hey friend, 

get to know me

I'm Carrie Barker.

I'm here to simplify the home build planning and design process so that YOU feel equipped to confidently build your dream home without regrets and without blowing your budget!

home build planning

Browse home build tips

Floor plan creation

home build budget

design finishes

get the freebie!

home decor

Browse design tips

design finishes

Follow along:

Home Build prep guide



How to Build your Dream Home Without Breaking the Bank

Published on:


written by:

Carrie Barker


Do you think it’s impossible to build your dream home without breaking the bank? 

If so, (thankfully) you’re wrong.

I’m here to tell you that you CAN build a house you absolutely LOVE without blowing your budget.

I know this because I did it.

And you can too.

The key to building a house you absolutely LOVE (w/o breaking the bank) is to prepare for your home build in a SMART + STRATEGIC way.

And it all starts with avoiding three common mistakes that *most* people make when building a house.

I’m going to share these mistakes in this post, so keep reading (or listen to the ep below)!

Listen on APPLE or SPOTIFY

Welcome back to the Before You Build Podcast! I’m your host, Carrie Barker (a.k.a. Caroline on Design), and today in episode 46, we’re talking about how to build your dream home without breaking the bank. 

I know this is possible because I did it.

And I’m going to tell you how you can learn my exact process for doing this, but first, let’s talk about some common fears that I think we all share when it comes to building a house.


I talk to my clients (and blog readers and podcast listeners) A LOT about their biggest fears when it comes to building a home.

It’s one of the first questions I ask people when they join my email list or join my ‘Before You Build’ group coaching program. 

So I have a lot of data …  from hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people like you.

Guess what two things (by far) top my clients’ and listeners’ list of home build fears?


The first (and biggest) fear is going over budget.

I hear all kinds of variations of the phrase ‘going over budget’ (blowing the budget; going over budget; not staying on budget; being financially strapped because I went over budget, etc.) but they ALL mean the same thing.


The second biggest fear is making design mistakes and ending up with a home they don’t love.

I hear lots of variations of the phrase ‘not liking my house when it’s done’ (making mistakes; making choices I’ll later regret; feeling disappointed with final house; messing up, etc.), but they all mean the same thing.

Do either of these fears sound familiar?

If so, you’re NOT alone.

Nearly everyone shares the EXACT same fears as you.

I even had these fears when building my own custom home.

It’s hard not to when we hear from soooo many people that it’s *inevitable* that we’ll go over budget when building a house because ‘everybody does’.


The unfortunate reality is that *most* people DO go over budget. 

Many go significantly over budget.

But it’s not inevitable.

I know this because I built my own dream home without blowing the budget … and now I’m here to help YOU do the same. 

I want you to always remember that this is YOUR home-build experience.

And YOU are in control of how YOUR home build experience goes.

You CAN stick close to budget.

Instead of sleepless nights worrying about going over budget or not liking your house when it’s done, how would it feel to have a simple strategy to build a house you absolutely LOVE without breaking the bank? 

Pretty good, right?

I want this for you. 

I want you to be super happy with your new house (and your mortgage) when you move in.

Soooooo …


I’ve created a *FREE* training for YOU … ‘3 Keys to Build Your Dream Home without Blowing Your Budget’.

In this training, I’ll teach you the exact same home build prep strategy that I teach my clients inside my private ‘Before You Build’ Program

This simple 4-step strategy completely transforms my clients’ entire home-building experience.

I’ll also share 3 common mistakes that cause *most* people to go significantly over budget when building.

However, I do NOT want you making these mistakes, so I’m going a little rogue here and I’m doing something I don’t usually do.

I’m going to share these 3 common mistakes RIGHT NOW in this episode.

Believe me, you’ll still want to register for this *FREE* training because you do NOT want to miss learning the exact process of how I built my own dream home without going over budget.

Ok, let’s get into the three common mistakes that lead most people to go over budget when building.


MISTAKE #1: Believing it’s inevitable that you’ll go over budget when building a custom home.

The first mistake is believing it’s inevitable you’ll go over budget when building a custom home.

This seems very simplistic, BUT this belief actually holds a lot of people back. 

If you assume that you’ll go over budget because everyone tells you *they* did, then it’s hard to believe there’s another way … a way that allows you to build within budget (or at least really close to budget).

This is the first mindset shift I want YOU to make. RIGHT. NOW.

As we discussed earlier, the reality is that *most* people do go over budget when building BUT it’s not inevitable. 

My house and my experience are proof of this. 

It IS possible to build your dream home without breaking the bank. 

It just takes some strategic planning before you ever break ground.

MISTAKE #2: Believing you have to sacrifice your must-haves to stay on budget

The second mistake is believing you’ll have to ‘settle’ or sacrifice your must-haves to avoid going over budget.

The good news is that you *do not* have to ‘settle’ to stay within budget.

And you don’t have to sacrifice your must-haves.

You also don’t have to go significantly over budget to build a house you absolutely love.

You just need a strategic plan of where to *splurge* and where to *save* when it comes to making design decisions for your home.

It’s pretty simple, actually.

This is one of the strategies that I walk my clients through inside my ‘Before You Build’ Program.

MISTAKE #3: Not taking the time to thoroughly plan BEFORE you build

The third mistake is not taking the time to adequately and thoroughly plan BEFORE you start building.

The biggest mistake people make when building a home is thinking they can make design decisions along the way and tweak their budget along the way. 

But, guess what ‘these’ people end up with …

  • a mortgage that’s WAY higher than they’re comfortable with
  • Intense stress as the decisions come fast and furiously 
  • minimal excitement during the home build process
  • design regrets (lots o’ them) because there was too little time to make decisions 

This is the last thing I want to happen to you, especially because all of this can be avoided by going in with a plan. 

And you don’t need to spend a ton of time planning for your home build in order to make it a success. 

You just need a proven plan laid out for you with a step-by-step method to follow. A plan that worked for me and is now working for my ‘Before You Build’ clients as well. 

In my *FREE* training, I will teach you the same simple 4-step process that I walk all of my ‘Before You Build’ group coaching clients through BEFORE they ever start making design decisions for their dream home.


The key to building a house you absolutely LOVE (w/o blowing your budget) is to prepare for your home build in a SMART + STRATEGIC way.

If you’re dreaming of building a home and you want a strategic plan to avoid blowing your budget, you will NOT want to miss my *FREE* LIVE training (3 Keys to Build Your Dream Home without Blowing Your Budget) that you can watch on-demand RIGHT NOW! 

Grab your (virtual) seat!

Here’s what we’ll cover in this FREE training:

  • We’ll cover 3 COMMON MISTAKES that get in the way of staying on budget when building
  • I’ll teach you 3 KEYS to build a house you absolutely LOVE and is perfect for YOUR family WITHOUT blowing your budget
  • PLUS, I’ll share the exact step-by-step process that I teach my clients inside my ‘Before You Build’ (BYB) group coaching program. (Psst… this simple 4-step process completely transforms my clients’ entire home-build experience!)

I promise that just by implementing the steps I teach in this training, you will be FAR ahead of *most* people (i.e. the people who go significantly over budget).

Grab a (virtual) seat in my *FREE* training, ‘3 Keys to Build Your Dream Home WITHOUT Blowing Your Budget’, that you can watch on-demand.

  1. Angie Kerr says:

    Great stuff! So helpful!

  2. Robin says:

    The difficult is in the current economy. We’re just starting our build and got an email from our builder that due to increasing cost of lumber, siding , and trusses our price was increased 35,000 on our new build. Any suggestions ?

    • Yes, Robin, the high lumber prices are terrible right now. I believe you watched my live training from earlier this week and I shared my thoughts on the lumber issue. If you haven’t watched the training replay, be sure to watch it before it expires tomorrow (5/21).

  3. Julie Nutter says:

    This comes just in time! I’m in the design phase of a custom home and I’m scared to death every time I have to sign something or make a decision. It’s been a dream of mine for 20 years to build this home, but it’s causing SO much anxiety. Thank you for providing this service.

  4. Lauryn Schenker says:

    I’m not available this Sunday. Is there anyway I could sign up and be able to watch the replay?

  5. Carla Baggett says:

    In the drawing plans now. It’s just super scary right now to sell our home we own to start another one . Don’t want a house payment but bought a lot across the street from our grand baby so really excited but scared at the same time. 🙈

    • Hi Carla! Yes, the process can be a little scary. How amazing that you’ll eventually live across the street for your grandbaby though! Doesn’t get any better than that :).

  6. Dee says:

    Hi Carrie
    We are building our fifth home in the last 11 years. Yes crazy I know, transferred with work. We had David Weekley custom build 3 of our homes, so there was a design center to pick out all of our finishes. This time we’re moving out of state to be closer to family and retire. This time we’re going to build in a rural area where there are no design centers. I’m excited about doing this and have a two page list of things that we’ve learned we want and don’t need. My biggest concern is finding the item I want for the best price.
    Did you have a design center or is that how you used your interior designer??

    • Hi Dee! How great that you have a list of what you want (and don’t want) in your future home! That will be very helpful :). I used a small custom builder who did not have a design center and I didn’t use an interior designer. I designed my home myself and went to all of the various retailers to learn about my options and to make selections. It was very time-consuming!

Leave a Reply

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

I designed my own custom home from the ground up, inside and out. A home that is cozy, comfy, laid out perfectly for the way my family lives, and makes us happy every single day. Oh, and did I mention I did this all without blowing the budget?! 

Yep, it’s true. I’ve been there, done that, and actually lived through it … and you will too. Pinkie promise!

a.k.a. Caroline on Design

I’m Carrie Barker.

hey there,


Get My free  
Home Build Prep Guide

yes! I need this!