top of page
  • Writer's pictureAly Thompson

Save or Splurge: Where to Spend Your Renovation Money (Part 1)

We have now officially owned our fixer upper for 7 months and lived in it a little under 5 months and time is flying by. One of the most asked questions we get is where to spend and where to save money in a renovation. Even as a professional interior designer when it comes to my own space it is very easy to get off track and over spend, especially when it’s not the fun parts and you just "want it done at any cost."


But throughout this process, here are some places we have splurged and many places we have saved!

First off, when buying the house we paid for one of the best inspectors in our area and he was worth EVERY PENNY! The inspection took hours but he thoroughly went through each nook and cranny and did not miss a beat. I am very thankful for it because of a few potential problems he found we were able to get the house price down. This is one of the most important places to invest and could end of saving you a ton of money in the end.

So what did he find? He confirmed the leaky roof which was not done properly and had trees growing on it causing it to ruin the old bathroom. He found potential issues with our furnace and that the hot water tank was on the older side. Just with these findings we went back to the sellers and got them to take money off the original price. Now we knew when buying the house it was a fixer upper and needed work but these are costly items and the sellers agreed to drop the price.

When I tell you God was truly watching out for us; right after closing we splurged again on someone to check out the furnace as well as get an estimate for the leaky roof. I still thank him everyday and have never been so happy spending a little under $300 to get our furnace looked at. Back story, When you turned the furnace on it sounded like a rocket taking off and would shake the floors above it, which terrified me and I could not even imagine where we would get the money to replace a furnace which costs roughly $6,000+! The day we had the furnace checked I was just (not) patiently waiting to hear the damage… and guess what?! It was just a wrong size filter?! That was what was causing all this noise. But while down there the furnace inspector actually saved us more money again. The piping above the furnace was leaking some water condensation and causing rust on the top of part of the furnace. He told us we could fix it two ways another splurge or save decision. He had the part we needed in his truck but it would cost us about $200 to have him install or we could do it and get it for $80. If you know me you know I am “so cheap I squeak” but this was for sure a no brainer to my husband and I to have the professional install it and spend the money. Now which would save us time and money later having it installed, done right, and done that same day.

Some of the demo and hidden surprises we found:

Left to Right: Living Room, Main Bathroom Floor, New Main Bathroom Walls

We have learned over the months of saving a buck and doing it yourself may not always save you money because do not forget time is money too. But my next find is definitely worth the small amount of time and money for a huge payoff! I am obsessed with Facebook Marketplace, like on their daily looking for unique pieces and deals, obsessed. This time it paid off. When we began looking for a double sink bathroom vanity online we saw prices above $600 to closer to $1,000+... way out of budget to get a piece we didn’t love, so we went full on custom. I have been looking for a buffet style table for months and found one that wasn’t $500! I scored this BRIGHT blue painted vanity for $150!! My husband and I stripped, sanded and stained the top back to original wood and added a pop of color to the bottom. With a few amazon gift cards for the sinks / faucets and a little bit of elbow grease and paint we finished this piece for less than HALF of what we could get at our local hardware store. Personally, I feel it looks 1000 times better and creates this custom feeling in our bathroom coming at a total cost of $275.

Check out the before and after below:

Paint: SW 9580 Cracked Pepper

Handles: Amazon

Mirrors: Hobby Lobby

Vanity Lights: Menards

Part 1: Splurge vs Save Recap


  • Inspector

  • Furnace Check and Part Install

  • Roof Replacement


  • Bathroom Vanity (got off Facebook Marketplace)

  • Doing A Lot of the Work Ourselves with Help from Family

  • Not Moving Many Walls / Keep Existing Layout Where it Made Sense


Up Next: Save or Splurge: Where to Spend Your Renovation Money (Part 2)!

Where I will talk about rising costs due to the pandemic, how we stayed on budget, kitchen cost and other major purchases. PLUS: new pictures of our current progress!


Thank you for your support reading this blog. Some affiliate links are commissionable and help keep this blog running! - Aly

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page