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Budget Makeover: What You Get for $15,000

Check out these smart strategies to help you get more for your $15,000 budget. You can even sell your house in a few years and recoup this investment.

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Photo 1 of 4A low-cost way to reinvent your kitchen is freshening the countertops.

$15 or Under: Counters(1 of 4)

Best for: Someone who plans on spending less than three years in their house. While all kitchen upgrades add resale value to your home (experts say you can expect to recoup between 90 and 102 percent of your investment), minor remodeling has the surefire guarantee of a full return.

"Small changes can have a big impact," says Janice Anne Costa, author of Everything and the Kitchen Sink and editor of the trade publication Kitchen and Bath Design News. "We're not talking about a triple glaze on cabinets or baroque cabinet carvings of course, but adding a new countertop or a fresh coat of paint. These can quickly reinvent the most-used room in your house." Here are some of the must-have ways you can get more bang for the buck.

These surfaces get a lot of wear and tear in a kitchen. So freshening up the countertops can instantly reinvent your kitchen. While precious marble or stone will most likely be a budget-buster at this price point, there are economical choices that are also now virtually indestructible, too. CaesarStone, for example, is 93-percent crushed quartz that's combined with polymer resins to create a tough-as-nails, nonporous surface, according to Janice Anne.

Next Photo: $15 or Under: Cabinets

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