So your tax rebate check is on the way! Pay off a credit card? Add to your savings account? Both good ideas.
Another option is to give the biggest investment you have - your home - a boost. A little money and some serious sweat equity translate to family time, pride in a job well done, and a more pleasant and more valuable abode.
First of all, be savvy with your money. You don't have to spend a lot. Use the internet. Visit www.charlotte.craigslist.org. It features an ever-changing range of freebies and well-priced items.
Think sales. Buy off season. The best time to buy and plant perennials is in the fall when the stores put them on clearance. I have seen $4 plants for 25 cents. Home Depot and Lowes offer clinics and classes - all free! Want to replace that vinyl in the master bath? Sign up, take notes, rent a wet saw (from the store, of course), and get started. Your kitchen cabinets are dated? How about some new drawer pulls? Paint!
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It's my favorite bang for the buck. Just be sure to "cut" the edges neatly - touches of green on the ceiling do not help a room. Replace the old miniblinds with faux wood blinds. This can update a room in an hour. The cost is about $40 per window.
Try www.HomeDepot.com. Go to "Promotions." Tonight I find granite vanity tops starting at $199. You can also frequently find clearance priced items at the stores. So you buy a new vanity, hire a plumber (I have names!), paint, and tile and, with rebate money left over, you have a brand new secondary bath! One caveat: take the time to do it right, otherwise you are shooting yourself in the foot.
If you are planning to sell in the relatively near future, concentrate on the kitchen and baths and think neutral colors. If not, have at it! That bright pink room will just need a few extra coats of cover paint one day, but will bring a beatific smile to a special little girl right now!