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Living Within Your Means + Before Renovations Home Tour

Sunday, October 2, 2016 11:28
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In my last post, I said moving into our new mortgage-free home has been quite an adjustment. The following photos may help explain what I mean.

Our old house (those are not our cars in the drive. They belong to family members):


the new house:


my old kitchen:


my new kitchen:


my old cabinets:


(sigh)….my new cabinets:


I’m sure you get the picture.

The first week in our new home was rough

Something about packing your whole life into boxes is stressful to me. Add to that the chaos of moving, and the sweat of cleaning, we did not have a working bathtub for one week, a stove to cook on for two weeks, no clothes dryer for over a month, and we still have no dishwasher (contrary to popular belief, compared to hand washing, dishwashers save both time and water). I was able to cope without the latter three but not having a bathtub was unbearable.

After two days of plumbing work underneath the trailer Brian finally resorted to taking a sponge-bath outside in the carport. While I did not look down upon him for doing so, I refused.

One day later…

I got into my bathing suit and while the rest of the neighborhood slept, I felt water on my skin again. It was awesome. Needless to say, that first shower in the new tub was close to heaven.


The home came with a nice gas stove but an empty propane tank and to get someone out to fill it took longer than expected. To combat this problem, we cooked breakfast on an electric griddle and made dinner in the crock pot. It really wasn’t too big of an issue but when I finally cooked a meal on the stove, I took a picture.


The process of washing my laundry also changed

Our new house did not come with an outlet for a dryer so I quickly found myself surrounded by the ultimate symbol of “simple living” – the clothesline.


Don’t get me wrong- I find hanging clothes on a line to be nostalgic, sweet, and even peaceful. It just takes too damn long. I also fought against daily afternoon thunderstorms that are characteristic to Florida summers. By 3 pm I was sprinting outside snatching shirts off the line while puffy clouds rolled over me.

It cost $180 to get an electrician to come out and install an outlet. I celebrated by taking a picture and doing 5 loads of laundry. They were the quickest 5 loads of laundry I have ever done.


This experience left us questioning our status in society

Those first couple of weeks in our new place was dirty and exhausting and a few times Brian asked me if we were poor. I reminded him what he often says to me; it’s all relative.

To street children in Argentina we are kings; to people like Kim Kardashian we’re paupers. One day soon I’ll tell you why we moved into this shack in such a rush but amazingly, I’m pretty content here. Would I love a big house with a wrap around porch on 10 acres? Of course. But personally, we can not afford that without borrowing money and we’re not comfortable doing that anymore.

For the first time we know what it’s like to live within our means.

The Wannabe Homesteader- Self Sufficient Living for the Average Joe
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  • jknbt

    the biggest expense for an average family is the rent on somebody’ else’s money…if you keep close records on a multicolumn spreadsheet through 40 years from age 25 to age 65, the biggest expense will be interest.

    A young family starting out that has a strict “pay cash or do without” policy will end up with a FAT nest egg to retire on at age 65…

    The difference between family A that is always in debt and always buys a bigger nicer house than they need contrasted to family B that always has money in the bank, saves, invests, stays out of debt, never borrows, and prudently purchases only the minimum of what they need and pays cash is amazing. This is especially true if Fam. B invests the surplus money in the bank and can get a consistent 6% to 8% return. Eventually Fam. B can write checks to buy new cars or even houses.

    The net difference is that Fam. A will show a net expense of several million dollars over 40 years, while Fam. B will have at least 2 million in assets in the bank to start out retirement.

    Debt is slavery, Get yourself free, even if you have to drive a 10 y.o. car and live in a trailer house!

    This is how the wealthiest families started out. They got out of debt, saved, invested, and owned. It takes about 3 or 4 generation of this to go from poor immigrants to wealthy families that own their own corporations and send their kids to the best universities. They are rich enough to pay cash for their kids to go to Harvard, Yale, or Princeton.

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