Why Marriage Makes It Hard to Control Remodeling Costs


What's Hot


2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

25 Ways to Spend Less on FoodMore

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

14 Ways to Maximize Your Social Security ChecksGrow

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

10 Companies With the Best 401(k) PlansGrow

8 Ways to Take Control of Your Finances — and Be HappierGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

14 Super Smart Ways to Save on TravelSave

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

Thousands of Millionaires Moving to 1 Country — and Leaving AnotherGrow

The Rich Prefer Modest Cars — Should You Join Them?Cars

Strapped for College Costs? How to Get the Most From FAFSABorrow

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

Ask Stacy: What’s the Fastest Way to Pay Off My Mortgage?Borrow

7 Free Sources of Manufacturer Coupons You Can Find OnlineSave

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New AutoCars

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

Fixing Your Credit? Do These 5 Things, Avoid These 3Credit & Debt

No, "requirements creep" isn't a person you don't want to be around. It's a philosophy you don't want to adopt. But we all do at some point.

As I’ve previously mentioned, the Penzo household is in the middle of a long-awaited home renovation project with a reliable contractor.

Originally, it was supposed to be a fairly modest kitchen renovation that involved replacing our porcelain tile countertops with granite and adding a new tumbled stone backsplash. It also included some new appliances.

Then, one quiet evening not too long ago, while we were watching the 6,000th episode of House Hunters, the wife decided to see if she could push the budget boundaries just a tad.

The proposition

“The contractor says we’ll have enough granite left over to do the powder room countertop too. What do you think?”

Maybe it was fatigue, or maybe I was much more interested in whether the happy couple on the television was going to choose the corner lot fixer-upper or the cul-de-sac cutie. Whatever it was, I really wasn’t thinking clearly. Before I could stop myself – and without the slightest bit of hesitation – I said, “Go ahead.”

After all, how much more could it really cost?

Besides, in that split second between the time that the wife asked whether it was OK and the time that I gave my answer, I already did the money math in my head.

We already paid for the granite slabs ($2,107.03), and whatever material we didn’t end up using was probably going to go to waste, being that I didn’t feel like storing the excess in my garage. As for the additional labor cost, it couldn’t be, well, much more than a very small fraction of the price I was paying for the kitchen labor ($2,675.00). So why not?

Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite that simple.

I really should have known better. You see, in my line of work – I’m an electrical engineer in the aerospace industry – we’re constantly on guard for something called “requirements creep.” Because if it isn’t controlled, it can quickly send costs so far over the original budget that it can seriously derail a project.

Let me show you what I mean.

How remodeling costs can quickly escalate

When I innocently told the wife to “go ahead,” I figured I had signed up for nothing more than a new granite countertop in my powder room for little more than the price of a little additional labor ($300.00).

But that new powder room countertop begot a new sink ($127.03).

And the sink begot the new oil-rubbed bronze faucet hardware ($157.00).

Then the oil-rubbed bronze faucet hardware begot the new towel rack ($32.48).

Of course, the towel rack begot the new light fixture ($119.98).

Then the light fixture begot the new fancy-pancy toilet paper holder ($20.98).

The fancy-pancy toilet paper holder begot the new toilet handle ($20.41).

And the toilet handle begot the new hand towel holder ($32.48), the new napkin tray ($14.18), the new Kleenex box cover ($29.99 via special order), and the new trash can ($31.99), all in oil-rubbed bronze.

Hi-ho the derry-o, and the Cheese stands alone – not to mention $586.52 poorer than he originally thought he’d be. Plus tax.

Other examples of requirements creep

Requirements creep tends to most often manifest itself in home-remodeling projects, but it can also show up in other circumstances. I’m sure you can think of lots of examples, but here are just a few…

1. When buying a car. Requirements creep occurs after buyers decide to “go the extra mile” and buy options like satellite radio, heated seats, keyless entry, and leather-trimmed interiors.

2. When buying a new home. It’s common for people to start out looking for a modest three-bed two-bath home, only to eventually convince themselves that they need a much bigger home.

3. When ordering at a restaurant. How many times do we talk ourselves into “super-sizing” our lunch or dinner, not because we’re really famished, but just because it’s “only” an extra 59 cents?

4. When buying a new television. I bet most of us know at least one person who threw caution to the wind, “going all out” and buying one of those monster man-cave televisions that’s five sizes too big for the living room it sits in.

I have more examples but, sadly, I’m out of time – the wife needs my services. Apparently, it’s time for me to install our brand-new fancy-pancy toilet paper holder.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!

💰🗣📰

Read Next: 5 Easy Ways to Save on Your Cell Phone Bill

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 2,004 more deals!