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How a 39-year-old freelancer can afford $30K in home renovations

Melody Hahm
Senior Writer

Welcome to Fix My Finances, Yahoo Finance’s new personal finance series. Each episode, we take a look at one viewer’s financial state of the union and offer advice, insight and information on a variety of issues, including how to save more, spend less and pay off lingering debt.

This episode we spoke with Conor, a 39-year-old freelancer from Gainesville, Florida. He recently returned to the US after having lived in Southeast Asia for the past five years. As if one big life change weren’t enough, he and his wife also just had their first child and purchased a 100-year-old home. He’s looking to balance his expenses and save for their future, all while tackling the cost of home renovations.

Create an emergency fund

Conor estimates it will cost him $30,000 to renovate his home, and he and his family are depending primarily on his wife’s full-time income. However, before he starts spending money on renovations, he needs to create an emergency fund that’s at least six months’ worth of income. 

Though Conor may be tempted to pull from his mutual fund investments, we also wouldn’t recommend using that money to pay for renovations or any of his other expenses. Watch the video above to understand why Conor shouldn’t dip into these investments for non-essential items.

Put vacations on hold

Given Conor’s penchant for international travel, he’s tempted to plan an exotic vacation with his family. But, right now, he and his wife need to prioritize saving more for retirement. Find out why Conor should put his desire for travel on hold as he plans for the future and sorts out home renovations and child care.

Watch the video to learn more about how Conor can fix his finances.

Want to be a part of this new series? We are looking for people in their 20s and 30s who need a money makeover.  Apply here.