Renovating in 2018: Budgeting for Repairs

How to Pay for Renovations and Repairs Without Taking Out a Home Loan or Using Your Credit Card

You’ve decided on the project, you’ve priced out DIY vs. contractor hiring, and now the only thing standing in your way is the money.  Did you know that 7 out of 10 Americans have $1000 or less in their savings?  Without going into the economic politics of this information, that means that most Americans don’t have money set aside for home improvements and repairs.  So, what can you do about it?  With a little bit of planning and discipline, you can have that project bought and paid for without having to pull out your credit card or applying for a home improvement loan.

Step One: Write down the cost of the renovation then add 15%.  


Even if you received quotes from contractors and handymen, this is just the preliminary number and while reputable contractors will do their utmost to stick to that quoted amount, things happen.  Cost of materials may increase, an undiscovered problem like a leaking pipe in the bathroom could arise…you just never know.  Give an extra 15% to Murphy’s Law in advance so there is less chance of having to take out a loan later.

Step Two: Look at your time frame to set up a payment schedule.

Maybe you have time to look ahead into the future and you can put off instant gratification.  I know it can be tough when you see the shiny pictures on Pinterest calling your name to renovate now, but unless you want to take out a loan or put it on your credit card which only creates debt, step away from the pin button.


Say that you got a quote for a full master suite addition for $25,000.  Add 15% to it for the Murphy’s Law.

$25000 X 0.15= $28,750 to Save

Let’s just further assume that you don’t want to touch the current savings that you have and you want to start setting aside money for this addition for a year from now.

$28,750/12 months=$2,395.83

This gives you the amount you will have to save each month for this project.

Step Three: Figure Out Where You’re Going to Get That Money By Tightening Up Your Budget

Tighten Your Belt - Austerity

Almost $2400 to put away per month can make anyone’s head spin.  How are you supposed to find that kind of money?  Take a look at your accounts, track your spending, and come up with a new budget for your household to make it work or you can adjust your time frame in step 2.  Just putting off the project another year will reduce the payments to $1200.

As for the budgeting, I am following an EXCELLENT home budgeting plan that you can find for free here!

Step Four: Adjust Your Plan

Even after all of this, it may be that you’re still coming up short and you may be reaching for the phone to call the bank or into your wallet for the credit card.  Pause and think before you do that.  Of course these options are perfectly fine as long as you are fully aware of the terms of the program and sometimes you have no other choice.  This is blog  mainly to keep you out of debt while renovating.


Go back and look at your total renovation plan.  Do you really have to have the granite counter tops for the vanity or could you be perfectly happy with a solid surface that is half the price and the same color?  Do you really have to have a french door off the back of the house?  Check in with yourself to make sure that these items are what you really want so you can “down grade” to get what you truly want i.e. the new master suite so you don’t have to share a bathroom with the kids.

Step Five: Get A Side Hustle

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Still coming up short?  Everything is possible when you have a strong enough why.  You can get that extra money by working a little more at the job or getting a little side hustle going.  There are a ton of options out there.  Find something you enjoy doing for a little extra cash and get to it.  Here’s a list of things you can do take make that extra money. 

Need some tips for home renovations? Give me a call!

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Allen Tate Company


My Website



You have questions? I have answers!  Leave me a comment below!

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