Balancing the Budget (And Quality And Time Frame)

Jen lit the candles then stepped into the waiting tub. “This is it!” she thought. “I’ve finally made it.” As she sat back and sipped her wine, the events of the last week went through her mind. Her biggest, most challenging project ever had closed on budget and ahead of schedule, earning her a juicy bonus and an even juicier promotion.

She was excited about the opportunity for more travel and greater responsibilities, but the prospect of the extra entertaining she’d need to do left her at a bit of a loss. She could throw a mean party, no doubt about it. Her home, on the other hand, left something to be desired. Sure, her friends and family were fine with it…and it was functional. This level of entertaining, though, meant it was time to step up her game. If only she had the time (not to mention energy and patience) to make sure her home was comfortable, showed her personality, AND let clients know she was someone to be taken seriously.

Sound a little familiar? One of the first steps in any project is figuring out what quality you want the end result to be, how much money you want to spend to get there, and how long the whole process should take. The hardest part is figuring out the perfect balance because getting great quality at a great price and getting it right now just doesn’t happen. You’re going to have to let one of the three take a back seat.


Last year, my husband and I moved from Oklahoma to Tennessee and didn’t bring a stick of furniture with us other than some folding chairs and a collapsible camping table with benches. The day we got here, we checked into our hotel, signed the lease for an apartment, and bought a mattress set, washer, and dryer. The next day (after the mattress set was delivered to the apartment) we went shopping for a sofa. I got the best looking sofa I could find in the clearance area because I needed something NOW and I didn’t want to spend money on something that might not work in whatever house we ended up buying. The cushions aren’t the comfiest and I’ve already had to stitch a seam back together, but it was under $300. In case you’re interested, it’s this style but with a light greige fabric (I donated the throw pillows the day we got it):


Once we moved into our house, I knew that I wanted nice, sturdy chests-of-drawers to use as nightstands. I also didn’t want to pay the $900-ish price tag of the ones I liked. My solution? Order this guy unfinished:

I know it’s a pain to order something and have to wait six weeks (or even six months) for it to come in, but when it means getting exactly what you want at the price you want it’s totally worth it. Those chests are the perfect size for my bedroom and it makes me so happy when I see them in my room. I still haven’t stained them yet, but once I do, they’ll look something like this (I’m planning on switching out the knobs):


While I was willing to wait for my nightstands, that wasn’t the case for my dining table. I wanted a long table with benches that could hold (almost) all of my family at Thanksgiving. We needed the table quickly and I wanted something that would last. Yes, we spent more than if we had waited, but it was worth it!

Now, remember when I said that getting great quality at a great price without waiting doesn’t happen? Just like every rule, there are exceptions. Every once in a great while you can find that perfect unicorn of quality at a ridiculously great price and available right when you need it. Don’t look that gift horse (er…unicorn) in the mouth! Snatch it up and appreciate it all the more for its rarity.

Pearls don’t lie on the seashore. If you want one, you must dive for it.

—Chinese proverb

Having trouble getting that perfect balance? I can help! Just click on the button below to contact me and find out more.

Schedule a Call

Filed Under: