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Category:  Home Improvement

Related Links:  | Home Improvement | Maintenance: Inside | Maintenance: Outside |

Forget the Bathroom....Save My Bank Account!

By Nikki Willhite

www.allthingsfrugal.com

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 the shows.

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There are a lot of things you can do to an outdated bathroom to make it livable.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 do-it-yourself project.

- Change the toilet.

- Re-glaze your bathtub.

- If your plumbing fixtures are colored, decorate around them.

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 from contractors.

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 years.

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.  

 

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