)

Over Labor Day weekend I “splurged” on a pair of gray pants from American Eagle. They were 40% off with free shipping. Unfortunately a lot of women my size had the same idea, because when I checked on my order yesterday I saw it had been cancelled (without so much as an email to tell me “sorry, we ran out of your size even though we said they were in stock when you ordered”).  I tweeted (did you know I am on The Twitter?) to vent my anger/disappointment and had a brief conversation with Kim at NewlyWoodwards.

Then earlier today I tweeted to say I was planning to go buy a sweater at Target after work.

After a long Twitter conversation with several other bloggers about boots, I started making a list of things that make me happy this fall. Which somehow morphed into a list of things I wanted to buy this fall (with the exception of my boots from last Black Friday). And honestly I was ok with that at first. Then I saw Amanda at Our Humble A{Bowe}d’s post about their kitchen plans, which made me think about our guest bath and everything left to buy for that. At that point I stopped thinking about fall clothes (mostly) and tweeted this:

While standing in Target clutching the sweater I wanted I came to the conclusion that I need to chill out with spending for a while. Even $1.12 for coffee or a couple of $20 sweaters can add up. Maybe I will rediscover all the fun things I bought for fall last year, and we have plenty of smaller projects we can work on while saving up for the bathroom. (I really, really would like to use our new tub soon.)  I dejectedly put the sweater back and came up with a few goals for this fall.

Oh and I made one more small change.

I change the dry-erase label on this jar pretty frequently.

How do y’all encourage yourselves to save up for big projects?

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July 25, 2011

Guest Bath Redux: Another Look at the Budget

by Cait

Remember back in April when we tried to fix a pipe that burst in the wall of our guest room, wound up discovering mold in the walls, and decided to do a complete bathroom overhaul instead? Yeah… about that. Sadly with everythig we’ve had going on the bathroom has pretty much been sealed off and waiting for us to have the time & money to tackle it since mid-May.

the guest bathroom in its former “dealing with it” stage

We haven’t done much besides gripe about how we need to get the guest bathroom back in working order think about exactly what direction to go with for the guest bathroom. I knew I wanted white subway tile and blue walls even before I found this picture on Houzz (back before Pinterest stole my heart), and thankfully Robert liked that direction a lot.

from houzz

Then the oval tub we removed during demo and put upside down in the backyard cracked on one edge. We tried to see it as a good thing, since making a solid surface tub surround would have been a pain in the neck with an oval tub. And then the second-guessing started. Did we even want a tub in that bathroom or if did we want a stand-up shower? Did we want hex tile on the floor or something more unique and unusual? Should we buy a new tub or cast one out of concrete? Pretty much the only things I never second guessed were white subway tile and blue walls.

 Last Thursday I was thinking about bathtubs (I prefer plumbing fixtures to jewelry) and looking on Pinterest when I saw the very modern Kohler Underscore. I fell in love with it for just long enough to realize that it’s supposed to retail for $1100 ($755 at Home Depot) and have a panic attack about our budget. Thankfully my good sense returned quickly and rather than resorting to desperate measures to fund our bath remodel I started searching around again. I sent Robert a link to the Kohler Devonshire ($350 at Home Depot) but neither one of us really liked the indentations around its edges. Then asked him sort of offhand if he could stop by our local ReStore to see what they had.

iPhone picture Robert sent me of the tub

Cue the heart palpatations when he sent me this picture a little while later. Someone must have heard my feeble cries for “fabulous on a budget” (to quote Jami from What The Graham), because this white tub was only $124.99 and it fit perfectly into our plan for the bathroom. I spent the rest of Thursday and part of Friday freaking out that someone else was going to buy it out from under us before he could go back, but luckily no one else was interested.

With that new addition, I decided it was about time to update the design board and reconfigure our budget tracking. We are still nowhere near ready to finish renovation, but I wanted to take a look at what we have ahead of us.

updated design board

You’ll notice that since the last design board I changed my mind on the sink faucet. I’m sure Robert is thrilled. However, he likes the tub spout I picked out, and agrees that the new faucet coordinates better. (Both from Overstock.)

I used a tub, toilet & sink that are similar to ours (tub shown is by Kohler, toilet by Glacier Bay, but the sink was something I Photoshopped together using one by St Thomas Creations and one by American Standard). Our sink is by St Thomas Creations, the tub is by Aquarius Bathware and I can’t remember the brand of our toilet (Zeus maybe?), but they’ve both been discontinued.

The sconce is from Lowe’s, and is similar to this one from Pottery Barn. The mirror was a HomeGoods purchase from right about the time we started the blog, but I’ve seen the same mirror at Pottery Barn, on Amazon, and possibly on Overstock.

Not pictured on my design board are the shower diverter escutcheon I ordered from Period Bath, and the shower diverter handle and faucet handles with escutcheons that I scored on eBay. We splurged on the shower diverter escutcheon, but I think we made up for it with our eBay finds. Period Bath has great customer service and quick, shipping, but it would have blown our budget our of the water to buy the other pieces from them, too.

shower diverter escutcheon and my eBay finds

Costs Thus Far:
Shower Arm: $22.99 (eBay)
Sink: $20 (local home renovation outlet)
Shower head: $25 (local home renovation outlet)
Toilet: $149 (local home renovation outlet)
Mirror: already owned (HomeGoods)
Shower Diverter Escutcheon: $65 (Period Bath)
Vintage Porcelain Faucet Handles with Escutcheons: $20 (eBay)
Shower Diverter Handle: $5 (eBay)
Bathtub: $124.99 (ReStore)

Total:
$485.02 (that includes sales tax and/or shipping)

I mentioned last time I did a budgeting post that we had spent about $326 thus far. I’m not sure if I factored that with or without tax&shipping, so I added everything again (minus the faucet spout and the metal cross handles, since we’ve changed our minds about using those) and then factored in the bathtub and a few other smaller things that we hadn’t purchased yet the last time.

Still to Buy:
Tub Spout: $40.99 (Overstock)
Sink Faucet: $159.99 (Overstock)
Sconces: $17.98 (x2; Lowe’s)
Recessed lights
Curtain rod
Tile (walls & floor)
Caulk & grout
Drywall & green board
Paint
Tape & mud
Insulation (two rolls)

And I might be forgetting some things. Again, we’re not ready to jump back into things, but we’re hoping that when it’s all said and done we’re under $5,000. To me that seems like a huge jump from $485, but Robert points out that we have to redo all four walls, the ceiling, insulation, the floor (and parts of the subfloor), some of the electrical, and all of the plumbing (inside the walls as well as moving the toilet and shifting the sink over). I know all of that is going to add up to a lot more than I was expecting, but hopefully it will still end up being a lot less than $5,000.

I’m starting to panic again. Sometimes I think Robert is rounding up and fearing the worst about what we’re going to run into as far as unforeseen-costs, but then I look back at other bathroom redos and realize they didn’t have to demo nearly as much as we did. Robert says the ones I’ve shown him don’t count because they didn’t fully demo everything, and then he tried to prove his point by giving me a panic attack talking about his plans for the hall bathroom. Which he says he can get done for less than $700. And then it led to a “discussion” about pocket door hardware.

What about y’all? Has anyone done a complete bathroom redo, from the studs back out? So please, help a girl out by sharing the figures from your bathroom redos!

PS- We weren’t paid for this post in any way, all opinions on Pottery Barn, HomeGoods, Overstock, Period Bath, etc are entirely our own. (Although if any of them would like to help fund our renovations, that might help with the panic attacks and heart palpatations.)

May 6, 2011

Loose Ends

by Cait

Apologies for the scattered post with few pictures.

Sometimes it seems like there is too much month and not enough money. I really need to get my behind in gear figure out what exactly to sell on Etsy (no, I still haven’t decided/listed anything since this post). I’m considering having prints for sale, and maybe photographs. Would anyone be interested in buying a print like the ones in this post? I like the idea of the digital file route that Katie Bower took for her print shop, but I know that there are a lot of opinions about providing the file for prints and photos like that. Perhaps if Ryan agrees to help make some of my ideas happen we could sell some hairpin legs or something. Any suggestions or requests are welcome (as long as they aren’t requests to shut up, because then I might have to escort you off the blog-premises).

I also need to churn out some posts on the things we’ve finished up around here. Tying up the loose ends, if you will. I have a long-ignored list of posts I have been meaning to write, so please bug me if I continue to slight y’all on the how-tos/etc. Please accept the below teaser photo of the living room curtains (the full room shots came out like crap, need to retake those when it’s not cloudy/getting dark/raining) and a very-belated kitchen curtain photo until then.

In other, semi-related news: Robert and I will probably be taking a break from gathering the supplies for the guest bath this weekend. If you follow us on Facebook you may have seen mention of Project ADD and a photo of the laundry sink we picked up yesterday at a local salvage yard ($75 for a “mop sink” that is about $500-700 new seemed too good to pass up). Otherwise, budgeting is still tight (and has been), so this week what might have been spent on tile, Dens Shield or greenboard needs to go to Dots’ annual appointment, because with a backstory like hers we really can’t afford to mess around with the little missy’s health. Later this month it will be Freckles’ turn, and then we can get back to business as usual with the stalking bathroom deals. Home Depot still has the best price I’ve found on subway&hex tile, so when possible we will probably be going with them.

Happy weekend, y’all! I hope to be back next week with long-overdue posts, and maybe some bathroom demo photos (because even if we can’t buy tile, we can demo, right?) And hopefully this post doesn’t come acorss as begging.

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March 25, 2011

My Two Cents

by Cait

First of all, I’d like to say a big, big thank you to everyone who commented (and to everyone who comments from here on out) on this post.  I read (and responded to) each & every comment, and I hope that y’all won’t be shy about commenting in the future (but there’s no pressure, I do read a lot of blogs and I don’t always comment).  Y’all are so sweet and Robert & I are lucky to have such supportive readers!  Reading y’all’s comments really made me feel as if anything is possible, which is pretty much how I felt when I started this blog (“Anything is possible! West Elm, Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, HomeGoods and Z Gallerie could find my blog and sponsor me because the love it so much!”)  Obviously the parenthetical situation has not happened (yet?) and hopefully those of you who follow me on Facebook are not annoyed with my feeble attempts to pimp myself out to West Elm, HomeGoods, Fabric.com, etc.

I have been doing research about what is and isn’t allowed with a free, WordPress.com hosted blog as far as ways to make some extra money.  Google AdSense is not allowed, but it looks like Amazon ads are if you have original content (at least if I’m reading that right?)  I think that paying for a new host would be the opposite of helpful at this point, so WordPress.com it is.  We actually have an aStore, but we don’t really mention it (and I often forgot to sign in and organize it), so I think the only time it earned anything was when I followed my own sidebar link to buy something from Amazon.  Some bloggers link to their aStore in their wish lists, but because ours more of a spin-off of our Source List ( there’s a small link at the bottom) it doesn’t really do anything (aside from being the misfit button on our sidebar that I haven’t bothered to color correct).

In the spirit of “here goes nothing!” I will probably start doing a few things that I like to call Passively Blogging for Money.  For starters I may add a few aStore links into our Wish List and then just add the “List contains affiliate links” disclaimer to the bottom as a few other bloggers have done.  I will be creating an Etsy store and I’ll be sure link to it on our sidebar.  Technically I already made an account under the name RepurposedMaterials, but I haven’t done anything aside from favoriting a few things and putting my first name in my profile.  I haven’t listed anything at all, but you can bet I will be calling on y’all to teach me the ropes!

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March 24, 2011

Cutting Back

by Cait

This is not an easy post to write.*  I hate admitting we don’t have everything together, and I don’t like talking about overly personal things on this blog (which is why instead of writing about it before I just said we were taking a break).  This is a house blog, and I want it to remain a house blog.  However, you might have noticed that there has been a lot of talk from me about what I’d like to do to our house but not a whole lot of actually doing anything.  (And if you hadn’t noticed, or you recently started reading, I just called attention to that fact.  Dang it!)  In an effort to “keep it real” as the big time bloggers say: there is a reason for that (beyond when we said we were going to need to here thanks to a minor roof leak). 

Robert recently moved from his previous company to a competitor, took quite a pay cut, and picked up a part-time job to help make ends meet.  I won’t go into details of the move, but suffice to say it was spurred by what my mom likes to call “a witch-hunt”.  He may also have to cut back on the number of classes he is taking, we’re not sure yet, but it’s a bummer because he is thisclose to graduating.  Also, my company was bought out by a larger competitor (which happens to be inconveniently located up north), so we really don’t know what that means for my employment status over the next 18 months- which is how long the proposed “changes” are supposed to take to kick in.  They tell us that they are keeping our office in town and that the management will run it as it has always be run, but we shall see what happens.  I’m trying to be very Pollyanna about all of this, rather than freaking out.

In the panic from not getting to talk to my “in case of emergency person”** about this because we’re in a fight all this, I did think about pimping out the blog for sponsorships, but I still don’t know how I feel about that and, uh, it’s a tiny blog so I doubt it would get sponsors. Or starting a print shop or an Etsy shop, but I don’t know that there is any interest in that  (also I’m a chicken).  I even briefly thought about offering to make headers or graphics for blogs, but with the stress of Robert’s job situation I’m pretty sure I’ve been doing a terrible job of working on Heidi’s (I’m so sorry, Heidi! I emailed you a few things to look at, hopefully we can work from there!), so that’s probably an awful idea.  So, as a result of all of my hairbrained ideas not panning out, we have done a few small things to cut back. 

image seen on YHL

1) iTunes – We don’t have cable, but we love our Apple TV, especially when it isn’t football season.  We have the previous generation one where you can buy directly from the couch.  Hello impulse purchases.  My parents gave us an  iTunes gift card for my birthday and we have been hoarding it while we try to decide what to spend it on.  And then our season passes for our two favorite shows ended, so now we’re watching a lot of the (gasp) DVDs we already owned, and I am wish listing a SuperDrive so we can add those shows to our digital collection and possibly sell the hard copies.  On the plus side: Cutting out/down on iTunes purchases also means we are spending more time bike riding, walking the dogs and working on small projects around the house that we already have supplies for.

2) Cook Meals Using the Food in the Pantry & Freezer –  Similar to what YHL did before moving to their new house, we made a list of all the things in the pantry & freezer and have challenged ourselves to make meals using those things and only shop for basics, like milk, eggs and produce.  Seems obvious I know, and we are pretty good about using what we have, but we definitely don’t menu plan.  Generally spealing, we make the decision of what to eat for dinner spur of the moment, and sometimes that means an unplanned trip to Publix (or our favorite Chinese take out place).  So we started this in an effort to both cut out impluse grocery purchases and to focus on what we bought that we don’t really eat.  On the plus side: This should help our grocery shopping tendencies, because we will know if there are things we bought just beacuse it they were BOGO and never ate.

3) Work on House Projects We Have Supplies For – We have been trying to do this for a while, but we keep changing out minds about things like interior door hardware (ie- the Tea House doorknobs on the sidebar wish list).  Since I do not want to quit blogging, we have to focus on projects from the top section of our To Do List (and maybe the outdoor shower, if we can budget that well).  We have been talking about how much we think it will cost to paint our house’s exterior, and we aren’t sure when the best time to take that on will be.  Maybe we can work on it in stages as we have the available funds.  On the plus side: This will help us clean out the shed, we have doors, an outdoor fan, and many other things piled up.

4) The Blog – As I said, I don’t want to quit blogging, but the nature of cutting back and things like #3 mean that this blog may change a bit.  I will probably go back and work on tutorials I forgot to post about things like the lamp in our guest bedroom, or hanging curtain wires.  We may also work on the layout, the blog sections, organization, floor plan (darn you Floorplanner for making me want to yank my hair out!) and things like that.  On the plus side: Tutorials, yay! (Right?)  And also, hopefully a prettier, easier to navigate blog for y’all.

5) Credit Card Points – Though we prefer to buy things with cash or debit cards, our credit cards get a workout from time to time.  Our credit union has a nice rewards program that allows us to choose between the pretty standard credit card “gifts” (7000 points for Pyrex containers? no thanks) and merchant gift cards.  They offer ones for some places we wouldn’t use, but we like the Home Depot and Williams-Sonoma options (especially since the Williams-Sonoma one can be used at Pottery Barn and West Elm).   So although we still don’t want to use our credit cards much, on the plus side: We have a gift card to Williams-Sonoma on the way.

6) The CJ – We may have to sell our ’81 CJ-7 that “I bought Robert” as an anniversary present last October, and just when it’s becoming beach weather, too.  I really don’t see a plus side to this.  We have a neighbor who wants it, but then we’d have to see it every day and not get to drive it to the beach on a sunny summer day.  Kind of like how he sold his ’99 Suzuki Bandit 1200s to a friend when we were saving for a house; we get to hear about all the work being done to it, but we don’t get to (finally) take it to Deals Gap in May.  Major bummer.

I certainly don’t hope that y’all can relate to this, but I do hope that you have patience with us while we cut back and budget so that we can continue sharing our DIY projects with y’all.

*Since this is not a topic that  I enjoy covering or even cover very well, check out other budget cutting posts by YHL, such as their Life on Less post, and others filed in their Save Some Moolah category.  Also, feel free to comment with links to your favorite posts on budgeting.

** Blatant Grey’s Anatomy reference.

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