Redecorate In Stages


How to Manage Your Money & Your Expectations

For the past few months, I have found myself just sitting in silence on the couch fantasizing about how I want to redecorate my living room.  At first glance, it’s not so bad.  From the crown and base molding to the beautiful hardwood floor – the room is not without charm.  However, when you take a slightly closer look; my linen white walls are now looking kind of lemony, the lighting is all wrong, the leather on my club chairs is way more than stylishly worn, and my designer couch and has become a high traffic scratching post for my cat…Not cute!

My instinct is to bite the bullet and re-do the entire room all at once, but my wallet is singing a different tune.  My dilemma: to replace my furniture alone will cost me several thousand – not to mention new light fixtures and hiring someone to help paint my intricate trim and do some minor repairs.  That’s about six grand that I don’t want to spend right now – and I certainly don’t want to put it on my credit card!

So, although it’s going to be a psychological challenge, I have opted for only spending what I can afford by decorating my living room in stages.  Here are some Fab & Fru tips to help both you and me get the room we’ve always wanted – one step at a time!

Create Your Decorating Plan & Your Budget

Although we’ve responsibly decided not to overcharge our credit cards, it’s still important to create an overall budget and decorating plan upfront.  Shop for furniture and paint colors now.  Do you need a contractor?  Get your quotes now, too! Do your homework and craft your design.  You can’t REALLY determine your budget until you know exactly what you want to purchase and how much the work is going to cost.  And you certainly can’t manage your cash flow and decorating schedule unless you know if, and when, you’ll be able to afford it!

Prioritize Your Schedule

The next step in the process is to schedule your project based on your cash flow and what’s most important to you.  Make sure everyone who is involved has their expectations in place – including your own!

Let’s look at my situation for a moment.  What do I want to do first?  And how much can I afford to start spending now?

I need to get new furniture, repair & paint, and get new light fixtures.  I’ve determined my overall budget of $6,000, and I’ve figured out that if I spread the entire project out in stages over a course of four months, I will easily be able to manage my expenses. Here’s my plan:

1.  August: Order new couch: $1,600

2.  October: Bring in repair man to fix cracks, repair window sills & paint moldings: $1,200

3.  October: Finish painting the walls myself: $100 (surprise savings of $700!)

4.  End of November: Purchase 2 new chairs: $1,400

5.  January: Buy & install new lighting fixtures: $1,000

Total New Budget spread out over the next five months: $5,300

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