Skip to main content

How To: Finish Your Basement

Want to DIY, save some cash and keep your sense of humor? This is the post for you.

Last winter, we finished out basement. (And by “we” I mean, my husband and Dad.)

Why are you just hearing about this now? Well, because our desire to finish our basement was because we’d be welcoming another baby into our home...and the basement was finished a whopping 6 days before the baby arrived.

Since then, I’ve been a wee bit busy.

But we learned a lot about how to save money and stay (somewhat) sane during a big DIY endeavor.

Saving Money

Window Shop: Know what you need and keep your eye peeled for a great deal. Pop into the home improvement stores as often as you can. My husband stopped into a store after work and found our whole bathroom set up (toilet, shower/tub, vanity, sink) on sale.

Get Bids: Make a list of materials (all of the materials) and get bids from the home improvement and wholesale stores in your area. It’s extra work in the beginning to figure out how many outlet covers and 2x4’s you’ll need, but it will save you money in the long run.

Visit Specialty Stores: We were surprised to find that a local lighting and electrical wholesaler offered much of what we needed at a lower price than the national home improvement store chains.

YouTube Tutorials: My husband found some really helpful videos on YouTube that allowed him to learn how to do some trickier tasks on his own.

Stay Sane

Get the kiddos involved: You know what wears a kid out? Walking all over a big-box home improvement store. Stacking wood. Playing with sawdust. You’re welcome.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended for You

She was stoked about picking out paint.

She was stoked about picking out paint.

Invest in doggy valium and carpet cleaner: Our dogs got a wee bit...stressed about the disruption in our home. They showed their anxiety by pooping in our house, not one, not two, but THREE times during the first week of construction. Imagine my joy at waking up at 2 in the morning to THAT SMELL.

Hi, my name is Juneau. I’m nuts.

Hi, my name is Juneau. I’m nuts.

Keep Track the Cash: Our system helped keep us on track with our budget and it was simple. Every receipt was logged into a spreadsheet and the spreadsheet was updated religiously. It’s far too easy to go to the store 3 or 4 or, you know, 9 times in one weekend and those visits add up in a hurry.

Take Photos: We were in a big hurry and progress was made daily, so each night when my husband called it quits, we’d snap a bunch of photos. When we started, it was to chronicle the project, but one day these photos came in handy to find an outlet that had been accidently drywalled over. It saved us from having to tear into our freshly painted wall. Plus, you never know when you’ll catch a great shot of the kiddo in a classic “Whatchadoin?” pose.

“Whatcahdoin, Daddy?”

“Whatcahdoin, Daddy?”

What is your next DIY project?


How To Win at Family Movie Night

How To Win at Family Movie Night

If you find yourself in a rut and want to remind your kiddos what a blast family movie night can be again, here are a few tips...

Happy young woman sitting on the floor with crossed legs and using laptop on gray background

Shush The Voice In Your Head with 6 Reasons To Go Finish Your Degree

Life with kiddos can seem crazy and that calendar is packed, BUT you’d be surprised how easy it can be to fit your education into your already busy life.

My deck. Location of our July dinner.

How To: Get a Monthly Night Out with the Girls

In January 2010 someone had the genius idea to form a monthly dinner group. I am not exaggerating when I say that it is one of the most important parts of the month for me.

Three Kid Piggy Banks

How to Teach Your Kids About Money

Need ideas on how to teach your kids about money? Learn how to make saving fun and easy ways to get the discussion going!


Make Your Own Kid-Friendly Yogurt

After shelling out big bucks on organic drinkable yogurt and “baby” yogurt cups I wanted to find a way to save some cash.

How To Add Collagen To Your Busy Life in Coffee

How To Add Collagen To Your Busy Life

This nutritional supplement has been getting a fair amount of attention—but WHY? And HOW do you add it to your busy life?

Our yard in Connecticut was only 0.12 acres, so my garden was, like, 0.012 acres. Space was precious.

How To: Grow An Herb Garden

Mary, Mary quite contrary; How does your [herb] garden grow? Before beginning your garden, it's important to ask yourself how you want to use it and what you're actually ready to handle. An herb garden or food-specific garden could be the perfect match for you!

Erin O

The Finish Line

The staff meeting started innocently enough but by the end three of our staff members had committed to training for a Triathlon. Read how Erin’s race day dream ended in a very special surprise.