I thought a long time on what I wanted to write about how we got to this stage in our life. I could share the grim details, I could get political (which I probably will at some point), but for right now to spare my family and I from the repercussions of sharing that story, I will keep to the basics.
Six months ago, a year ago, over a year ago in fact we had these grand dreams of what we wanted our life to look like. I think we all do. If you don’t have dreams and goals then all you have is monotony. We dreamed of living a self sufficient lifestyle as homesteaders on our own piece of property. We wanted to buy a piece of land, build a home on it for as little as we could, and live without having to be tied into the cycle of living just to pay bills. Now here we are that time later and we are basically in the same position we were back then. My husband (C) works full time in a field he has been in for 12 years and i work part time while taking care of our 2 kids (sometimes 3). Together we make enough to pay all of our bills and have just enough left over to sometimes not have the bank charge us some sort of overdraft fee. Although a lot of prayer is involved in that one.
I realize we have a much different view on the world than a lot of people, we have become connected to a great group of friends and bloggers who share our ideas on life. We make most of our own food, we live very frugally, and we do a lot of trade. Truthfully I’m not sure how people who don’t think like us can survive on the little that we bring in every month, and we bring in more than a lot of other people. I can completely understand how people can live off the system. We have chosen not to because we have the resources where we don’t have to.
We currently rent a small historic home with a large backyard for under $800 a month. We grow about a quarter of an acre garden every year that supplies us with several months of food, and we do a lot of trading with other homesteaders for food that they grow. We are currently building a chicken coup for a friend in exchange for eggs (which means we have about 7 dozen eggs in our refrigerator right now). We have traded throughout the year for meat, vegetables, car parts, etc.
We woke up one day after I took about 4 months off of work to take care of my son who had just had surgery and my husband had missed work for 3 weeks with what we think was viral pneumonia (we took him to the hospital but since he doesn’t have insurance they just told us it was a virus and sent us home) and realized something had to change or we would never get out of the position we are currently in. We would be working to pay bills every day, praying that we had enough money to pay this bill and get gas without an overdraft charge, or have enough money to get food. That stress can drive you crazy and it is no way to live. So we sat down and worked out a plan, a good plan, on how we can save the money that we need by the end of April to buy a 5 acre piece of land and start building our dream home. The plan consisted of real numbers based on what our current situation would allow us. C has been working on getting a new job for several months but the job market is scarce and nobody is hiring for what he is currently being paid. I make more working part time from home than I could if I went back to working in my field where I have a degree. The cost of putting 2 kids in daycare and the gas would be almost as much as i would bring home based on the current starting pay of someone with my experience (which is $3 less per hour than when I left). The minimal changes that we are making should allow us to put an extra $500 away every month, which is about $2000 short of our $5000 goal. However, we hope that once we get going the amount I bring in from my business will grow as the excitement of reaching the goal grows. We both have changes and sacrifices to make, but the end goal is totally worth it.
So here it is: Our goal is to be able to break ground on our new 5 acre property by May of 2015. In order to do this we need a $5000 down payment on a $25000 property. Once we get approval for our house plans we are building a self sustaining off the grid earthship with a built in greenhouse for year round fresh vegetables and tropical plants as well as an above ground acre garden we will use for canning and preserving, as well as beehives for honey, and a cow and pig each year for meat, and of course chickens. Now once we start building we are hoping to be able to build our 1500 square foot earthship for $50,000, which would bring the entire project to a grand total of $75,000, which isnt bad for that size home, especially since we will no longer have gas, water, or electric bills. We want to not only live a life of self sustainability using very little startup but we also want to teach others how they can do the same thing. We plan on teaching sustainability not only during the building process but also once the house is built. The system is broken and we cannot wait for it to fix itself, we must find our own solution
Month 1 Day 17: saved towards goal: $0