DIY Corner Cupboard Shelf for $100

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Short and sweet this week as we get closer to wrap­ping up the series on how we added a $15,000 bath­room to our house for under $4k:

Our house is full of cus­tom built-in shelv­ing units, which were pretty pop­u­lar back in the day.  We wanted to update the house with a more mod­ern look, but main­tain some of the old style to help tie every­thing together.  Lack of bath­room stor­age is some­thing that really both­ers me– when you go into a bath­room that has tooth­brushes and per­sonal care prod­ucts crammed onto every counter top sur­face it just looks, well, clut­tered and dirty.  We now keep the bulk of our items inside the cab­i­net, which saves on clean­ing time and makes the bath­room so much more relax­ing to walk into.

For a novice wood­worker (like myself) this DIY cor­ner cup­board should be a week­end project (need to leave time for paint to dry overnight), and cost about $100.

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How to Build an Arched Doorway for $50

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With about $50 in mate­ri­als and less than a day’s work, you can con­vert a bor­ing, old tra­di­tional door­way into a much more inter­est­ing open arch way.  We really like open-style floor­plans, and our house already has some arches built into it, so tak­ing out our old 30″ door and turn­ing it into a 34″ arch­way really improved our liv­ing space.

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How to: DIY Foam Insulation & Other Construction Cost Saving Measures

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Last week I fea­tured a piece on how we added a $15,000 bath­room to our house for under $4k.  I out­lined the major com­po­nents that resulted in sig­nif­i­cant cost sav­ings, but there are cer­tain tips and tricks we imple­mented along the way that really deserve their own story.  I’m going to cover up through the dry­wall stage in our ren­o­va­tion, start­ing with the project that saved us the most on our rough con­struc­tion costs:

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How to Add A $15,000 Bathroom for Under $4k

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The aver­age cost to add a bath­room to a house in the US is some­where between $10,000 and $20,000.  The equity gained from adding a bath­room varies depend­ing on your loca­tion, the value of your home, and var­i­ous other fac­tors, but expect to recoup about 80% of that remodel cost, so, some­where between $8k and $16k.  But, what if you could add a bath­room to your house for only a frac­tion of the aver­age cost?

We con­verted a largely unus­able sun­room into a bath­room and a mudroom/entryway for only $4,000, and it would have eas­ily cost $15k to have it done for us.  We did all the work our­selves, which involved strip­ping every­thing down and even re-framing the walls.  There was no plumb­ing or sewer in that part of the house, so we installed all that, too.  What we ended up with was an amaz­ing, mod­ern, cus­tom, and highly pro­fes­sional look­ing space that should add at least $10,000 to our home’s value:

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Zero Dollar Baby

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Helloooo!  Some of you may have noticed I’ve taken an inor­di­nately long break from the blog recently.  I’m happy to say I’m back to it and have an announce­ment to make: dun dun dun.… I’m preg­nant!  Unfor­tu­nately, I had about the worst two months of my life with hor­rid “morn­ing” sick­ness, but I’m finally start­ing the sec­ond trimester and see­ing the light at the end of the tun­nel.  Crip­pling nau­sea causes a pretty strong writer’s block, in case any of you were won­der­ing.  The good news is, I’m feel­ing bet­ter, and now have a whole new cat­e­gory of fru­gal­ity and grow­ing green to write about.  Though, I promise not to turn this blog into one of those “mommy blogs” (no offense to any off the mommy-bloggers out there)!

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How to Replace ALL of Your Household Cleaners with 5 Ingredients

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Think about all the house­hold clean­ing prod­ucts you buy on a reg­u­lar basis.  If I looked under your kitchen sink right now what would I find?  Oven cleaner, all-purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, laun­dry deter­gent, fur­ni­ture pol­ish, dish soap, floor cleaner, bath­room cleaner, etc. etc.  At $4–6 a bot­tle, a col­lec­tion of house­hold clean­ers can really add up.  What if you could replace ALL of those clean­ers using just five sim­ple, all nat­ural ingre­di­ents, make them in less than five min­utes, for less than $0.50 a bottle?

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Taking Charge of Your Health Insurance

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Health Insur­ance is a hot topic these days.  Almost every­one is fol­low­ing what’s going on with cur­rent pol­icy and admin­is­tra­tion changes, but hardly any­one really under­stands how their insur­ance works and how they can save money by tak­ing charge of their own pol­icy.  If you’ve been oper­at­ing under the pre­tense that your doc­tor under­stands your insur­ance and makes choices tai­lored to your pol­icy, it’s time to change your per­spec­tive.  If you’ve never both­ered to fig­ure out your insur­ance because it’s “too com­pli­cated”, pre­pare to become informed.

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And Then There Were 300

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[Today we have a spe­cial guest post!  I’ve teamed up with John from Prac­ti­cal Civ­i­liza­tion to bring you a spe­cial 2-part series this week: check out my guest post Min­i­miz­ing Your Non-Possessions on his blog, and his guest post here at The Grow­ing Green.]

First, I want to give a big shout out to Miss Grow­ing Green for hav­ing me on here! This is an awe­some thought-provoking blog and I’m happy to have the oppor­tu­nity to guest post on it.

As Miss Grow­ing Green high­lighted here, it’s wise to eval­u­ate the “non-things” you pay for such as cell phone ser­vice, cable T.V., etc. Keep­ing with the spirit of that trend, I’ve taken the past cou­ple of weeks and eval­u­ated all the tan­gi­ble “things” that I own. The pur­pose of this exer­cise was to purge my belong­ings down to 300 things or less.

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How to Win at Craigslist

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The other day, Mr. GG and I were dis­cussing our inevitable move at the end of next sum­mer (when his job term is over). While the loca­tion is yet to be deter­mined, it will def­i­nitely be out of state, so the in-town style of mov­ing where you make mul­ti­ple small trips is not going to be an option. We decided in an effort to save money and embrace min­i­mal­ism, that we would make the move with only what­ever we can fit in our small car.  Con­sid­er­ing the two front seats will be taken by us, and at least half the back seat by a 60-lb Zoe dog, this will be no small feat.

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Pedal Power– Biking with Self-Sufficiency

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I’ve been preach­ing about how own­ing mul­ti­ple cars is silly and expen­sive, and even own­ing one, older car can be pricy.  I’ve explained that you should assess the cost of your vehicle(s) and “down-grade” where pos­si­ble, and I’ve sug­gested you rent your car out to cover the vehi­cle costs you do incur.  Once you’ve embraced a life that involves less dri­ving, you still need to get around.  You’re left with walk­ing, bik­ing, and pub­lic trans­porta­tion.  My per­sonal favorite is bik­ing– it’s faster than walk­ing, is great exer­cise, and has zero emis­sions.  Bik­ing doesn’t come with­out costs though– there’s the bike itself, acces­sories like hel­mets and lights, and reg­u­lar main­te­nance.  Think of it as a much sim­pler, harder-to-screw-up car.  Edu­cat­ing your­self on basic bike repair and main­te­nance is a great way to be self-sufficient and save sig­nif­i­cant dol­lars.  Con­tinue reading →

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