Many people make decisions simply based on what they want to do.
Then there are the rare people that make a majority of their decisions based on what makes the most financial sense.
While I wish it was easy to tell you there is one correct method about how you should make all of your decisions involving money, there isn’t.
Instead, you have to balance what you want with the money you have available to you and make the best decision you can.
Currently, my wife and I have been trying to make one of these decisions.
Hardwood vs Tile vs Carpet – Which Flooring To Buy
We’re currently considering changing out the flooring in the majority of the living area of our home.
We’ve planned to do this for a while, but now that we’re getting close, we’ve gone back and forth between a few different ideas.
The Short Term Cheapest Option – Carpet
Right now, the cheapest thing to do would be to leave the carpet as is or, if my wife really hates the current carpet, replace the carpet.
Carpet is by far the cheapest flooring option up front for us, but you’ll end up having to replace it sooner than you would likely have to replace an engineered hardwood floor or a tile floor, which are currently our other two options. Carpet can get nasty quickly, especially in high traffic areas.
The Long Term Cheapest Option – Tile
On the other end of the spectrum, hardwood look tile would likely be the most expensive option for us at this point in time up front, but would be the lowest cost over a long period of time.
Once you install it, tile requires very little maintenance and would likely last until we move out of the house or get tired of it. Unfortunately, I’m not a huge fan of tile and I worry the hardwood look tile will eventually look bad as they continue to improve on the current methods.
Our Favorite Look And Feel Option – Engineered Hardwood
Finally, we could opt for an engineered hardwood floor. This prices in between carpet and tile as far as up front cost. At the same time, engineered hardwood floors would last longer than carpet, but not as long as tile would. However, hardwood is my favorite option as far as feel and look goes.
Wood floors will get scratched and dinged over the life of the floor. If it gets bad enough, we may have to refinish the engineered hardwood, but we would only likely be able to do so once before having to replace it due to the way it is made.
How Do We Choose?
So how should we choose our new flooring? Financially, it seems like tile would make the most sense long term and carpet would make the most sense from a cash flow perspective right now.
Ultimately, if it was a truly financial decision, we would go with tile. Fortunately, nothing is just a financial decision.
Buy For Enjoyment
Money is a tool and you should use some of your money to enjoy your life. Granted, you need to make sure you’re living within your means by spending less than you earn and not incurring debt, but you shouldn’t make all of your financial decisions based on what makes the most financial sense.
Keep Cost In Mind
That said, keep cost in mind. While I would easily spend some extra money to buy something I enjoy a bit more, it should still be practical. While I might enjoy having a multi hundred thousand dollar Bentley car, it makes no sense on any level so I’ll never buy one.
However, getting hardwood floors instead of tile or carpet isn’t anywhere close to buying a Bentley so it’d probably be an okay use.
Ultimately, I think we’re going to end up going with the engineered hardwood flooring. We still have to get a few quotes to make sure pricing lines up with what we think it will, but I think we’ll enjoy hardwood the most.
Additionally, the cost isn’t that much higher over the life of the floor. This will just be one of the areas we decide to spend a little more to get some enjoyment out of our money.
What would you do? Would you go for the most cost effective long term solution, would you go with the cheapest up front solution or would you just save up and pick the option you liked best? Let me know in the comments.