Spending Money Around The House

We had a couple of bigger bills hit last month for some stuff around the house.  In both cases, we had the money saved and both were (sort of) planned.

Bye Bye To Another Tree

There seems to be something knocking off elm trees around our neighborhood.  We live in a newer neighborhood (15 years old), but the developer left many of the mature trees intact, so we have a substantial number of trees of different variety in our yard.  Several of these are elms and this is the second one that I’ve had to get removed from the attacks.

Decades ago, a disease swept through that took out many of them.  In fact, the city of Detroit was majorly impacted, as many of the residential streets were lined with mature elm trees in front of every house.  Block after block saw the trees die, and this changed the landscape of the city.  I have to believe that this probably furthered the decline of many of the worst neighborhoods.

Since then, it appears that while some survived, they are still somewhat under attack.  My neighbor had one pulled down earlier this year, and just looking down the street, you can see others that have been affected.

We still have a few more on our property, including one pretty big one that I would hate to lose, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they get spared for now.

The tree was right over our deck so the removal service had to climb up and take it down piece by piece.

Cost on this was $600 so far, plus I have to spend another $125 to get the stump ground, and probably $25 or so to get grass over the spot.

Updating Plumbing Fixtures

I’ve had it on my radar to do something about a few of the plumbing fixtures, and decided to surprise my wife when she was out of town for a recent girls weekend.

I didn’t do the work myself, instead turning to a handyman that I’ve known for a number of years and has done various project work.  He was willing to do the work and had some time on that weekend, so it worked out.

The project ended up consisting of:

  • New Kitchen Sink – Our old sink was white, had chips, and was only about 5.5″ inches deep.  We replaced it with a stainless steel sink with an 8″ depth, which is pretty standard.  The cost was $139
  • New Kitchen Faucet – The faucet was old, had been rebuilt once when we moved in, and wouldn’t have looked so good, so we got a new brushed nickel u-shaped faucet with a sprayer.  The cost of this was $169.
  • New Master Bathroom Sink – The sink was metal and had a couple of chips which had started to produce ugly rust spots.  We bought one for $59 but it was actually slightly too small for the opening, so we found a different one that looks just as nice and was only $39.
  • New Master Bathroom Faucet – I decided to upgrade the single handle faucet to a more modern faucet, with a double handle, a u-shaped faucet, and in brushed nicke.  Cost was $79, then I got a price adjustment the following week for $69.
  • New Half Bathroom Faucet – Just to improve the look of the common space, I decided to get the same faucet for the half bath.  That was the same price of $69.
  • Parts and pieces – New gaskets for the kitchen sinks, water supply lines, and tools needed ran around $20.
  • Labor – The guy I did this was happy with $175 for the project.  As he was out there for about 5-6 hours total, this was more than reasonable.

Total cost, roughly, was around $700.  Since I surprised my wife, I was a little nervous on how she’d react, but she loved everything and we’re both very happy with how it turned out.


Both projects were money well spent.  The tree was disappointing, but you don’t want dead trees hanging around, especially one that’s right over the deck, as they’ll eventually cause a lot more damage.  The plumbing work was well worth it, because we get enjoyment out of using a new and better sink with new and nicer looking fixtures, and I think those costs actually work their way back into the value of our home.

Readers, have you done any work around the house lately?  Any upcoming projects?

15 thoughts on “Spending Money Around The House”

  1. We are planning to replace the carpet in the upstairs of our house. As a result, I am getting a lot of painting done in preparation. I would rather paint now and not worry about getting paint on the carpet than to wait and have to be careful!

  2. We’re renters so no major projects over here. We are in an extreme de-cluttering mode though. I’ve donated two big boxes of clothes to goodwill, we rearranged our room and it’s all making me happier because I’m so much calmer when there is less clutter!

  3. That’s frustrating about the tree, especially one that probably was providing shade for the deck. We have on in our backyard that looks like it’s diseased. The leaves come out early in the spring and then the ones on the lower branches fall off almost within two weeks. So everything that is at the top of the tree is fine while the lower branches are bare. Weird…

    • The back of the house gets shade in the afternoon so it actually wasn’t doing too much for shade. But it did provide good coverage and I just like having trees. It was a bummer to see it go. Sounds like you have something attacking your tree as well.

  4. Ouch on the tree. We have a big one that I think it too close to the house. It worries me that we will have the same problem someday. Luckily, we haven’t had many projects lately, but the washer did go out a couple of months ago, so I’m hoping we are good for a while.

  5. Your post reminds me…..I have a light fixture above a bathroom mirror that I hit as I was stretching one morning – don’t you hate it when you break something just screwing around??? Anyway, the fixture got knocked off the wall a bit, and is sort of hanging there. You can’t really notice it much, but it needs to be put back to place. The unfortunate thing is, I don’t know how it’s attached. I always thought those things were somehow affixed to a stud or something, but apparently that’s not true. I need to do some research and figure it out….I hope I don’t have to pay someone to come fix that!

  6. I have yet to live in a place that is completely my own so I have yet to deal with these issues. I’m not too excited for that day either.

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