(ARA) – When your redecorating project is done, you want everyone who sees it to think it looks like a million bucks. But woe to your wallet – and possibly your credit – if you overspend to achieve that look.
Credit can be a good tool to help you fulfill your decorating dreams, provided that you use it wisely. The last thing you want is to rack up redecorating debt that outlives the stylishness of your room’s new look.
Before you give your bank card a workout, or sign up for a new credit card with your local home improvement store, take these credit-conscious steps:
1. Assess your current credit status.
Whenever you’re considering a significant credit expenditure – like financing a remodel – it’s important to understand your credit and how your spending might impact it. Websites like freecreditscore.com allow you to see your credit score, and provide information on how it’s calculated, what factors affect it and even when is the best time to apply for new credit. Understanding your credit could mean the difference between using credit wisely to fund your redecorating project, or opting to wait until your credit situation improves before you incur new debt.
2. Estimate the cost of your project.
Spending without a plan is one of the surest ways to overspend, especially when it’s a home improvement project. In order to create a plan, you need to know the likely cost of your redecorating project. Online cost estimators can help you get an idea of how much you’ll need to fund your redecorating dreams. You’ll need to consider all aspects of your project, from paint and carpeting to curtains and accessories in order to get the most accurate cost estimate.
3. Determine what you can do yourself.
If you can do some of the home improvement work yourself, you’ll not only save some money, you’ll get the added bonus of pride in doing it yourself. Be honest with yourself and think about which tasks you’re skilled enough to tackle (painting, hanging curtains) and which ones you’ll need to leave to a professional (laying carpet or placing tile).
4. Establish a budget
Once you have a cost estimate, and know where you can find DIY savings, you’ll be able to establish a budget for your remodeling project. To prevent overspending, pad your budget as much as 10 percent to cover cost overruns. When your budget is set, you’re ready to begin. Keep a running log of all expenditures and refer to your budget frequently to ensure your project is staying on track and within costs.
Redecorating can be a fun, rewarding home improvement project. With advanced planning and careful consideration of your credit, you can use credit wisely to help make your vision a reality.