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Frugal Advice - Home Improvements

January 28th, 2011 at 02:26 am

The best financial wisdom I have picked up for over the years is that there is usually a way to have something virtually identical for much cheaper. Or, the good things in life don't have to cost a lot of money.

Just seems to be a constant recurring theme in the discourse of personal finance. A recurring theme in everyday conversation with people around me.

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Today's Topic? Home Improvements...

Flooring, to be exact.

I suppose owning a small condo before we bought our first house was a good chance to *practice* home ownership.

The condo was remodeled to the hilt before we moved in, and so we didn't have any home improvement costs the two years that we owned it. Like, we didn't spend a penny on improvements.

That said, the carpet was a horrific white color. I am sure it would be pretty if there was no such thing as dirt. But, it became obvious pretty quickly that it wouldn't have been our first choice.

Funny enough, my cat puked all over the carpet over time, and left lovely pink splotches all over the carpet. (Pink from the food we feed her, I suppose).

When we bought this home we bought new construction. When we went to pick out our flooring, I remember looking at the carpet and settling on an almost mauve color. Dh and I looked at each other and said, "I think that would hide any cat puke stains." It was a very neutral/pplain color, but had a hint of that pinkish color to it.

I remember picking out this marble looking linoleum for the hard floors (kitchen/bathrooms) because it had these beautiful grey streaks through it. IT was GORGEOUS, first and foremost. But, we looked at it and said, "That will hide the dirt."

I share all this because today was the TRUE TEST for this flooring. (We've lived here 10 years, by the way). Linoleum is easy to clean, and I don't think the kids have been too harsh on it (as harsh as they have been with other parts of the house, anyway).

But, they were drawing on some white paper on the floor (my idea) with a permanent black marker. It was part of some toy and I didn't think too much about it. BUT, the ink leaked through the paper (I believe). I really don't think they were drawing on the floor, but who knows.

& suddenly my *perfect looking* floor is covered in black marks and streaks.

I tried not to cry as I got out some all purpose cleaner and let it soak for a bit. I didn't notice for about 24 hours after the mess was made! As I wiped it up, it was coming up a little bit. Not 100%, but I could breathe a little sigh of relief.

As I continued at it, some of the streaks and spots turned grey. I sat back and giggled at the genius of buying this floor in the first place. I honestly couldn't tell you what is pen marks and what is natural grey streaks, any more.

Thinking through your home improvements can really keep your costs down over the years. I'd probably rather live with black spotted linoleum than replace a perfectly good floor covering. But, thankfully I don't have to make that decision today.

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All that said, I just have to add that it is also important to consider all options, and to consider the long term costs when choosing different home improvement options.

I share because I wonder how many of you are thinking why wouldn't we buy fixxers and do DIY improvements to save money? The fact is, the fixxer/DIY ROUTE makes little financial sense in the region we live in. Certainly not for the types of housing we searched out and when we bought. Doing the math, we came out ahead going different routes.

I think it's a good example to not just blindly believe that "x" is super expensive and "y" is the only frugal way to go. Over the years, with an open mind, we have found good deals in unexpected places.

2 Responses to “Frugal Advice - Home Improvements”

  1. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    If I could not get the marks off or subdued, I might have asked the kids to do their artwork on the same kind of paper placed over every square inch of the floor, so it would all be even. Wink

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    @Joan that is too funny!

    @MM again great advice

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