Getting Your Dream Pool with a Low Budget

When you’re in the mood to go swimming, getting everything together and bundling the family into the car to head for the water park, beach, or city pool can become such a headache, you find yourself wishing you had your own swimming pool.  But it turns out that your dream pool is a budget buster you can’t afford any time soon.  Don’t worry.  You can start small and work your way up.

Financial planners like Dave Ramsey  advise people against going into debt unless it’s absolutely necessary.  Plunking down $50,000 for an average-sized, in-ground swimming pool doesn’t fall into that category.  Just the opposite, in fact.  That’s why they advise you to pay cash for something small right now, then save your money until you can sell the small one (whatever it is) and get the larger, fancier one.  This advice works for swimming pools as well as for cars and houses.

Start small

Start with an above-ground pool.  A decent sized pool, four to five feet deep and fifteen feet in diameter, can be had for a few hundred bucks.  They’re fairly easy to set up and they can be filled from your garden hose in just one or two days.  Most of the boxed pools like that come with a pump and filter.  All you have to do is get some chemicals, a couple bags of sand, and you’re in business.  You can start enjoying your new swimming pool this weekend.

It isn’t your dream pool?  Perhaps not, but a small pool is better than no pool.  You can start enjoying it without the hassle and expense of heading off to the beach while you’re saving for the pool of your dreams.  In the meantime, there’s plenty you can do to beautify your smaller pool.

Beautify it with add-ons

Building a deck is a project that will give you an excuse to try out some of those power tools that have been collecting dust in the garage, or give you a reason to get the ones you’ve been wanting. but putting off.  You know you want them.  Now’s the time to get them.

Get some pressure-treated lumber (2×4’s, 4×4’s, 1×6 planks, etc.), a few concrete pads to put the legs one, a bucket of wood screws, some plans downloaded from the internet, and you’re ready to go.  You can have a nice deck with stairs and a railing in just a few days.  Stain it or paint it to suit your taste.

deck plan

Image credit: IHA Holidays Ads

By the way, the best plans are the ones that connect to the pool on just one side.  That way, when you move up to the next larger size you don’t have to rebuild your deck at the same time.  You can keep on using it until you get some more lumber and some expansion plans to increase the size of the deck to match the pool.  This step-by-step approach will gradually get you where you want to go without breaking the bank.

Get some potted plants to put around the pool or desk.  Swimming pool fences for above-ground pools can add safety as well as visual interest to the area.  A splash of color here and there will do wonders to change the atmosphere around your pool.  String some lights over the pool for nighttime swimming.  It’s pretty and romantic all at the same time.

above ground pool on backyard

Image credit: mike krzeszak, Flickr

Final thoughts

One note; make sure you maintain everything with an eye toward selling it when it’s time to move up to a larger above-ground pool.

The entire time you’re upgrading your above-ground pool, you need to save some money out of each paycheck for your in-ground swimming pool.  It’s easier than you might think.  Eliminate a couple of fast-food trips each week and put the money aside.  Keep track of all your expenses for a month then look for places you can cut back, even if it’s only a few bucks here and there.  It adds up faster than you think.  Eventually, you’ll have enough equity from the equipment on the above-ground pool, and savings in the bank to get started on the in-ground pool of your dreams.

Along the way get the survey done for where your in-ground pool will go.  Get the permits from the city.  Have an architect draw up the plans.  Most importantly, get two or three estimates from local companies on how much it will cost.  The average of those estimates, plus 5-10%, will be your goal for how much to save.  You always want to save a little more than you think you’ll need to cover those unexpected, but inevitable, extra expenses that come up during any construction.

If you do each of these (money eating) steps individually over time, you’ll have part of the expense already out of the way by the time you start construction.

If you’re willing to start small and gradually work your way up, eventually you’ll get where you want to be without going into debt to do it.