Save for a rainy day. It’s a phrase we hear often whether you’re saving for emergencies, a new home, renovations, or any other manner of big expenses. With savings rates incredibly low it seems most of us are not only not saving for that rainy day, but we’re not getting to enjoy the benefit of those savings-a sunny day.
What’s a sunny day?
A sunny day is when you’ve saved enough to cover your emergencies and meet your goals and can have a day (weeks or even months) where you can feel the accomplishment of a job well done. It’s the optimism that comes from a full savings account, the confidence that comes from a goal met, the moment when your savings pays off.
Saving for a sunny day
We always have something to save for from vacations to retirement and from remodeling to college educations. I’m constantly reworking out budget to save for a variety of reasons, but right now we’re saving for some big home remodeling projects.
While we’ve done our fair share of projects over the years of home ownership nothing compares to doing the big projects that really show a huge improvement to your home. Replacing water heaters is all well and good, but it’s not as fun as repainting a room or new flooring.
We recently had several larger projects knocked off our list thanks to hail damage last year. It was unfortunate, but necessary, and we’re thrilled with the outcome. It’s been a drastic improvement in our home’s appearance. Something those small changes can’t compete with.
Why ‘sunny day’ saving is so important when it comes to your home.
Saving for a sunny day isn’t about just meeting our remodeling goals, it’s also about saving to ensure any problems our home has can be taken care of without a major hit to our wallets. When the washer and dryer need replacing that may mean putting off the bathroom remodel for six additional months, but it will be worth it to have clean clothes and a working machine at home.
In the years since we’ve owned our home we have:
- replaced and widened the front door
- replaced appliances
- replaced garage doors
- replaced faucets, shower heads, and bathroom fixtures
- replaced the siding
- installed a new roof
- installed new windows in 3 bedrooms
- upgraded our laundry room
- gutted our family room to the studs
- removed a sun porch, miniature deck, concrete pad, and a number of trees that were rotted
- and the list goes on and on and on!
Phew! That said we still have a long list ahead of us, and a lot of saving to do. So while I know the feeling of a sunny day I’m currently in rainy day saving mode with plans to reach our next ‘sunny day’ goal of a newly remodeled bathroom by early next year.
Tips For Smart Remodeling
Remodeling can be challenging and time-consuming, not just expensive. We’ve learned a few lessons on the way that will not only help you reach a sunny day faster, but allow you to avoid common mistakes.
- Get multiple recommendations: While it’s all well and good to find someone on your first try, you should always interview more than one contractor for every job you do. If you are doing a large scale project having a communicative general contractor will go a long way to easing your frustrations. For instance, knowing your contractor’s schedule and choosing a standard way to communicate (phone, email, text) will help remove most issues.
- Voice your concerns immediately: We’re all human and sometimes mistakes or oversights happen. Don’t be afraid to mention a mistake, oversight, or ask questions if you have a concern. You’re paying for a job well done, so you have to be your own advocate to ensure that everything is as it should be.
- Don’t take the lowest bid, unless you see work to back it up: If you’ve remodeled or done any research (of course you have!) then you know the standard rule is to ‘never take the lowest bid.’ There have been times I’ve listened to that advice and still ended up with poor quality work, and times that I ignored that advice and it worked out beautifully. The trick to making sure the low bid is legitimate? Check with past clients or be willing to work with someone who is new to the business.
- Always take on 20% extra time and money: It’s always going to take longer and be more expensive than you think it will be. Make sure you have enough savings to cover any extra costs. You don’t want to be stuck choosing between one of your ‘must-haves’ on your list and spending money on something you will never see. (I’m looking at your shut off valves.)
- Ask around about pricing locally: Pricing varies wildly from location to location. So much so that it’s important to ask neighbors and local friends what they paid for renovation projects. Just be sure local means in your neighborhood or surrounding area or you might spend too much. For instance, we live in an area where we would pay one amount for a service, and someone who lived 10 minutes down the road would pay a premium for the same service. Asking neighbors helps because you know the exact amount you should spend on a renovation project.
While that’s not an extensive list we have learned that all the hard way. And my best piece of advice when it comes to home renovations? Know when to call in a pro. I can’t tell you the number of times we think a project is ‘easy’ and end up having to pay someone to do the work anyway, but not before we’ve wasted a ton of time and money trying to DIY.
What is your sunny day? Share with us in the comments.
Sunny Days start here. At SunTrust, they have the tools and resources to help you achieve your sunny day. Start here to find out how they can help you enjoy the things that matter to you.
At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. When you feel confident about your money, you can save for your goals and spend knowingly on what matters most to you. They know we all live for the sunny days and want to you help you live yours.
For even more sunny day inpiration visit yoursunnyday.com
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust Bank. The opinions and text are all mine.