Where to splurge and where to save??

canicciAugust 23, 2009

I know everyone will have different answers to this question. I'm just wondering to see where people saved vs splurged.

I was wondering if your decision also depended on what would be easy to replace later on. Eg. replacing cabinets would be expensive and a complete redo of the kitchen, whereas a new light fixture or a new fridge could be done a little more easily.

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It'll be interesting to hear the new folks' scrimps & splurges. Here's a thread (linked in the "Read Me" thread...) from 2007 that also discusses this very topic!

Here is a link that might be useful: Thread: Scrimp on this, Splurge on that....

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 4:29AM
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Well...I didn't buy Pyrolave...

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 5:11AM
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I guess the biggest splurges for us had to do with gaining more usable space and a better layout so changing the floorplan, roofline, and location of the kitchen and bath were the biggest "splurges". That said....

splurges: counter-depth fridge, stone countertops, new window, outdoor grill/smoker for the "temp" kitchen ;), paint (expensive for paint, but not that much of the overall budget).

middle of the road: dual-fuel stove, venting for said stove, wood floors.

scrimps: 2nd hand dishwasher courtesy of CL, undermount SS sink from ebay, "nothing fancy" cabinets (except for a pull-out trash cabinet), tile, painting labor (DIYed). We scrimped the most on the bath items and finishes.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 6:37AM
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I saved on the cabinets (IKEA), granite, seating (IKEA and Overstock), sinks (zero radius undermounts from Ebay), table (hand-made by Ebay carpenter), and lighting (used my old fixtures).

I splurged on my appliances, backsplash, faucets (Grohe stainless), and tapmaster.

Two regrets on my saves: wish I had changed out the flush mount light over my sink, and the fixture over my kitchen table-- but hopefully I can do that with minimal pain in the future. On the plus side I have a much better idea of what I want in a light fixture now. Also, though I haven't had any trouble with my sinks, I'm hoping I don't end up regretting getting sinks from China of unknown brand. I worried about gauge, style and size and didn't worry so much about the stainless alloy-- at the time didn't know it was an issue.

Love my IKEA cabs-- do not regret that scrimp at all.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 8:15AM
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Hi Canicci,
Great Topic!

Long before my kitchen needed to be done, I splurged on
the location of my house, neighborhood, state for future
investment. (location, location, location)

As for my kitchen:

Splurged on Appliances and fuction.

Saved by repainting cabinets and mid range granite.

Keep in mind my splurge is still lower priced then some of
the fancy kitchens I have seen on GW. But I am happy with
how I spent and saved my money.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 8:43AM
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I splurged on custom made cabinets, quartz countertops, electrical and lighting changes and new windows. Saved on appliances (chose kenmore and kenmore elite products), porcelain tile flooring, and not changing the basic footprint of my kitchen (It functioned well the way it was). And yes I did think about what would be easier to replace later on as well as what I could do to maximize my storage. The custom cabinets allowed me to take the cabinets to the ceiling and not have any fillers. We also are saving by doing some parts of the work ourselves - mainly demolition, insulation and some of the painting.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 9:58AM
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Well, I'm still in the midst of picking it all, but so far, here's where I am at:

I'm on a tight budget so there are some things that I consider both splurges for my budget, and compromises because of my budget...

Cabinets - Splurge because I'm getting midrange and not less expensive. Scrimp, because I'm not getting the more expensive ones that I like better.

everything else:

Stove - splurge for me is getting dual fuel slide in range.

Scrimp - Getting a lower end bosch d/w to make up for the stove.

Scrimp - fridge. It's ok, but not fabulous.

Splurge - counters (mid range granite or if I can find a decent price, quartz.)

scrimp: faucet (can change it later.) (Ticor sink - not a scrimp or a splurge...)

scrimp: light over table - can change it later if I really want to..

backsplash and floor - not sure yet, but will probably be somewhere in the middle.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 10:07AM
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Splurged on investing a northeast view corner of my house in the kitchen, and lots of windows. That's about it (the French door to the garden and windowseat bay are both necessities, not splurges). We still have to upgrade our bottom-of-the-line Ikea drawerfronts for custom, but they still look new and I just don't have the interest so far. Don't regret sticking with basic good-quality appliances either. What I do still find myself wanting are counters of honed white marble (with cream and grey veining, mmm!). They really wouldn't look better than the $350 Ikea butcher block counters people are always complimenting us on, I just still want them. I'll see if I like the wood better this winter when I'm leaning on it instead of stone.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 10:21AM
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We're in the throws of the remodel now. So far, here's our list:

Splurge: Cabinets - 5 pc drawer fronts; glazed finish; Granite - didn't really look much at cost, just whether I liked it or not.

Save - footprint of kitchen. It works for us; we could have changed the footprint, but that would involved existing wood flooring issues and tear/down of the finished media room ceiling below to move water lines.

Save - Appliance brand. We were happy going with KitchenAid level appliances. It's fine for us; fine for the neighborhood expectation/resale. Didn't have the budget to go high end.

Save - Kept GE Profile side by side fridge. Would have liked a French Door fridge, but not now. Would have liked a counter depth fridge, but decided to frame out the cabinetry to make it look built in.

Save - Found a kitchenaid gas cooktop Architech series on clearance - brand new in the box - for less than $200. It does have the knobs on the surface of the cooktop rather than dropped down on the vertical surface. This may bother me, but for the price, we're willing to live with it.

Spurge - Added a lot of detail trim to the cabinet design to give it the stacked molding look.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 11:25AM
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We saved on the cabinetry and sort of saved on the appliances but that was primarily because we didn't think we'd use the Wolf stufff to its potential.

We're splurging on granite, hardware, lighting, finishes, windows.

We are DIYing a lot of things because we change our minds as we go, and if we were to pay a contractor to make all those changes along with us we'd be wasting huge amounts of money - assuming they didn't walk off the job first.

We're hiring really great subcontractors to do the things that require specialised skils to do well.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 11:33AM
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At the beginning of the remodel, I was sure I'd get inset cabinets, but they were about $12,000 more, so we went frameless instead. That was the biggie.

Both save and splurge: we picked up some SubZero refrigerator drawers on CL for much much less than new. So that's a "save"; hoewever, even at $1,000, it was a splurge, since we never would have paid full price for them. Same with the Wolf range ... we weren't planning on going that route, but came across a new 48" DF model for $7,000.

So then we ended up splurging for the SZ regular fridge. (We "saved" so much money already, LOL, by the deals on the other appliances and forgoing inset cabinets, you know... ;-)

We also saved by not changing the exterior footprint of the house and just redoing the inside. I nixed the Advantium that I was also sure that we'd get.

And I bought doorknobs on ebay, I'll use amex points for pulls and lighting from Restoration Hardware, that sort of thing.

Who am I kidding, though. I mostly splurged.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 11:37AM
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My whole kitchen was a splurge (for me) since the prior one must have been done in the seventh ring of hell :D

OK, seriously, I did splurge on the flooring mainly because what was there was horrible, old, deteriorating and just generally kept me away from the kitchen. A year later I still love walking on and looking at my new floor... makes my heart sing every single day!

I also splurged on lighting -- same reasons as above and also, I really think lighting goes into the category of "very important."

Doors and door knobs... I have three doors in my kitchen. They "were" two ugly, dark wood slabs and one ugly bi-fold thingy. I replaced them with three pretty, matching six-paneled wood doors painted white. And I picked glass door knobs for a little touch of bling -- love it!

Granite counter -- yeah, that was a splurge...

I have to say though that the things I splurged on still make me really happy and I'm glad for those splurges a year later...

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 12:10PM
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I splurged on most things except the only construction change was removing soffits.

My appliances are mid-range, KitchenAid and GE Profile, but they have the features I desired so I don't feel I gave up anything important.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 12:10PM
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I'll use amex points for pulls and lighting from Restoration Hardware

This is a great idea! I never even thought to check AmEx points for our home stuff.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 12:24PM
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Forgot my most important splurge-- a first-rate contractor. The carpentry was impeccable, his subs were great, and the project was finished in 7 weeks, including time out to refinish the floors. I guess I helped ease the process because I had all my materials in the garage before the demo began.

My husband hates disruption, and a longer reno would have caused marital stress, so paying a few $k more to get the job done well was worth it, to me.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 12:25PM
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I also got a first rate contractor, but unlike Morton, for whom it was a splurge, I'm absolutely sure that my contractor has saved me as much as he's cost, and I actually think he's more in the scrimp column.

Interestingly, the things I really scrimped on, the choices that I was making because they cost less, turned out to have been preferable for other reasons anyway, so I don't have any ones that got away. And the splurges that were for the but I want what I want reasons ended up saving me money.

The really big splurge was going for the whole thing, and really getting what I wanted, that is, for setting the budget high, rather than saving for the sake of saving.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 2:02PM
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I like plllog's last sentence about going for it and after a few weeks of struggling to keep to an impossibly unrealistic amount of money, we increased the budget. We decided to focus on getting what would work for us, would look great, hold its resale value (jic!) and of course was as environmentally friendly as we could.

Mixed... We only made minor changes to the footprint but it was enough to need a new floor.

Splurges... recycled glass countertops and induction cooktop

scrimps.. keeping our old white frig

And of course, getting a contractor that I could work with and could work with me! I would say that is a necessity not a splurge!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 2:22PM
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I was thinking of posting this as well. We're on a tight budget. I have been agonizing over which appliances to choose.


Rehabbing old existing cabinets instead of gutting kitchen but having carpenter and his crew totally paint insides and build custom shaker doors....and adding a few new cabinets where we are moving the fridge across the room. The effect will be of new cabinets (I hope). No moving walls or plumbing is a savings.

Frigidaire Professional wall oven and built in micro instead of the sleek Electrolux suite. Jenn Air French door CD fridge with no external water/ice that's $500 less than the Samsung Fd CD model. Use Home Depot gift cards for $1000 for GE profile cooktop. I will save about $2500 by going Frigidaire, Jenn Air fridge, and using gift cards at HD for cooktop. Not my absolute preference on appliances, but possibly replaceable and who notices that much anyway if they're not the big hulking SZ or Viking or Wolf models? :)

So I keep agonizing anyway, but try to tell myself that ANYTHING is better than my shattered 1976 GE ovens!


The finishes, basically: granite, custom island (& granite for island), nice subway tile backsplash, lighting (a ton of can lights need to be put in as well as undercounter). Will possibly splurge on built in cabinets in large eating area to replace freestanding IKEA storage.

My theory is splurge on stuff that's difficult and really costly to replace and get what I want (nice tile, a granite I love, extra built-ins, etc.) and go easy on the things that could be replaced more easily and aren't quite as noticeable to others.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 2:55PM
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Spent the most on the appliances, least amount on Granite (gallo ornamental), cabinets (Armstrong stained maple), flooring (Lowe's), backsplash (Lowe's). Splurged on decorative glass doors to the laundry and pantry, saved on inexpensive pendents.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 3:09PM
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Hey there. I remember reading in a few places that it's best to splurge on things you'll touch a lot - so, hardware, faucets, etc. We sort of followed that advice, and I'm SO happy we got the faucet we wanted, even though it was more, and I'm perfectly fine we didn't get the foot pedal water thingy that I wanted so badly!

We splurged on the faucet, the hardware and the flooring. Oh, and we went back and forth on whether to do undercab lighting. All in all we LOVE the things we splurged on, although I've mentioned before that when it comes to hardware, if I had it to do over again, I would have started shopping at the cheaper places first, to see if we could have spent less. I went to restoration hardware first and everything else felt so flimsy to me after falling for the 10" long heavy pulls that would serve as weapons!

We scrimped on the Ikea cabinets, butcherblock countertops and farm sink. I love them all. I actually really, really wanted butcherblock, but my fiance really wanted granite and I'm so glad we didn't get granite!

We also splurged in HIRING a contractor! We hired plumbers and electricians, but were going to do the cabinet install ourselves and decided sort of later into the project that we'd hire a contractor. I'm SO glad we did. We probably would have gotten all the cabinets up just fine, but the finish carpentry that he did is way better than what we would have been able to do.

Also, we splurged on Ben Moore aura paint. So worth it. I love that stuff!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 3:25PM
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Fun thread! The splurges I'm listing are where I spent more money than I had originally anticipated when I first started planning our remodel. The savings are the areas I ended up saving money by choosing a lower cost alternative to what was originally planned.

Splurges: Crown Point cabinets, Modernaire hood, stainless steel countertop, fridge drawer, Rejuvenation Hardware custom light fixture, plumbing for potfiller and chef sink

Savings: Carrara marble countertops that were one-third the cost of Calacatta and half the price of soapstone; counter-depth fridge instead of built-in fridge; Miele induction cooktop instead of Wolf gas range; open shelving from Ikea on cooktop wall instead of upper cabinets; counter stools from Overstock.com; Restoration Hardware lighting and Kohler potfiller bought from eBay at fraction of normal price; marble slab backsplash instead of Ann Sacks tile b/s; no backsplash at all on sink wall (had originally planned to do marble subway tiles) -- might change my mind about this last one someday.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 3:51PM
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I saved by sticking with the existing footprint and floorplan. I really really really like my new cabinets, but they were from the cheapest local showroom, because of limited stock sizes (great quality, though!) A custom or semi-custom line with more choices would have increased my cab costs by 70-100%. Oh yes, I got the cheapest London Drugs microwave that would fit on my MW shelf.

I splurged on my appliances, especially my 36" gas range. And the quartz countertops that complement my blue cabinets. And while it wasn't discretionary spending, the costs of upgrading the electrical and ventilation to current code standards were outrageous.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 7:13PM
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I splurged on my cabinets....I wanted a good quality custom frameless cabinet...so I picked that first.

Splurged on soapstone, but both hubby and I love it.

Saved - bought floor model of GE Monogram Trivection double ovens

Saved - Built out cabinets to give full size fridge built in look.

saved - Using my old white MW on my MW shelf.

saved - Kept existing footprint, I figured out how to extend the kitchen area into the nook by shortening up my pennisula and allowing me to put a dish hutch in the nook.

Got a great contractor!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2009 at 12:14AM
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Thanks everyone. You've all given such great examples. If we do extend the kitchen/laundry room - that will be my splurge, and I'll have to make it up elsewhere. A friend said I should look at the professional range of appliances as I do cook a lot and they would get used. BUT, I've managed with my 20 year old stove and fridge, so it's not necessary. Anything is better than what I have. I do see that lighting is important - I hate dark rooms. I don't have to have top of the line cabinets, but I do want good quality that will last and a pull out trash can.

I'll also be posting here, and hopefully getting a lot of deals...

    Bookmark   August 24, 2009 at 11:58AM
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