Time for a revamp? Think small
Depending on your local property market, you can expect to recover up to 80% of the overall cost of a kitchen renovation. But a series of smaller-scale, less-glamorous projects may be a better investment: Adding fiberglass insulation to your attic, and replacing your entry door and garage door will actually add more value, in terms of cost recouped.2 Because you can do one project at a time, the cost is more manageable. Just remember to hold on to receipts—you may be able to deduct home renovation expenses when you sell your house.
If gleaming countertops still haunt your daydreams, decide a ballpark sum you’re willing to spend on your kitchen renovation, say $10,000, then set up a five-year plan to save around $2,000 each year. Schedule your deposits for those times you plan to receive a windfall (a tax refund or work bonus) and use that for your renovation bucket. Are you willing to take on a low level of risk (i.e. end up with less than $20k)? You could open a brokerage account and invest in a bond fund3, where there’s more earning potential than your unadventurous savings account.