Work with what you have. We kept as much existing cabinetry as possible. The floors were almost new and in great shape so they stayed. We kept the layout of the major appliances so we didn't have to rework all the plumbing and gas lines.
Used is cheaper than new. We've bought quite a few things second-hand to cut down costs. Our dishwasher was from Craigslist, the fridge was an estate sale in town, even the bamboo blinds came from a yard sale! We've also had good luck shopping sales and clearance racks (which is how we got our $300 farmhouse sink for $40)
Don't rush things. Going slowly, as painfully tedious as it is at times, has actually helped us keep things affordable. We wait until we find things for a good price. If we don't have the money to buy something outright, we we wait until we do so we don't have to go into any debt for the project.
DIY as much as you can. Of course, doing something yourself will generally be cheaper than hiring a contractor to help! We've done everything from building new cabinets, to pouring concrete countertops, to painting, to installing our dishwasher. Just keep in mind that some things are better left to the professionals. Things like electrical work and plumbing can be a big mess (and plain old dangerous!) if you don't know what you're doing. We've been fortunate enough to have friends and family who are contractors who have been able to help us out with all these things, and even teach us to do them ourselves in the future!
Here's a (very) rough breakdown of what we've spent so far. There is some guestimating involved - I'm not up for receipt hunting today. :)
- $240 - building the new base cabinets
- $35 - adding trim to all the cabinet doors
- $305 - concrete countertops
- $25 - wall paint
- $125 - painting the cabinets
- $80 - sink & faucet
- $66 - new hardware (they were about $3/each)
- $1000 - stainless appliances (the stove & microwave were bought new because we needed them ASAP, the fridge and dishwasher were used)
- $45 - open shelving from Ikea
- $250 - very rough estimate of extra stuff we've used throughout the process (plumbing, wiring, painting supplies, etc.)
It's certainly not pocket change (and part of the reason it's taken us so long) but it's been doable. And we are so close to having an amazing kitchen! So how about you guys? Anybody else tackled a kitchen remodel on a budget?