Well, I don't know about anybody else but we are pretty busy which I think speaks well for the economy (at least here in Colorado Springs). Homeowners are remodeling and fixing up their homes since many of them cannot sell in the current market.
I have noticed that people are being a lot more careful with their investments. Five years ago my clients were spending money like water but now they are thinking much harder about where to best invest their money. Personally I think this is good. It seemed like people were getting a little crazy for a while there, not really weighing the cost/benefit of their decisions.
The significant changes are 1) how much they spend on the overall budget, 2) the value of the work verses the value of the home and potential payback, and 3) whether they can live with simpler styles, finishes, etc.
If you are thinking of remodeling the foundational question to ask yourself is "Will I be glad I made this choice 5 years from now?" I have found that many of the things people "had to have" turned out to be not near as important once they started using them. Make a list of what is truly important to you versus what you'd like to have but could live without. For example, if you only use a second oven twice a year do you really have to have it? Or, is granite so much better than laminate (e.g. Formica) that I am willing to spend 3-4 times as much for it? Or, would a frame and flat panel cabinet door suffice or do I have to have a raised panel? Step back and think about each decision carefully and you may find that you can cut your budget by 10% to 25% and still get an environment that will make you very happy.
Finally, stay grounded. I intentionally go primitive camping every year to keep my perspective on life. It always amazes me just how good food tastes cooked over an open fire under the stars. Using about $30 worth of simple cooking tools I can cook up a meal that rivals anything I can make on a $10,000 Wolf range. Now that doesn't mean I wouldn't like to have a Wolf range but I have better grounds on which to make my decision. Life can be very rich when we keep it simple and stay thankful for what we have.
If you would like help with your budgeting feel free to email me at [email protected]. I'll be glad to help.