New homeowners have to manage their budget and spending, even if they are approved for a mortgage. Home upgrades, furniture, and other costs add money to the baseline price of your new home. Staying on top of these expenditures eliminates stress and helps you stay on budget.
Before you manage your budget, you actually need to have one. You and your co-buyer need to know how much money you can afford to spend of additional home features, and must track the money you spend from this portion of your funds.Best Budgeting Apps and Tools
Mvelopes is a comprehensive budgeting app that can help you manage and eliminate hidden spending. Building a home is expensive, and Mvelopes can help you stay on top of your expenses during a time when you have to spend more money than usual.
Unsplurge is an iOS app that helps couples save up for large purchases. If you want to save up for new furniture, or offset the cost of some upgrades, Unsplurge’s social network, goals section, and progress section can help you visualize your savings, while staying motivated.
Google Sheets gives you and your co-buyer a collaborative spreadsheet to keep track of your budget. Before you buy anything for your new home, including upgrades, write how much money you have to spend on upgrades, fixtures, and furniture in the Sheet. When one of you buys something, log the amount spent, and sum it with the other expenses. You can set up email notifications so you can both see whenever someone spends money in the home accessory pool.
Budgeting on Paper
Budgeting and tracking spending on paper looks a lot like the Google Sheets method. Write the money you have to spend on additional features, and post it in a public space in your home. Every time you buy something, subtract it out from the initial amount. If you know the price of items you know you need, subtract that immediately, even if you have not made the purchase.
Track Your Upgrades and Purchases
Before you move into your new home, you have to make some purchases. If you plan to invest in builder upgrades, you need to decide and keep track of the ones you want. Keeping track of purchases that do not come through the builder, like some appliances, cabinet hardware, and furniture, is more difficult.
Planning what you want to buy for your new home, and items you have already purchased, helps you stay on budget and prevents you from wasting money on duplicates or things you do not actually want.
Best Apps and Tools to Track Upgrades and Purchases
You can use Trello for free on your phone and on desktop. This collaborative approach to a checklist lets you design and organize boards to help track the things you need to buy. One easy way to manage your purchases is to have a card for everything you need to buy under a ‘we need’ list. As you buy items, move it over to a ‘purchased’ list.
Evernote is a powerful, paid organization app. You might not need the wide range of functionality that it comes with to track your upgrades and purchases, but it can come in handy for staying organized during the entire homebuilding process.
Venmo is a mobile solution to writing checks. If you someone finds the perfect cabinet pull for your new home, you can pay them back with Venmo. You can also use your Venmo as a way to pay in mobile apps, and track your spending.
Staying Organized on Paper
To track your upgrades and other purchases on paper, you should mimic Trello’s board and card functionality. Have a sticky note for all your upgrades and necessary purchases, and put them under a ‘we need’ column. Once you buy the item, move the sticky note to a ‘purchased’ column.
Stay On Top of Your To-Do List
You are going to have a lot of things to do while you build your new home. Making a well-organized to-do list helps you stay on top of necessary tasks, keeps you motivated, and limits the stressed out feeling you might get when you have a bunch of new things to do all at once.
The trick to managing your new home to-do list is to take a deep breath and make good plans.
Best Apps for To-Do Lists
Things is a powerful and easy to organize to-do list app. It is a paid app, but it allows you to organize your tasks by type and then break your list down by the expected completion dates.
If all you want is an easy to use checklist to manage your tasks, Wunderlist is the app for you. This popular checklist app makes creating and sharing lists easy.
Trello makes a second appearance on our guide to staying organized while building because it gives visual list makers a better way to diagram their tasks. DIY To-Do Lists
The hardest thing about staying on top of tasks and to-do lists if you simply prefer writing them out, is keeping them organized and in one place. To keep your new home to-do lists organized, put them all in one notebook, and date each list. You should also take pictures of your list, so you have a record of what you have already done and what needs doing in case you ever lose your notebook.
Make the Move
You have survived the home building process, and have the keys to your new home! Now all you have to do is get your belongings and your family out of your old house and into your new one.
You can make the move without losing and breaking your favorite possessions. These apps and tips help you organize your move, and transport your belongings safely. Best Apps for Moving
This iOS app helps people getting ready to move figure out what they need to set up in their new home before they move in.
Home Inventory helps people catalog their belongings room by room before they start packing. It can help you document belongings for insurance, get accurate quotes from movers, and gives you decorating ideas when you need to unpack.
LetGo makes listing items online as easy as taking a picture. If you want to get rid of some stuff, make money, and have someone else take your unwanted belongings away before you move, LetGo is the app for you.Plan Your Move on Paper
You can plan your move without apps. Before you pack your belongings, take pictures of all your rooms, so you understand what goes where. While packing, try to keep your things organized by room, and label all the boxes. Make sure you have all your documents in a specific box, and that you have transferred your address and utilities to your new address.
You can stay organized while you build your new home. Keeping track of your finances, purchases, to-do lists, and your move reduces stress during this time of change in your life. Organization is crucial to staying on budget, saving money on additional purchases, and ensuring your builder can complete your home on schedule.