While We’re at It

This is my 100th article writing for HumbleDollar.

One hundred times I’ve rambled on about money; spending and saving it, accumulating stuff, frugality and foolishness, like cats. I’ve written about health care and retirement and my experiences downsizing and moving, not to mention being quarantined in a ships cabin for several weeks in 2020.

Not to worry, I have a dozen more articles in various levels of completion. Observing life provides an endless source of ideas, especially when there is a link to money.

Besides what else does an old, retired, out of touch, curmudgeon have to do with his time? I hope you will take the time to read this full article and some of my other articles on HumbleDollar. I make no money, but it’s good for my ego.

While We’re at It  Richard Quinn  |  April 20, 2021

FULL DISCLOSURE: I am the antithesis of the DIY guy. I was completely banned from home repairs many years ago after I set out to replace an electrical outlet—but switched off the wrong circuit breaker before doing so. We’ve undertaken two major renovations in the past 12 years.

The first was an addition to our vacation home. The second is ongoing—a new kitchen at the same house. We spent months on the plans. In the case of the addition, we reviewed the architect’s drawings and, with the current kitchen project, the 3D computer-aided design models. We set a budget and got estimates for each step of these two projects, or so we thought. In the case of the addition, we ended up about 50% over budget.

To date with the kitchen, it’s close to the same, with more work still to come. Did we get ripped off by the builders? Not at all. We were undone by the “while we’re at it” syndrome. That and our own failure to ask more questions and pay closer attention to details.

Notice I use “our.” I’m married to a lovely lady addicted to HGTV. Every new show she watches presents new ideas—even after the plans are approved and the budget set. In the case of the addition, wainscoting, crown molding and a last-minute idea for French doors boosted the final tab.

Oh, yes, do you want a full basement or crawl space? I’m not crawling anywhere. Now for the current project. The pantry didn’t turn out the way my wife “thought” it would, despite approving the design. Add $3,000 to redo it.

As naive as I am, it never occurred to me a new kitchen also meant all new appliances. Who knew a microwave can go into a drawer?

When setting our budget, we forgot to add in the plumber and electrician, because we were so focused on the big-ticket expense—the cabinets. What could it cost to hook up the new sink, dishwasher and fridge when nothing was being moved? More than $2,000, that’s what.

Of course, cabinets need pulls and handles. They have to be just right, including those seahorse pulls. Those cost what? My wife hasn’t yet made the big reveal. And then there’s the door from the kitchen to the laundry room. That old door just doesn’t look right. It’s a metal door because the laundry room used to be part of the garage, which is now a grandkid’s bedroom. Did I forget to mention that project? That one wasn’t too bad.

Read the rest of this story about the risks of your spouse watching HGTV at the link below.

Source: While We’re at It – HumbleDollar

One comment

  1. Our kitchen redo in October 2019 was budgeted at $25,000 to $28,000. Actual finished cost was $35,000. After talking with some friends who have redone their kitchens I kinda expected to go way over budget.
    But the wife is happy with it, so I’m happy too.


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