Home Improvement - couple painting interior room

Six Places to Splurge During a Home Improvement Project

Feb 20, 2020
Empower Insights

You don’t have to make big sacrifices to start stashing cash for surprise expenses

Home renovations are a chance to bring your dream house to life one project at a time. As you plan and save toward your next project, take some time to think about where you can save money — and where it might make sense to spend extra.

Sensible splurges fall into two main categories: jobs to hire a pro for rather than doing yourself, and places where higher-end items might make more financial and practical sense.

Labor makes up between 20% and 35% of many home improvement projects

Don’t DIY

Labor makes up between 20% and 35% of the cost of many projects,1 so sometimes it’s smart to do the work yourself. For the following jobs, however, penny wise can be pound foolish.

1. Plumbing

Toilet, sink and shower pipes wind through the entire house, so a mistake in this area can cost big bucks to repair — and may even force you to evacuate the house until the problem is fixed.

2. Electric

Faulty wiring is an extreme fire hazard, and electric shock is a real danger. Also consider that you’ll probably sell your house someday, and an inspection report noting amateur electric work could scare off prospective buyers. Make the safe decision: Hire an electrician.

When to pay up for the good stuff

In the following cases, higher-quality items may be well worth the extra cost.

3. Surfaces that get heavy wear

Kitchen countertops and floors in high-traffic areas take major abuse. Higher-end materials such as hardwood flooring or granite counters are likely to last longer and retain their value better than bargain alternatives. In the case of wood flooring, you can refinish it multiple times, so it should last decades.

4. Paint

Why pay $45 for a can of paint when you could pay $20? The answer: because it can cover more square feet, may need fewer coats and could wear better over time. (And it probably will look better, too.)

5. The small things you use the most

Consider spending extra for the little touches you touch a lot. For example, spending $100 on a showerhead you use daily might bring you more enjoyment than sinking $1,000 into radiant heating you use only on cold days.

6. Investments that will pay you back

Energy-saving upgrades such as LED light fixtures, ultra-efficient appliances and insulated windows may cost significantly more up front, but they can save you money over their lifetimes compared to less-efficient alternatives — and they’re usually better for the environment, too.

Another way to make the most of your money: Open an Empower Investment Account to build the savings you need to do the job right.

Open an Empower Investment Account to build the savings you need to do the job right

Latest Empower Insights

Paying Cash for Car
Feb 20, 2020
Empower Insights

The advantage of paying cash for a car

Borrowing to buy a car or truck is more popular than ever. In the past eight years, the total auto debt in the United States rose from $710 billion to $1.27 trillion, and the most common term for an auto loans is now 72 months.

Carefully consider the investment option’s objectives, risks, fees and expenses. Contact Empower for a prospectus, summary prospectus for SEC-registered products or disclosure document for unregistered products, if available, containing this information. Read each carefully before investing.

Securities, when presented, are offered and/or distributed by Empower Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. EFSI is an affiliate of Empower Retirement, LLC; Empower Funds, Inc.; and registered investment adviser, Empower Advisory Group, LLC. This material is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide investment, legal or tax recommendations or advice.  

IMPORTANT: The projections, or other information generated on the website by the investment analysis tool regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes, are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual investment results and are not guarantees of future results. The results may vary with each use and over time.

Investing involves risk, including possible loss of principal.

Insurance products are issues by or offered through Empower Annuity Insurance Company of America, Corporate Headquarters: Greenwood Village, CO; or in New York, by Empower Life & Annuity Insurance Company of New York, Home Office: New York, NY. 

The managed account service is part of the Empower Advisory Services suite of services offered by Empower Advisory Group, LLC, a registered investment adviser.

The Empower Institute is a research group within Empower.

“EMPOWER” and all associated logos, and product names are trademarks of Empower Annuity Insurance Company of America.

All features may not currently be available and are subject to change without notice. ©2022 Empower Retirement, LLC. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise noted: Not a Deposit | Not FDIC Insured | Not Bank Guaranteed | Funds May Lose Value | Not Insured by Any Federal Government Agency.