The Biggest Expense Monthly: Shelter

When changing your lifestyle as completely as I hope to be doing, there is a ton to take in.  Everything around you is being overhauled and it can be hugely overwhelming.  I have spent a lot of time trying to decide what to do next.  So here is the new plan.  Whatever is the most expensive item on the list is what we start changing first.  I go by expense because the ultimate goal in my life right now is to be able to work outside the home VERY minimally as soon as possible.  The two ways to be able to live without that money flow of being at work everyday are: to produce goods from home or to decrease spending (or a combo of the two).  I work a little on each as I go, but the main plan right now is to decrease my spending.

The first category of many is our monthly bills.  Our monthly bills include rent, car insurance, phones, credit cards, electric, oil, gas, groceries, and internet.  I’d be willing to bet that we all have the same most expensive item.  The rent/mortgage/shelter bill.  Our rent right now is $1000 a month.  $12, 000 per year.  So what do you do to change that?  Go live in a crappy cheap apartment?  Live in your sister’s basement?  Nah.  Build your gorgeous home on a beautiful lot using methods designed to give you the ability to pay next to nothing for that house.  No problem!

First, we paid cash for our land.  We have been saving all we could for the past three years.  Not going out to eat or spending much of anything on entertainment.  Putting money into the bank account without ever getting to see it.  Not spending most of the tax return.  We also took out a small loan against my car and got the rest from the family.  We also bought inexpensive land.  While it was close to 8 acres, it is pretty hilly and out in the woods.  Not many people want this so it’s nice and cheap.  Either way, our debt on this lot is low enough that I anticipate it being at 0 after our tax return comes.

While we were looking for a homestead location

housewe were looking into cheap and easy building methods that would be safe and sturdy and last for a few generations at least.  As I had mentioned before, we have decided to build an underground house out of materials mostly found on our own lot or reused materials.  We also plan on doing as close to everything as possible by ourselves.  Low to no labor costs.  If we can manage to pay as we go, that will cut out $12000 a month.  That is about 30% of my take home pay.  That is about 12 hours of a 40 hour week.  That means to me that I could cut my hours back a day and a half per week.  Fantastic!

This will also mean that it will take us ten times longer to build than if we hired someone to do it for us with all new materials.  People seem to think that it is crazy, but I’d rather build the house myself than to do something for someone else and then turn the money around to have someone do something for me.  That is not ok for everyone though.  Many people don’t have the time, resources, patience, skills or much else required for building.  Neither do we, but this is what is important to us.

This puts us in a pretty good place so far.  Once we move out to the lot we will be saving $1000 a month or $12,000 a year.  I will be continuing to work that extra day and a half that I will no longer need for paying rent and put it towards start-up supplies.  Our total debt including what we owed before buying the land is $9000.  Our total cost for the homestead so far is less than $18,000.  Numbers that I can live with, but that can get much better.





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