This is a guest budget fail article by Kim.  If you are interested in contributing to Debt RoundUp, please follow our guidelines

girls bedroom
Not the actual bedroom

My family has been on the budget train for several months now. We have a determined amount set up for birthdays and other holidays so that we won’t overspend. This March, our daughter will turn six, and we’ve decided to let her redecorate her room as a birthday present. Little did I know this would lead to a budget fail!

Her current room design is the one we picked before she was born. Although we used to spend too much money on things, we were very frugal with her room. We had a used crib and changing table from family members, and I re-purposed a book shelf and dresser that we already had.

I am not a girly girl. When I was pregnant, we took one trip to Babies R Us, and I got so overwhelmed, I had to leave the store. It seems all baby girls rooms must look like someone projectile vomited Pepto Bismol everywhere. The choices were pink and frilly or pink and more frilly. I do not like pink or frilly, so I had to think outside the box. We ultimately decided the room was fine with its existing light yellow paint, and I used bright red and blue for everything else. We cut out pictures from Dr. Seuss books to frame and hang on the walls and had stuffed Seuss characters throughout for a more neutral, but kid friendly theme.

Fast forward almost six years, and other than a twin bed instead of the crib, the room looks the same. Our daughter is very anxious to put her own stamp on things, and guess what she wants? Pink and frilly! Maybe Pepto color isn’t so bad? Anyway, it’s her choice. We had $100 budgeted. I thought all we needed was some new bedding and paint. No problem, right? Wrong!

Since we are painting the walls pink, we have to change out all the red and blue stuff. That means the art work, the red canvas storage bins, and the red curtains have to go. Although we got a good deal on a pink, whimsical comforter, she also wanted the glittery, fairy throw pillow and sheets to go with it, and I caved.

The other thing we notice is that she needs a work space. Currently, she carries all of her art supplies to our large dog crate and uses that as a desk. She brings her lamp and plugs it in beside the kennel to make her own little office. Very enterprising, but we realized we need to make a space for this in her room because the dog keeps finding and eating crayons left in the kennel. We could get a cheap particle board desk at Walmart, but I’m thinking we need something a bit more sturdy to last for several years.

How much is this going to set me back?

Comforter, curtains, sheets, pillows: $70
Paint: $50
Desk: $200
Art: $30
Storage bins: $40

Total: $390

Yes, we blew our $100 birthday budget. Big Fail! I guess the consolation is that we won’t need to change the room for another 5 or 6 years, and we can get back to regular gifts next time. While we didn’t quite manage to stick to our budget, can you really put a price on pink and frilly?

Author Bio: Kim is an optometrist, wife and mother, and reformed over spender. She blogs about her journey toward 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.

Image courtesy of

I’ve Been Cable Free for 5 Years and Still Watch TV

While in debt, I cut cable and haven’t looked back. It’s easier than you think especially with new services out on the market. One of my favorites is Sling TV, which allows you to watch live TV on the internet. It’s awesome. Check out my Sling TV review.

Learn More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. All in all, I think you guys did pretty good on the budget, even if it was over what you projected. The desk will be a huge blessing, especially as she gets older and has more homework. And if she sticks with the girly pastel colors, you can likely get away with only changing bedding and paint next time around. 🙂

    1. That was my thought. We should only have to change out the comforter as she gets older. I think I liked pink well into my teens when I went into the all black phase!

  2. kids grow up so fast now, I hope she lasts until she is 12 in the fairy glittery room.. $100 was really low. The only thing that seems expensive is the desk, I hope it isn’t pink and will make it through the years.

    1. I’m looking for light or white wood. It’s really hard to find decent furniture these days. It’s all particle board crap. Let’s hope she stays in the fairy stage for as long as possible. Pre teen comes next!

    1. I did look. Craig’s list in the boonies is pretty funny. It covers a 6 hour radius and there might be 5 things in a category. I’ll keep looking, You never know, but we are just too rural to get the benefit unless I want to drive to Denver.

  3. We’re going to be finding ourselves in this very situation all too soon with our daughter. She just got her room back to herself as we moved our oldest boy in with the baby and her room is very neutral. I am not thinking this is going to be a cheap endeavor as she is all sorts of gaga over princesses and pink & frilly.

    1. Do all girls just have the phase genetically included? I have never pushed princesses or fairies, but that just seemed to evolve overnight. One day we were into Thomas the Train, next day Princesses.

  4. Kim, was it a fail in implementing your plan or a fail in not budgeting adequately? Where I live, $100 will get me paint and maybe new window treatments. My kids are older now but base on experience, it’s always cost us at least $300 to redo one of their room’s. Don’t be too hard on yourself. All told, I think you did pretty well!

    1. I think I grossly underestimated the costs, and I certainly wasn’t thinking about all the red storage bins and such needing to be replaces. I guess I could have kept the paint yellow and made her reuse those, but it kind of takes the fun out of the process. She is our only child, so we can take a few more liberties than if we had several kids.

  5. Ha, this post was funny Kim 🙂 The pepto-bismol thing…ugh. Everything for girls is pink, you can’t get away from it! As if it’s the only color girls are genetically supposed to like 😉

  6. I think you did ok with the budget you had actually! How much has the price of paint gone up recently too? Its never been cheap but in the past year or two its increased dramatically!

  7. It seems that you set a budget based on some aesthetic upgrades, and what really blew the budget was going all in for a quality desk. Overall, you’re going quality or cheap, and will probably save money in the long run, plus you won’t have a cheap particleboard desk that falls apart if someone sneezes at it. I’d say you did pretty good.

    Now, if you want to take it to the next level, check out my blog once we get our “Re-decorate for $0” series going. That’s budgeting to the extreme 🙂

  8. My youngest daughter is 7 and is very much like yours – pink and frilly is their dream bedroom. The desk is the most expensive piece and is something that will be used for a long time, so it’s a good investment and not something she should need (or want) replaced next year. Sometimes I wonder when they will outgrow this pink phase (talking to a person who has a pink website) and sometimes I hope she never does. 🙂

  9. Hah, the Pepto Bismol bit made me laugh!

    You did blow the budget but those sorts of things happen all the time. As long as your were conscious of it and you’re right, maybe you don’t need to redecorate for 5 years!