When doing general home improvements around the house you should not let your eyes get bigger than your stomach or pocket book in this case. After all, doing small home improvement jobs does not mean building the Eiffel Tower next to the pool in the backyard so that kids can use it to jump off into the swimming pool.
All too often, people plan home improvement projects that are well beyond their means, and then the feature creep gets the best of them. For instance, at first they just want to build an outdoor barbecue, and a small gazebo out of redwood. The next thing they know they have the project running over $100,000 which is obviously not going to fly.
Such massive expenditures are simply not in the family budget considering we are in the middle of a recession. If you want to build another room onto your house and you pull permits, the last thing you want to do is give the impression of mansionization on your property.
It also makes sense not to make gigantic home improvements if you are considering selling a house in the next 5 to 10 years unless it will improve the value of the home. Additionally, with the way that home equity loans are going these days it may not make sense to borrow a whole ton of money right now.
Still, if you are going to do general improvements this is the best time to hire a contractor at a discounted price and to buy the materials needed to complete the project because most people in that industry are hurting right now and they need to work. So you should take advantage of the recession to save money, but you should not go overboard or overspend. Please consider all this.