Let's face it, some of us are good with keeping track of expenses.
And some of us haven't reconciled a checkbook since George Bush snr was President.
Regardless of which camp you fall into, keeping track of the expenses associated with a renovation project can be a simple, straightforward task if you follow a couple of key tips.
Segregate your cash. First, open a separate bank account for the renovation project.
Because if you're like most of us you write a couple dozen checks a month and you certainly don't want to pay for your groceries with money that should have gone to your plumber.
Segregating the money in a separate account makes it far easier to keep track of how much you've paid out, and how much is left.
Computerize it. If you are technologically inclined, it's a great idea to use an off-the-shelf bookkeeping program to keep track of budgets, expenses and checks that you write.
Most of these programs can spit out handy charts and graphs that will let you see where you are against your estimated costs, how much you've paid to each of your subcontractors, and how much you've got left to finish the job.
It's a great way to keep a handle on expenses and know if a change you're considering is something you can afford, or something you should reconsider.
Cash: do something with it.
If you've taken out a construction loan, you probably have a large sum of money simply sitting in a checking account for months prior to using it for plumbing, or painting or any other scheduled stage of the job. But if you have a reasonable schedule laid out and you know you won't need a large portion of that money for, say three to five months, it might just pay to invest that money.
In say, a three-to-five-month CD, until you actually need it.
Warning: some investments pose a serious risk to your money, and therefore your renovation project. Contact a smart investment counselor before moving forward and steer towards investments that guarantee a modest rate of return rather than one that "might" pay back big (because, hey, it also might not).