When I ask clients about their budget for a kitchen renovation, or a living room re-do, or anything, 99% of the time they respond,
“Well, I don’t know what my budget is, because I don’t know what things cost.”
Here’s a trick I use. Say this sentence aloud: “I’m willing to spend X on this project right now.” Plug in $100, $500, $1,000, $10,000, for X – whatever amount makes this a true statement.
Now add 5% or 10% to X and say the sentence again. So if your first sentence is, “I’m willing to spend $10,000 on my house right now,” Your second sentence could be, “I’m willing to spend $11,000 on my house right now.”
Is your second sentence true? Sit with it a moment. Check in with your gut – how’s it doing?
If you’re still feeling good, say the sentence again, increasing X by the same amount of money.
This is really effective when you’re house- or apartment-hunting. I may have mentioned at some point that my mother-in-law is a realtor. Every once in a while a client – hers or another person’s – will fall in love with a place, and they’ll say, “I want this; I don’t care what it costs.” Well, guess what? They do care. They just don’t know it until that magic, just-a-little-too-high number is on the table.
This sneaky little exercise can trick yourself into finding that magic number for yourself.
The REAL trick is sticking to it.