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TOH wants to know how you blew your budget

We’ve heard lots of tales of renovation budgets gone south. Have you ever blown your budget on a home improvement project? If so, what’s the one thing that really landed you in the red? Was it worth the extra dollars?

Tell us your story here,
or
email it to Scott@thisoldhouse.com with subject line “Blown Budget.”

You might find your story in TOH magazine’s June issue.

MLBSF
Re: TOH wants to know how you blew your budget

i'd be more interested to know who "stayed within budget" and how they did so?

litcritter
Re: How I came in at budget

I was putting in a half bath, and doing almost all of the work myself, which helped. I figured out what we needed, and priced every item, then entered it all on a spreadsheet, with lines for qty and price from my research, then entered in the qty and price when I bought. Then I had a line at the top with budgeted expense and actual.

Some things ended up being cheaper, some more expensive, but what really allowed me to come in under budget was that the formula that totalled up my budgeted expense added in a 25% padding for random things to go wrong.

I ended up coming in $15 under budget on a $1100 remodel.

krgsmith
Re: TOH wants to know how you blew your budget

Buying an 1850s house itself didn't break the budget because we didn't expect to be doing extensive work on the house. My husband and I were first-time buyers and we searched for two years before finding this 'affordable' house -- but we quickly realized that the house was "The Money Pit."

We saved countless cash by having my husband be our GC. Literally, it was via recorded episodes of TOH, the internet, a borrowed copy of the NY State Building Code book, and occasional guidance from a contractor friend that taught my husband what to do. The carrot-on-a-stick payment to my husband was to build a steam unit into our Master shower (especially motivating during the northeastern winters!). We'd budgeted for the eatra water-proofing, the tiles, the steam unit, ... but when we got estimates for the shower doors we were surprised at the extremely high cost of them. It took us nearly a year to save up for the doors because it turns out that 9-foot doors are much more expensive than 8-foot doors. We understood that we could lower the ceiling at the shower entrance and install shorter shower doors, but opted to save up for the extra money to pay for the extra tall doors instead. For the extra 'bling' factor and oodles more light coming in, we believe it was worth blowing our budget for them!!!

brianmonnin
Re: TOH wants to know how you blew your budget

When I built my house I went about 10k over budget on a 225K total cost. The main items that sent us over budget was ICF forms and upgrade to better Pella Windows with blinds between the glass. I was my own general contractor and these cost add up quickly.

ghull
Re: TOH wants to know how you blew your budget

I am not one to "blow the budget" exactly. I don't count the purchase of new tools to accomplish the task as part of the actual project budget. To stay in budget I must say that I was "green" before it was popular. I've recycled lumber, light fixtures, and various other things needed for a particular project. Try the Habitat warehouses in your area. I redecked a boat dock using 2x6 lumber I salvaged from helping a friend tear out some old horse stalls in a barn. Scope creep has always been what breaks a budget. Consider doing a project in phases or breaking it down into several seperate projects to prevent the original one form becoming a budget eating monster.

Greg

jkirk
Re: TOH wants to know how you blew your budget

in response to brian monin's post
you mentioned you spent hte extra money on an icf foundation. wait 5 years and see how much you'll save on heating costs. i am a licensed nudura icf installer and a licensed carpenter.

this past spring i worked on a 4200 sq ft building that was intirely icf. this building is used as a vet clinic. we spoke to the owner just recently and she compared her heating bills to last year's . the old building was only 1300 sq ft and yet the heating costs for the same time period are now 1/3 the cost of the old much smaller space

in regards my own personal renovations. on my own home for the work completed so far which includes refinishing all the hardwood, tiling my front entrance and bathroom, installing new trim through out and paint. all of which was done by myself and my brother we have saved close to 10,000 just in labour

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