Shhh! Secrets to Building a Home on a Budget

I have so much catching up to do in regards to our new house and all of the little projects I’ve been doing to ensure that it looks absolutely perfect… even with the tiny terrorist and shedding fur children who live here and wreaks havoc on it every day!

From the start of our building process it was very important to my husband and I that we make it as easy as possible so that it would not be a stressful experience. I am happy to report that the build was easy, so easy. We had an issue with the county on where the city said the driveway could be and where the county said it had to be but aside from that everything went smoothly.

We also knew we weren’t going to spend a fortune on the “extras” for this house. There are just some things that we felt we could go without and I am ecstatic with the more frugal choices we made. So today I am going to share how we saved thousands during the build of our home. I have them in sections so you can skip over areas you may not be interested in.


This was one of those areas I couldn’t wait to get started with. I knew lighting would be fun but I also knew it was going to be a challenge because everything is so DAMN expensive. When explaining how I saved money to a group of friends I was told that I was “lucky I had the time to scour sites for used lighting,” I chuckled under my breath? Time?? I don’t have any more time than someone else! I just stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to make sure that I found something I loved. Some people need to learn what is okay and what is not okay to say to people!

So below I have posted the pictures of all of my secondhand lighting that I found either via Craigslist, Habitat for Humanity or FB groups. I was able to find large and small chandeliers, ceiling fans, bathroom lights, and even small closet lights. It did take my husband and I quite a few Sundays to spray paint them all the colors that we wanted while my parents helped and watched our son but so worth it. It’s definitely really hard to do when it’s October and the weather is 20 degrees one day and 75 degrees  the next! Bu, thankfully I was doing all this right before I got pregnant. Otherwise baby would have been chillin in the womb singing Bob Marley.

Anyway, while searching for them caused me a few lost zzz’s and the painting kept us from watching Sunday football it was totally worth it. The lights don’t quite match in the great room, kitchen and entryway but if anyone wants to analyze them that closely I will gladly show them my front door. I think they look amazing and brand new. All in all we spent about $1500 on the indoor and outdoor lighting. I did purchase the outside garage lights, one bathroom light, the pendants over island and a light over the sink brand new, those are included in that price.

If you are building or redoing a home get started now and start browsing around to see what you can find. It’s a lot cheaper to buy spray paint than spend hundreds more on a brand new light.

[Side note: We did check all of the lights before installation to ensure they worked].







Lucky for me I wanted white appliances which are the cheapest ones (from what we found) that you can buy. However, just a little tip, purchase from Lowes around black Friday with a military discount or open their card to get 10% off and you can save so much more. I ended up saving close to $750 with the Black Friday adjustment and the military discount (BOOM BOOM)! We went several places and they had the best deals every time we went back and checked. Our fridge came in with a busted handle but they took care of it and had it replaced within a week.


Our contractor had included two paint colors in the bid. Most of the time you are going to want more colors than just two in the home. However, by trying to cover your largest rooms in the same color you can save a lot of money, not only if you are contracting out but also if you are doing it yourself. We painted the entire great room, kitchen, entryway, first bedroom, hallway, bathrooms, and our bedroom in the same color. It’s a gorgeous color used in our first house. I’m totally obsessed with it.

I used my second color for Ro’s bedroom and the two additional colors I added were for small rooms so I knew they’d only need a gallon. I used a coral in the laundry room and a bright aqua in mudroom off of garage. I also had leftover green paint I wanted my closet to be painted so they just used that.

Tips here: Limit your paint choices, is it necessary to have every room a different color? I love the cohesiveness of our home and the neutral allows me to make every room different with décor. You can also look for great discounts from Sherwin Williams. I believe they over like 30% off a couple times a year? Pair that with things like military discounts or opening an credit card account and you can save quite a bit.

Tax Rates

This was something I had NOT even considered until my girl Mandy enlightened me. The large city where we shop locally has a much higher tax rate than some of the smaller towns around it. I was able to find the exact same cabinets I found in the city at a smaller town and saved a ton on the tax side because their rate was so much lower. I was also able to do the same with lumber and counter tops. Seriously check this out.

Cabinet Hardware

It would be a lot easier if you just went in to local hardware store and bought knobs for all of your cabinets which I did at our first house when I re-did the kitchen. However, my girl Mandy encouraged me to check out some online stores and I am so glad I did! I was able to get the perfect knobs and handles and saved a ton of money.

Custom Made Furnishings

I won’t detail how I kept myself from spending THOUSANDS in furniture costs to furnish the new home. That is for another blog post. However, I will say that I was able to purchase a CUSTOM made GORGEOUS island piece for HALF, yes HALF of what the cabinet places wanted to charge me to just put in an island. It is exactly what I wanted, unique and adds a ton of character to the kitchen and great room. They used reclaimed wood and I was able to help an up and coming business get some exposure! Think out of the box and ask for quotes. There are a lot of talented locals that would love the business.


Garage Doors

This seems so funny to even bring up but we saved $400 just by getting plain doors for our garage. I desparetly wanted fancier doors for the front of the house. But I was not willing to shell out $400 more dollars to get them. Why? First of all you don’t really notice a garage door anyway unless you are looking at them to decide what you want and two I wanted to put that money towards adding windows to the home that we added on to the contract and a screened in back porch. While I can’t get my dream garage doors I can spend $20 and get accessories to slap on the front and give them a nice clean look. We haven’t done it yet but we will get to it now that it is warming up.

Ask questions and make sure you know how much all the little extras are.


I found some gorgeous mirrors at an Old Time Pottery for a fraction of the cost of what big box retailers wanted. Don’t be afraid to look for used mirrors either. Someone’s “trash” may be another man’s treasure!!

Curtain Rods

Ok, so I may have stuck this one all the way at the bottom because it was my favorite!! When we moved in I knew there was no way in God’s green earth I was going to spend hundreds on curtain rods. I’ve bought them before and I was totally aware of how much they could end up costing me. I shuttered at the thought. I knew there had to be a solution for this and lo and behold there was. I found a blog post by Ashley on 3 Little Greenwoods where she was able to make her own curtain rods for pennies. I thought, even if I fail I will not have invested much anyways so it was worth it to me.

Here is the link to the blog post I did regarding DIYing my own curtain rods because this one is long enough already! So I have included a sneak peak at my $10, yes I said TEN DOLLAR, bay window curtain. CLICK HERE to see the post on how I did it.

Anyways, if you’ve stuck with me until the end, GREAT! Good luck, I hope you save all kinds of money on your build or renovation. Please leave your comments below on how YOU were able to save money!


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