Forget the Bathroom....Save My Bank Account!
By Nikki Willhite
I'm a big fan of HGTV (The Home and Garden Television Network).
Having said that....sometimes I get a little upset with some of
It seems like the goal on many of these shows is to buy the most
expensive house you can afford (with the largest closet), or take
as much money as you can out of your equity to fix up your house,
I like living in a nice house. I have dozens of articles about
decorating on my website. Esthetics are very important to me. I
have a 4-year degree in Interior Design from a major University.
However, I also believe that you should work to pay off your
mortgage. Going into debt for newer and nicer things all the
time is just not wise.
You may not be thinking about it now, but someday you may want,
or need to retire. When that day comes, you are going to want to
be out of debt and mortgage free.
Do you really have to spend $30,000 to update your bathroom? Do
rooms in your home really need to be updated after 10 years? I
don't think so!
When it comes to bathrooms, you can make them perfectly acceptable
with just a few " tweaks".
You do not need the wrecking ball to gut your room and drain your
bank account of thousands and thousands of dollars.
I would like to make a few suggestions for fixing up bathrooms.
There are a lot of things you can do to an outdated bathroom to
make it livable. Here are some of them:
- Paint the cabinets and change the hardware. Almost all
cabinets look nice when painted and with new hardware.
- Install an new faucet over your sink. This will make your
sink look new.
- Update the lighting. Getting rid of dated light fixtures
always makes a space look more contemporary.
- Install new vinyl flooring. You don't have to have
expensive tile on your bathroom floor. There are many
beautiful designs in vinyl squares, which is an easy
- Change the toilet.
- Re-glaze your bathtub.
- If your plumbing fixtures are colored, decorate around
Sometimes a bathroom can need things done to it that you can not
do yourself. Find a good handyman, or at least get several bids
I moved into a house with a 70's bathroom. We did a lot of the
things above ourselves. Does my room look glamorous? No. Is it
acceptable, and do I find it attractive? Yes!
The sad things is- for those who have to have the latest, most
trendy items in their home, those items will be considered
outdated in another 10 years.
I recently heard one honest designer say that it is better to put
in classic pieces that never go out of style than the "latest",
because that will date a home and make it less valuable in a few
Can you imagine how it would feel to have one "showroom" in your
home, and then just "regular" rooms throughout the rest of your
home? How long do you think it would be before you justified
updating the rest of your home so that it would be more
"compatible" with your bathroom? How much more money would you
end up spending?
I have a healthy respect for money. Money provides us with the
things we need. It is a representation of our time, energy, and
work. Spending $30,000 on a bathroom could mean working for 1-2
years for the average family to achieve that bathroom. Is a
bathroom really worth that much of your life?
And don't think you are just spending $30,000. Money grows. Take
that $30,000, put it in an investment vehicle for 10 years at just
5% interest, and at the end of 10 years you will have over $49,000.
On the other hand, pay 6.5 percent interest on $30,000 over 10 years,
and you have now paid another $26,000 toward your $30,000 bathroom
Your bathroom has now cost you over $56,000.
Which sounds better to you?
Lots of things can happen to you as you go through life, and many
of them can be unpleasant surprises. I can promise you that no
matter what they are....money in the bank is going to help you
through those times much more than a showroom bathroom.
I will continue to watch these shows on HGTV for ideas that I
can scale to my budget. MORE IMPORTANTLY, HOWEVER, I WILL WATCH
MY BANK ACCOUNT.
Be prudent, be wise. Use your health, resources and all that you
have with restraint, an eye to the future, and good judgment.