January Budget Breakdown and Home Remodeling Fun

January Budget Breakdown and Home Remodeling Fun - picture of hands hammering up tile

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Good morning, peeps.  I know, I know.  My budget breakdown is totally late this month.  But I have an excuse!~  We got possession of our new home last week and we’ve been working on it like crazy people.  We spent the last weekend painting every single room in the house, cleaning up, and doing prep work for the professionals we have coming in.  And so far, so good.  No matter how many times I paint a room, it always amazes me what a difference a coat of fresh paint can make.  Our new house wasn’t dirty when we bought it but the paint was rather dated and beat up.  Now everything looks amazing and I know it will look even better once all of the floors go in.

Ugh.  Speaking of those floors, my budget was friggin’ painful to write out this month.  It’s all fun and games until the bill comes due, am I right?  Fortunately, I signed up for several high-spend rewards credit cards before the whole deal went down.  So at least there’s that.  Anyway, here is our January budget breakdown….and it’s a doozy.  Brace yourselves.

  • Rent: 0
  • Groceries: 500
  • Daycare: 750
  • Car Insurance: 380 (due every 6 months)
  • Internet: 120
  • College L: 100
  • College V: 100
  • Gas/Misc: 200
  • Cell Phone: 55
  • Health Insurance: 395
  • Misc. Utilities: 300
  • Movers: 800
  • Carpet: 5000
  • Countertops: 2100
  • Paint/Misc: 500
  • Tile Install: 900
  • Custom Cabinet: 350
  • Dishwasher: 500
  • Plumbing: 250
  • Garbage Disposal: 85

Total: $13,385

Yikes.  First, let me clear a few things up.  We didn’t have rent at our rental home this month because I was paying a month ahead.  We also don’t have a mortgage payment due until March 1st so that will go on next month’s budget.  Score!  I estimated 300 for utilities because I wasn’t sure when I would start getting utility bills for the new house.  They went into my name on January 6th so there’s a good possibility that none of those will hit until next month.  Also, we hadn’t planned on replacing the dishwasher but changed course after finding out that it is a total piece of shit and the way it was installed isn’t up to code.  So we bought a new dishwasher at Lowe’s (using a 10% off Home Depot coupon, woot!) and have to hire a plumber to reroute the plumbing.  While he’s there, we’re going to have him install a new garbage disposal since the house doesn’t have one.  Obviously this is an added expense that we didn’t anticipate but that happens sometimes.  Ugh.

I hate the fact that we’re spending all of this money but I have to keep reminding myself that it was our plan.  After all, we got this house for a steal knowing that it would need some work.  Still, it’s difficult for me to spend my hard-earned cash when I work so hard to keep it!  Anyway, here are some pictures of our house in its current state.  And in case you’re wondering:

  • Yes, that is wallpaper on the floor.  Fortunately, only three small half-walls needed to come down.
  • The room with no floors will be my new office.  I love the fact that it already has built-ins and I cannot wait to have an actual office again.
  • I was seriously questioning my choice of front door color when I started painting.  Fortunately, it dried dark maroon like it was supposed to!

new house 2







new house 3







new house 4







new house 7






new house 8


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  1. Sometimes GSD is expensive. But you knew all this was coming and have totally planned for it, so that’s the way it goes. Enjoy watching the progress over the next few weeks!

    1. Painting has already made a huge difference. I cannot wait to see it with new floors. We pretty much ruined all the carpet when we painted since we knew we would be replacing them anyways. They look awful.

  2. You’re doing a great job! Yes, I can see how you might have had some stick-shock this month from all those expenses. But, you look like you have yourself covered and you’re trying your best to spread out expenses, overall. BTW, my favorite room so far is the one with exposed brick!

  3. Wow, that office looks awesome! Spending money like this is always tough, but it’s for a good cause. Hope the rest of the renovations go smoothly!

    1. I know. I probably wouldn’t spend my own money putting a built-in office but I’m so glad it’s there.

  4. I know it’s crazy expensive but it must be kinda fun to finally have the house and to be able to personalize it. I love that fireplace too! I really wish we had one.

  5. Carpet can be expensive! We are in the need of new carpet and I told my wife how much it cost me to replace the carpet in my house – just the upstairs and not the greatest since I was going to be renting my house out soon. She doesn’t think it will cost us that much, but I’m fairly certain she is going to have “sticker shock”!

    1. Yeah, there are some really cheap carpets out there but we wanted something that would last and look good for a very long time.

  6. The house looks gorgeous, and that office is awesome, Holly!! And, glad the door dried darker than the pic – that cranberrish color is a bit…..intense. 🙂

    1. Yeah, it was really weird. It went on hot pink but dried maroon!

  7. That is an amazing office! I love that you signed up for rewards cards before doing repairs. Can’t wait to see the finished house and how many bonus points you got from doing it.

  8. Wow lots of projects! The carpet cost depresses me because I need to replace ours on the entire first floor 🙁 I don’t want to pay $5k but I’m sure it’s a comparable area. *sigh* oh well. If you don’t mind me asking I am very curious how much tile was laid for $900? Did it include the cost of the tile and supplies or just the labor to come in and lay it? I ask because I plan on adding tile by our front door (don’t ask me why it is carpet, drives me insane. gets dirty every single time someone uses it). I also want to put in new tile around our bathtub and floor in our bathroom…ah so many projects!

    1. $900 is what it costs to get someone to do a 11 by 14 office and the tile backsplash in my kitchen. I bought all of the supplies.

  9. Wow! That is a lot of projects, but you have made amazing headway on them already. And I LOVE the red door. I had a red kitchen once. The key is actually priming black, then you get a deeper red, but I am glad it dried the color you wanted. And yes, it is painful to have large expenses, but as long as they are part of a larger plan, then they shouldn’t feel as bad.

  10. The house is looking great! It must be so exciting — exhausting — but exciting. That budget maybe made me throw up in my mouth a little bit… Glad you could handle it!

  11. That budget hurts to see, as I am sure it hurts to write down. I probably already know, but why are you spending so much for internet? Are you still paying for the 4G service?

    1. our temporary home is out in the middle of nowhere and the only internet available is a wifi hotspot. I have to pay per gigabyte and its about $120 per month for all of the internet I need. Fortunately, we just set up internet for our new house and it’s a reasonable $35 per month. Once we move in I can finally cancel the wifi hotspot.

  12. Looks great!

    We’re probably going to be replacing our a/c unit for 5K this month…

    If DH wasn’t employed, we’d be doing the cheaper option of replacing the leaking part for 1.5K. But turns out our a/c unit is really inefficient and we’re killing the environment. It’ll take a while for the new a/c to pay for itself in reduced summer bills but at least we can feel virtuous about no longer being quite as harmful for living in the South.

    1. Nice! Time to sign up for a high spend rewards credit card then???

    1. Thanks Meghan! If you want to come help paint let me know!

  13. “$13,385”!!! Wow Holly…that’s almost what I make in a year!!

    That being said, the expenses will be so worth it once everything is finished and your all settled in. Plus, it’s not like those are your expenses EVERY month!

    Good luck on all the reno and thanks for sharing your pics…the house looks lovely already 🙂

    Take care and my best to all. Happy 2014


    1. I don’t know either. The drawers will fill up easy, especially the two huge drawers because they are built-in filing cabinets. I’m not sure what I’ll put in the top cabinets!

  14. I’m having closet organizers installed in the master bedroom closets this month and a bunch of holes patched and painted beforehand. That turned into a $2,500 project :/ BUT I am so excited for them and it is going to be amazing! No more taped up holes in my ceiling from the ceiling fan install last spring or scratch marks around my front entrance from the movers or terribly unuseful and ugly wire racks in my closets leading me to use only 1/4 of my closet space. So it’s going to be awesome 🙂

    I love your maroon door – it looks amazing! It’s such a great idea to re-paint before you move in and really make the place your own. Congrats on the new house! 🙂

    1. Yikes! Sounds like your closet needed the work! =)

  15. I’m with you on the spending of that much money – I hate doing it, even more so know than when I was in my day job. But, at least, you’re getting some great things out of it, can afford it and getting some nice rewards points out of it. 🙂 That office looks sweet, makes me a little envious. 😉

    1. Yeah, that was the plan. We bought the home at a steal because of all of the work it needed,

  16. Love that door! I may end up repainting our front door, as well as some of the rooms, this year. Thanks for the motivation.

    If you want to shave some bucks of the plumbing bill, I bet you can install a garbage disposal yourself. I am not particularly handy but was able to switch ours out. The PVC plumbing is easy enough.

    1. Unfortunately some wiring needs to be done under there as well which is beyond what we’re comfortable with! =/

  17. Nice digs, Holly! That office rules. I’m sure plopping down $13k hurts, but I can only imagine the awesomeness you’ve got going with the credit card rewards.

  18. I’m totally jealous of your front door. I wanted to paint my front door a similar color (on the outside). Had the paint and everything. My boyfriend wasn’t in favor of it. “Do you know what a red door means?” I was like “Hello, 1950’s!” One of those times when our large age difference shows. Lol! I went with blue instead. It didn’t turn out the color I thought it would, so now I’m super disappointed.

  19. Buying a house and making improvements is expensive. We all know that. I have always budgeted for any remodel work by taking the cost given to me by the contractor, and then multiply by at least 1.5. That’s usually what a remodel comes out to.

  20. It’s never fun writing out those big checks but it will be worth it! Plus, knowing you, this remodeling will probably fund some grand vacation! 🙂 I am always amazed by the difference a fresh coat of paint can make too. Can’t wait to see the finished pics and I bet you can’t wait until it’s all done either!

    1. Oh yes, I’m scoring all kinds of stuff for the 10K + I’m spending. That will be an entire post in itself.

  21. Okay, when $5k is carpet….it ain’t that bad. Tell Greg that if we wants to redo our bathroom when he’s done, that we have a great spare bedroom.

  22. Wow, your office looks so nice!! I know what you mean about spending a substantial amount when you work so hard to keep it – your place looks fabulous, though, I can’t wait to see what the final (ha, I initially wrote financial) product will look like!

    1. Thanks Anna! It will be much nicer when it has a floor!

  23. Girl Meets Debt says:

    Ouch. I can tell the house will look really nice once it’s done though. Make sure to post the “After” pics. J bought a 25 year old condo last summer and we’ve been too lazy and broke to do any renovations but everything is still in relatively good shape. We just still have carpet. 😛

  24. That is an awesome office space. I love having a lot of room and built ins are a great bonus. I like the door color as well. It sucks to be parting with such a large sum of money up front, but it’s worth it to customize the house to your liking. After all, you’re hoping to enjoy it for years!

  25. It looks amazing. I know it’s definitely a lot of hard work, and money, but will totally be worth it in the end. I only wish I had be thrifty enough to put all of our house reno costs onto a rewards card!

  26. Looks Great! Though, it brings me flashbacks of my home renos in 2012! So painful to payout all that money.

    We also earned some airline miles and reward points by using our credit cards but I think I could have done much better with earning rewards. Cant wait to hear how you made out!

  27. This is so exciting! I remember moving into the house that we are in currently and being so excited to get to work on fixing the things we didn’t’ like. Luckily it was fairly up to date, so that was helpful.

  28. Looking good and it’ll be well worth the investment. 🙂 And yes, just a simple coat of paint can change things up immensely! Our entire house was dark wood paneling, and since tearing that down to drywall every room would have run us $15k – we just painted it. It brightened it up right away and looks great compared to the before.

  29. Good for you guys for doing the work yourself. I’d say you’re doing pretty darn good with the costs considering all that needed to be done.

  30. In my first house, installing a garbage disposer seemed so daunting I called a neighbor for help. I just helped. After pulling off a minor (every 5 years) and a major (every 10 years) renovation at an old-style Residence Inn as Chief Engineer (11 separate buildings), I’ve enjoyed home repairs/remodeling like a Springtime walk in the park. If you do another one, or update this one in 20 years, with all the experience under your belts it will be so much easier.

  31. It’s amazing what fresh paint can do for any room – or a whole house for that matter. Taking it step by step is one of the surest ways to tackle a big project without getting overwhelmed.

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  33. It is amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do to a room.

    You guys are taking on quite the project. I hope it went (is going?) well.

  34. I envy you. Remodeling is so much fun, specially when we get to be hands on with the project. And you get to save a bunch as well. 🙂

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