Photo: iStock
« »

Differentiate "Needs" and "Wants"

Carolyn Jeanne Heida and her husband are both seasoned DIYers. After they completed many projects on their 1881 house, which is included in the National Register of Historic Places, their son decided to move back in to attend a local university. They planned to build him a four-room apartment in their utility basement, which already had a private entrance but wasn't considered living space. Their budget was only $3,500, so they had to have several frank conversations about what was really necessary and what was a luxury. In the end, they decided running up two flights of stairs to the house's main bath was impractical, so their son needed his own bathroom. He also needed a kitchenette for basic food prep, a storage space for his sports and photo gear, and a counter for working and eating. In the process, several ideas were nixed for their cost and lack of necessity, including wall-to-wall carpeting, built-in speakers, and all new furnishings (the couple found everything from atomic ceiling shades to the bathroom's Formica counter second-hand).

Learn more about getting what you need on a budget:
5 Tips for Getting the Goods Cheap
Small, Smart Upgrades for a Small Space
11 Ways to Save While You Splurge
How to Make a Small Space Kitchenette on the Cheap
Ask TOH users about Home & Real Estate

Contribute to This Story Below