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.
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