Inspiration for Sticking to your Renovation Budget and Being Generally Smart with Money

Last week we published our budget for the Porch House powder bathroom (you can see that here) and I wanted to get back to the topic of money today. For those of us who own and love old homes, there can be an interesting intersection where renovations and life finances meet. Like the saying goes, an old home can be a money pit if you’re not careful. Last year, Garrett and I shared our journey to *early retirement* (which is really more like *self-employment*) through renovations, house hacking, and rentals. And I’d like to keep that discussion going today.

Emily Netz Kitchen

via / design: Emily Netz / photos: Melissa Click Photography

Lately I’ve seen more talk about finances going on in the blog world – both in renovating (like Sarah’s post) and life (like Joanna’s post). So I wanted to share a few of my favorite blogs and Instagram accounts that keep budget in focus. These folks are doing inexpensive (and beautiful!) renovations, retiring early, and generally being smart with their limited funds. I love following them because I tend to be more responsible with our money when I see others doing the same. I think it’s easy to get accustomed to seeing $50k, Pinterest-perfect kitchens and feeling like we need one too (regardless of our home value or financial goals). But these folks help keep our dreams in check.

Emily Netz Sitting Room

via / design: Emily Netz / photos: Melissa Click Photography

Inspiration for budget renovations and generally being start with your money

@emilysuenetz /the Slow Flip Formula – Emily and her husband Jeffrey renovate old houses in Oklahoma with the most beautiful results (the pictures in this post are all from their last project!). I was first drawn to their beautiful interiors and cute kids, but stuck around because I loved their story. This post about their journey is more detailed, but basically Emily and Jeffrey buy fixers, move in, renovate them, and then sell them a couple of years later for a profit. They call it “slow-flipping” and they recently turned their process into a new business, the Slow Flip Formula. Check out their site for a free guide on buying homes for future profit. And check out more of their beautiful (budget-friendly) interiors on Emily’s Instagram page.

Newly Woodwards – Kim and her husband Ryan built their own home with cash, renovated others, and own rentals. They believe in making a home you love and can afford and I really appreciate their perspective. Basically these guys have their heads on straight! You can see what I mean in Kim’s ‘budget and money’ section (be sure to check out this post). In Kim’s relatable words: “It’s just plain easy to get sucked up in a black hole of “what we could do.” You visit a friend’s home with a $50,000 custom kitchen and can’t get it out of your head. You see marble floors on Pinterest and nothing else compares. You need it all. But, hold up, my friends. We need a roof over our heads. But we want the finer things.” Amen, sister.

Apartment Therapy – Apartment Therapy is full of beautiful house tours and enviable remodels, but it’s the real world budgets I love seeing the best, which you can see here. I’ve even written an article for them on 7 ways that Garrett and I save money on our renovations (you can see it here).

@jennasuedesign / blog – Jenna and her fiance just launched a new real estate business in Florida after traveling the world for the better part of a year, DreamStone, LLC (you can read more about that here). They’re looking at buy-and-hold properties (and just bought a 5-plex) plus flips and they’re going to vlog all about it. Jenna is an amazing designer in her own right (you’ll probably recognize this beautiful bathroom she did for the One Room Challenge) and I can’t wait to see how they balance beautiful design with the strict financials of real estate investing.

Mr. Money Mustache – So this blog has nothing to do with design, but it’s one of my all time favorites on money. Mr. Money Mustache is all about extreme frugality and he’ll make you look hard at your own consumption, spending, and waste. What you’ll find: case studies from those seeking financial freedom, household spending in a year (hint: it’s waaaay less than you are spending), and tips for spending less on all the things. Mostly, I like his voice and practical approach to money/life/being.

The Kitchn’s Financial Diet Column and Food Budget series – this site also has nothing to do with home decor, but did I mention that renovation budgetting is completely intertwined with everyday budgeting? Well it is. And Food budgets are some of the largest expenditures we make every month so keeping that in check can mean more money for renovations and home improvement. The real world food budgets are especially interesting!

The Frugalwoods – I first discovered the Frugalwoods about a year ago. They’re into financial independence and simple living, much like Mr. Money Mustache but on a large homestead in Vermont. You won’t find design inspiration here, but what I do love about these guys is their perspective (similar to Mr. Money Mustache) and that they share their monthly spending. It’s empowering to know how little money you could live on, even though most of us don’t.

Emily Netz Bathroom

via / design: Emily Netz / photos: Melissa Click Photography

There’s so much ground to cover when talking about money, old homes, design-forward renovations, and personal finances. So if you guys are interested, I’d love to make this a regular topic on the Grit and Polish.

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