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.
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:
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:
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)!
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?
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.
[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.
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.
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 →
Last week was a very successful week for me. I sold a single item on Ebay for over $500 (paid $275 for it and invested 30 minutes of time), earned $400 in credit card incentives with 30 minutes of effort, and rented our car out for $140 using Relay Rides.
Our car is a 2004 Toyota Corolla, and it costs us $150 / month in operating expenses. By operating expenses, I mean things like gas, insurance, registration, oil changes, and the cost of replacing tires averaged out over the lifetime of the car. I’m not including depreciation in that number, or any kind of car payment (which we don’t have), which would drive the monthly cost up even further. Considering the cost to own a depreciating hunk of metal makes me wonder if it’s truly worth it to have a car. In the end, the convenience of having a car for road trips and weekend camping wins out, but the desire to reduce that monthly expense remains.
If after assessing how much your car is really costing you, you decide you must live with one (or a number of) vehicles, your next step should be minimizing your car’s impact on your pocketbook.