Friday, November 16, 2012

I Hate the B word

Throughout our lives, and through the different people we meet, we have come to realize everyone has a different pet peeve.  Anything from chewing with your mouth open, to the toilet paper facing the right way (which is over, not under if you were wondering).  One of my pet peeves is something that has become more and more socially acceptable.  It's the use of the "B" word.  When I hear this word I feel like a filth box.  I hear the word used in stores, on the streets, and on TV.  In my personal life, I have heard my mother use this word, and even Emily!  Even I have been known to say this filthy word in the heat of an argument.  This word is hard for me to say, but the word is - "budget." I wish we could change the meaning of the word to be more like: 

Budget [buhj-it] noun, adjective, verb: an unrestrained acceptance that whatever the cost is, it will always be a need, not a want.  The fortunate person who finds the sought after item lives by the rule: finders keepers losers weepers, and never has to come up with excuses for the amount which was spent, because money truly dose grow on trees.

Too bad we don't live in the world of shinny new things and endless money.  Sometimes I feel like we set up budgets that never work; especially if you try to redecorate a room or even renovating a house.  A budget sometimes feels like.the ugly sweater your grandma gave you for your birthday.  She had good intentions, but it was all kinds of wrong.  I'm glad this curse word, budget, has been instilled in me.   I know what my spending limit is.  Having a $10,000 sofa is great, but that sofa better cook me dinner when I get home, and put the kids the bed every night.

Here are some ideas for coming up with a decorating budget:

1.  Look at you house hold budget.  If your don't have one - get one.  It's a good way for you to figure out that you really do make enough money, you just happen to spend it all on shoes.

2.  Figure out how much money you can spend each month on extras.  I would love to spend every pay check on my home, but it's unrealistic because, I would eventually loose our home and have to start decorating a cardboard box in the ally, and our new neighbor would become Osacr the Grouch.  When I was the poorest, I bought my little things.  I lived the $10 rule - if it was more expensive than that, I couldn't buy it.  The little things do start to add up, even if you can only afford $50 a month.

3.  Look to your room.  What needs to be done?  Do you need to accessorize it, or fill it?  Most of the time when I'm working with people on their homes, the problem they normally face is they don't know how to accessorize properly. They don't understand why their room feels unfinished.  Think about it like a suit: without the tie, shoes, belt, cuff links, watch, and pocket square, you look undone.  The small things make all the difference, and you and your home don't look sloppy.

4.  Make a plan.  Put together a floor plan for your room.  Draw out what you want your room to look like.  Make your floor plan complete with furniture, rugs, curtains, pillows, art, and lighting.  During this part it's not about specifics.  Combine your older pieces with new ideas of what you want to shop for.  What do you want the overall feel of the room to be?  What do you want the function of the room to be - a bedroom, a dining room?  This may sound ridiculous to some, but to help the less visual people - who can't just close their eyes and see their new room, make cardboard cut outs of the new pieces going into your room.  Measure them to the length you need your sofa to be, or art for the walls.  Doing this can avoid buying the art that looked just right at the store, and now looks too small on your wall.  Write down the measurements you're looking for so when you run into that great deal at a close out sofa store, you're prepared to know if it will fit not.

5.  Break up the cost.  Figure out your limit per room.  Then, take that a step further - how much are you willing to spend for the furniture, lighting, art, pillows, etc.  Stick to your budget plan.  Make your list and deduct when you have bought something for the room.

6.  Save up for a few months.  When we started to renovate our new home, we needed to save as much money as we could, which meant less shopping.  I'm sure that made a lot of my favorite stores sad to not see me for a while, but I did what I had to do.  This way you can buy those big ticket items that cost more than usual, and not be struggling for the rest of the month.

7.  Don't give in to temptation!  This is hard, and I'm not the best at it, but one of my friends told me once, "It's not a good deal if you don't have the money."  Words of wisdom to live by.

8.  Be creative.  Just like in the post "Marathon Man," when we were shopping for the kitchen island we found an antique buffet that was much cheaper and worked better for us.  Try to think outside the box.

Thanks to Kim in Wyoming for writing us a comment about budgets.  I hope this will help everyone a little bit on how to budget your make-overs.

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