Kitchen Remodel On A Budget: Part 3

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Welcome back to the Kitchen Remodel On A Budget series. Make sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2 to see how things kicked off!

Getting Granite Countertops For Cheap!

Yeah, I know, we have already ordered the solid surface countertop and scheduled the installation, but the day after we bought, Michelle finally got an email back from a wholesale granite place that gave us a RIDICULOUSLY cheap quote. It was hard to believe, so Michelle called them to make sure the numbers were correct. She even sent them the updated drawing, and yes, the quote was correct.

Of course, we wanted to know WHY they were so cheap, so we hopped on Yelp to see what people said about this company. There were about a dozen reviews, and honestly, they were less than stellar. So instead of just trusting an online reviewer, we decided to head into the shop and see what they had to offer. We packed up the family and went downtown.

The place looked a little sketch, but it was packed full of people. Some looked like contractors, which was encouraging. They had a big warehouse, and we browsed around looking at their granite while waiting to be helped. Everything looked very nice, and the prices were amazing. We finally sat down with the guy who we spoke with on the phone, and he walked us through everything. It was just as they said on the quote, and they would do the entire job in 5 hours (instead of 2 days like the home improvement store we went to).

We were feeling good after the walkthrough, and decided we were going to pull the trigger. But, as will all major purchases, we busted out our favorite question. “So, we’re on a budget, and honestly this is a little bit more than we were going to spend on countertops. We already made a purchase elsewhere, but will refund if you have a competitive price. Is this the best price you can do here?”

Without hesitation, he dropped the price 5%. BOOM! He explained they couldn’t go much lower because they were already wholesale prices, which we were totally fine with. We put half down, and would pay half once completed.

Now, you remember the total for the solid surface countertops at Lowe’s were $2,150? Not bad for what we were getting. But, our grand total with granite (an EXTREMELY valuable upgrade), came to  total of….


Yup, we ended up only paying another $25 to upgrade our countertops to a very nice granite.


Cabinet Installation

So after our awesome countertop win, it was time to complete installation of our upper cabinets, and set the lower ones in place to prepare for the countertop installation. We set the install date 3 weeks out to give us time to get everything ready.

Michelle’s brother-in-law (the mad genius as I call him) came over, as he has done professional cabinet installation before. We decided to tackle the upper cabinets in the evening one day. I was out getting supplies, and by the time I got home, they had ripped the old cabinets off the wall!

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That was quick.

We then hopped into the garage and removed the cabinets from the walls (remember from part 1, our “new” cabinets were actually just leftover the previous homeowners had installed in the garage for some reason…), and brought them in for fitting. We figured out what would go where (based on my wife’s calculations), and then just started going for it!


We marked out the studs and leveled the first cabinet, and then screwed it into the wall. We made a few more minor adjustments, and then fully tightened it to the wall. ONE DOWN!


We used the first one as our leveling guide and quickly installed a few more cabinets along the wall. We left a space for our hanging microwave over the stove (we wanted a hood, but our real estate agent said microwave is better resale, plus we already had the microwave), and kept installing until we hit the final corner. After some table saw wizardry with a few trim pieces (thanks Matt!), we had a perfect fit! BOOM!

A week later, we finished the cabinets on the fridge side of the wall too. The cabinet above the fridge was going to be a pair of cabinets, but with our new fridge going in soon, it would be too tall, and look super weird. Matt (BIL) had another genius idea to flip the tall cabinet on it’s side and the door would open from the bottom, with hinges that held it up (like the trunk of a car). We test fit it in place, and then installed it. The final look was AWESOME!



Bring In The Fridge!

After the cabinets were installed, it was time to UNLEASH THE BEAST…errrr….. bring in the fridge. First, we emptied the old fridge and got it moved out of the house. There was some NASTY stuff under it (no pics, I don’t want to cause any trauma), but we got it all cleaned up and prepped for the new fridge. And thanks to Buy Nothing, we were able to get rid of the old fridge within days.

It was an INSANE hassle to get the new fridge home, and we knew it would be a challenge to get it in place.  Luckily, I was a pro at this point, so I quickly pulled off the doors and disassembled the kick plate to get it moved into the house. It was a slow process, but eventually we go it into the house. The last challenge was getting it through a doorway with less than an inch of total clearance. AHHHHH!

Luckily I had my moving professional (same guys who helped pick up the fridge) on the job, and we were able to squeeze it in! It barely fit into the space, but it fit, and that’s all that matters! We plugged it in, and it started up right away. It cooled within about 30 minutes, and we loaded it with food. WOOHOO!

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Operation: New Fridge was officially 100% complete!

Odds and Ends

In the previous two posts, we hadn’t really spent any money, except reserving the countertop installation (then cancelling when we got granite). But once we started doing some work, the costs started adding up. We had to get things such as; Screws, shims, paint (for walls and old cabinets), tools (large level for cabinets, and a few other install tools), new under-mount sink and faucet (for new countertops), new plumbing (for new sink), and a few other things. At this point we had spent about $500 on these various things in preparation for the installation.

At the end of this series, I will have a full list of all items purchased along with prices. Our total budget is around $4,000, so we’ll see how well we planned!

Stay tuned!

Jacob Wade

Jacob Wade

Jacob Wade has been a nationally-recognized personal finance expert for the past decade. He has written professionally for The Balance, The Spruce, LendingTree, Investing Answers, and other widely-followed sites. 
He’s also been a featured expert on CBS News, MSN Money, Forbes, Nasdaq, Yahoo! Finance, Go Banking Rates, and AOL Finance.

In 2018, Jacob quit his job and his family decided to sell everything (including their home) to take off on an adventure. They traveled the country in an RV for nearly 3 years, visiting over 38 states, 20+ national parks and eventually settling in the sunshine state!

9 thoughts on “Kitchen Remodel On A Budget: Part 3”

  1. Looks like it was a tight squeeze to get the fridge in – well done! Your kitchen remodel definitely seems to be going a bit faster than ours, but we completely gutted our kitchen and dining room down to the studs and then some. =P

    • It started back in March, so it’s taking a while. I just started writing about it recently 🙂 But yes, ours is not a complete gut out. That would be CRAZY TOWN (in a good way 😉 )

  2. Personally, I think it looks terrific. Especially when you consider how little money was spent. This is a very realistic makeover for the majority of us. I certainly can’t spend thousands on a remodel so this is a brilliant example of what can be done with a limited budget and lots of work.
    I would love to see more like this.
    Thanks & Cheers Jacob!


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