We Made Our Dream Home A Reality

The Mad Money household has been brimming with contractors, ripped up floors, exposed wiring, and drywall sheets for most of the last 6 months. Ta Da! Finally, as of last Friday, our dream home is now a reality. I’ve been bursting at the seams to share our renovation journey with you. That day has finally come 🙂

Brief Historical Synopsis

Just in case you’re new to the sight, I’ll start with a brief overview. This blog was born out of a near-miss that would’ve cost us our financial futures. Bottom line, we nearly bought a huge house that we couldn’t really afford to impress people we didn’t really care about and to prove to ourselves (how ridiculous) that we were “successful adults”. As closing drew near, I started having night sweats and heart palpitations. And then the gods smiled upon us by having the home inspection come back showing the house was riddled with mold. Phew! Contract cancelled, heads pulled out of our butts, and, voila, a financial plan was born. Read all about it here.

Our Commitment To Frugality And A Better Future

After our almost financial collapse we were able to sleep again and gain some clarity. Our clarity allowed us to realize that our house, albeit smaller than our ideal, was in a great neighborhood, in a great school district, on a great piece of land, and generally, pretty awesome. Oh, did I mention it was also super affordable with really low taxes? Yeah, that too. So, we decided to LOVE IT! We made a commitment to our home, our family, and our future. We realized that a bigger, flashier house wouldn’t make us better people or make us happier. We were already pretty happy and there really was no need to impress anyone else. Ultimately, we put our heads down, tightened our frugal belts, and moved forward in a big financial way.

The Renovation That Turned Our Home Into Our Dream Home




Post Reno

Thankfully, Mr. Mad Money Monster also had a very good year, financially. Reminder, his income is project-based so it’s unreliable and unpredictable. We were able to live off of my income and use ALL of his to pay off all debts, except a small loan left on one of our cars. Then we used some savings and additional Mr. MMM income to finish a massive area in our basement, bringing our home to a comfortable 2100 SF of living space.


Custom Table

We already had two full baths on the main floor so we opted out of a third bathroom in the basement, which saved us some money. We added a huge family room with a gas fireplace and a private office for Mr. MMM. We also blew out the wall at the bottom of the basement steps and opened it up to the first floor giving it a lower level feel instead of a finished basement feel. We swapped out our white spindles on the staircase for a modern stainless steel railing, we then proceeded


Porcelain Tile…Oh Yes!

to rip up our nasty carpet and install a sleek porcelain tile throughout the entire main floor. I made a custom bar table out of wood we purchased at a sawmill and added steel legs I found from an artisan on Etsy. And our upstairs dining room table is now a cool piece of art with a Jackson Pollock style top – courtesy of my creativity and little elbow grease. Woot!

…And We Couldn’t Be Happier

We actually turned the home I felt was a “starter home” into our DREAM HOME. We couldn’t be happier. It is completely our style with high-end finishes that we were craving. This is something we spend money on because we value our home. The best part is that we were able to pay for all of our renovations with Mr. MMM’s salary and a little savings. So not only did we get our bigger, awesome(er) house, but our mortgage stayed the same and our taxes barely moved.

After finishing our first year of frugal living, we are astounded at our happiness level. We’re also floored how happy we are to still be in our “small” home. Sometimes what you desire is right under your nose.

How do you feel about your home? Are you going to Love It or List It?

cats and beer 3

Mad Money Cat Enjoying A Fall Beer

As always, Mad Money Cat encourages you to read Our Story and use the super convenient social media buttons to spread the LOVE!

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Penny deSaver Jun 26, 2017, 2:08 pm

    Congratulations on your new-again home! It looks great! Your home should be your haven. And keeping it pleasant and updated can help you enjoy it longer – ie, there’s no need to move. Congrats again!

  • Dave Jun 13, 2017, 7:15 am

    Wow, it looks great. You should be proud of that transformation. I love the fireplace insert. Plus, you took a frugal approach to the project. Well done.

  • Yvette Byrne Stylist Jun 11, 2017, 2:23 pm

    There is definately a lot to know about this subject.
    I love all the points you have made.

  • Counting Quarters Jun 10, 2017, 12:31 pm

    It looks fantastic! I love the Barcelona chair. Eventually I want two of those for my office. We have been slowly working through remodeling our house and after every room we fall more and more in love with our home.

  • zeejaythorne Nov 27, 2016, 9:36 pm

    Your reno was amazing! I don’t like my housing situation, but will hopefully be able to improve that in the next year or two.

  • MustardSeedMoney Sep 28, 2016, 10:20 pm

    It looks like the Property Brothers came through and did your renovation. It looks amazing. Congrats!!! My wife and I are fortunate that we love our home and don’t need to do anything to it. So we will be LOVING it for awhile 🙂

    • Mad Money Monster Sep 29, 2016, 10:38 am

      Now THAT is a compliment. Thank you! Sounds like all those hours watching HGTV has paid off. Haha! Glad you guys are happy with your home, as well. It’s so hard sometimes to resist lifestyle inflation in our consumer society.

  • Colleen Gold Sep 28, 2016, 4:12 pm

    So happy to hear you found your ideal home right under your nose. So often couples do not realize a bigger house & bigger bills do not bring happiness. We were lucky enough to do the same. I still love our home & life style

    • Mad Money Monster Sep 28, 2016, 4:26 pm

      Thank you so much! Yes, we feel fortunate to have realized this before we traded “up”.

  • yuppiemillennial Sep 28, 2016, 7:29 am

    That’s a huge basement window! Congrats on getting what you wanted out of your reno!

    • Mad Money Monster Sep 28, 2016, 8:17 am

      Thank you! We’re super pleased with it. The window is actually an egress window – required by law as an exit from the basement. I just dressed it up with a nice treatment 🙂

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