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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Budget Kitchen Renovation: Budget Matters

The first thing you are asked at Lowes, Home Depot, or the gruesome Singer Kitchens, is What is Your Budget? This is a little like the car salesperson saying What monthly payment are you looking at? No one in the retail biz understands the frugal mindset.

Answer: I want a good value kitchen. How can I get the most for my dollars? But that answer is like speaking in Martian. The response is usually, Oh, you're poor.

That comment--not in so many words, but that is the gist--is designed to get you to a)feel ashamed, or b) prove to the salesperson that you are NOT poor (or cheap) by spending a lot. The assumption is that you will spend to your limit, or even a little past that. It's not in the interest of a salesperson to save you money. And, as the value-oriented frugal person knows, most people just don't understand what a value-orientation means.

The truth is that I have plenty of money in the bank. That's BECAUSE I am frugal. So I could have bought a Wolf ($5000.00) stove if I had wanted--or better, a Lacanche ($6000.00 and WAY up) from France. I could have had custom cabs or granite counter tops. In a way, it's easy when you have a budget. Then you know what you can spend. But I had a lot of leeway.

So, as is my habit, I set an arbitrary budget of $12,000, which was what my mother had spent on her kitchen.

It is so hard to go against peer pressure. Meanwhile, I was making my plans during the post-Katrina building boom here, which coincided with the housing boom everywhere else. No one was interested in a modest remodel. I waited for a few years.

Next topic: Style


Duchesse said...

This question is the first lots of salespeople ask (unless selling a commodity.) I usually say, "Well, I have a lot of other financial obligations". That means I have some money but am not hurling it their way.

I find with suppliers it's good to make clear I have experience with renos, or they think they have a live one!

Frugal Scholar said...

@Duchesse--Good response. AS for experience with renos--i don't have any, so they can smell it.

Shelley said...

You are so speaking my language when you say you have money because you are frugal. And that is Martian in most places. Heaven knows what I smell like -- I don't even know what a 'reno' is... Oh, I think I just worked it out, renovation, right? Nope, most of my life I've moved into a house (rented or bought) and just lived with what was already there until some appliance or other broke.