The #1 rule of renovating and remodeling frugally: doing the work yourself.
Mr. Frugalwoods and I have discovered that most supplies and equipment are fairly inexpensive and can be used on multiple projects. Labor is where high costs come into play. For this reason, we tackle projects that are heavy on the labor and low on the skill. In other words, stuff that takes a long time to do but doesn’t require advanced technical knowledge. And, we’ve had to become somewhat fearless in our renovating–if we don’t know how to do something more technically advanced, we research it, and if we still don’t know how to do it, we just start trying. It usually works out fine and the places where we’ve made mistakes are not all that noticeable (though don’t be bringing a magnifying glass to our house!).
We operate on an 80/20 principle: if it looks 80% better, don’t worry about the other 20%.
Sure a professional would probably do it better, but trust me, you’ll appreciate a wall you paint yourself much more than a wall you pay someone to paint. When Mr. FW and I do projects ourselves, we tend to focus only on the positive outcomes because we know the sweat that went into it. The spots where I got a glob of paint underneath the staircase handrail are badges of honor, whereas if I’d paid someone thousands of dollars to paint it for me, I’d probably be furious that they dripped paint. We also enjoy DIY-ing together! It’s fun to learn new things and we feel a great sense of accomplishment with each project.
As part of living a frugal lifestyle, we spend a lot of time at home.
Some people ask us: if you’re so frugal, why do you spend any money at all on home beautifying projects? The answer is that we love our home and it’s something that brings value to our lives–the key for us is spending money purposefully and in meaningful ways that bring us fulfillment. Most of our dining, entertainment, and free time is spent at home. Our house is our restaurant, coffee shop, movie theatre, bar, salon (serves hounds and humans!), gym, and well, home. Since we’re home so much of the time, we want a place that’s peaceful, energizing, clean, and aesthetically pleasing.
We do projects that increase our home’s value.
This is debatable since taste and beauty are always in the eye of the buyer, but, we intentionally select styles/colors and projects that we think will appeal to potential buyers should we ever decide to sell our home. How do we know what buyers will like? Mr. FW and I go to open houses all the time. Like every weekend. In addition to being awesome free entertainment, open houses of recently renovated high-end homes in our region give us our best renovation ideas!
I hope you enjoy reading about how we’ve transformed spaces frugally. Please share your frugal DIY tips! I’d love to hear what you’re doing at your place.