Choosing this self-sufficient lifestyle has its rewards and a lot of them I might add, but it doesn’t come without a hefty dose of frustrations too. I want to make sure anyone who considers this lifestyle does so with their eyes wide open.
When we returned from living as missionaries in Guatemala, we had very little money to our names. Before going on mission, we sold every replaceable item we owned. We had cashed out our retirement accounts and when we returned the USA, all the money we had in the world was less than would buy a month’s worth of groceries. We had to work and save in order to buy our land and begin this lifestyle.
I believe that many people chose the self-sufficient lifestyle with some hope of a simpler life or starting over, etc. My suggestion has been driven home in several of my articles, but I will say it here again, get your finances in order and develop the habit of being frugal before you begin this lifestyle.
Another issue of this lifestyle is your own abilities and the type of things you need to find help doing. For me, with my bad back, I needed to find someone to work alongside me as I build the new house. If you have all the money you need, you might be able to simply buy an existing house or hire a contractor. For me, I chose to build it myself on a piece of raw land.
Frugality is my number one concern in all that I do. While I make good money now, I can’t bring myself to hire a contractor when I am able to do the work myself. I have a roof over my head and I’m willing to forgo the instant gratification of a larger home if it means I can save the cash to spend on other things we need or want.
We currently live in a 12×32 cabin that my son and I built a little over two years ago. I built this cabin with the hopes of starting to build our main house in 2015. But, due mostly to not being able to find good workers to work alongside me, we have been delayed. 2016 is the year for the new house now. We have decided to hire an established company to build the house frame and do the outside ‘dry-in’. I will do all the inside work myself.
The old saying, “Good help is hard to find” has never been more true than it is out here in the sticks. We have had every type of worker you can imagine. Let me tell you just a few of the stories of our experiences out here…
The Convict: This man was recommended to us by our church secretary. Turns out, he was a two time felon. We didn’t know this at the time. He stole from us. We weren’t able to prove it was him but I could read his bull-hockey excuse like a book. FIRED and we had to have the local sheriff’s office escort him off our property. He will never be back!
The Holy Roller: This guy saw that Ranae and I were former missionaries and thought he would put on a good act trying to pretend to be a “Christian”. We hired him. He didn’t like working outdoors and quit us right in the middle of a project. He will never be back!
The No-Show: I had rented a piece of equipment at the cost of $285 per day. I told the man we were going to dig some trenches and some holes for fence posts. He decided that was just too much for $12 per hour that he agreed to and decided to simply not show up. This clown didn’t even have the decency to call me so I wouldn’t waste a 160 mile round trip to rent a piece of equipment that I couldn’t use alone. Needless to say… FIRED THAT DAY! He will never be back.
The Painter: I hired this person to do some painting in a small 12×16 bedroom I had added onto the cabin. On his first day he was a no show and no call until hours after the agreed upon time. We rescheduled for 8am the next day. He missed that time as well. The soap-opera that was this guy’s life story was just too much for me. Next.
I could tell you countless other stories like these that have all taken place in just the last two and a half years since we have been out here. My point? I just want you to be aware, if you expect to hire workers to help you in this lifestyle, be prepared. Good help… isn’t just hard to find out here… it’s next to impossible to find out here!
Until next week…
Vern Six is a freelance computer programmer and entrepreneur. He is a United States Army certified survival expert and former Christian missionary. Vern has been a hobby blogger for nearly five years and now has his “According to Vern” blog published in numerous newspapers around the world. You can learn more about Vern by visiting his website at http://AccordingToVern.com