This series of my articles has been about deciding if this self-sufficient lifestyle is right for you or not. In my “Back to the Basics” article on January 3rd, I mentioned the six things Ranae and I put at the top of our list when deciding to make the leap to be 100% in this lifestyle. Those six items are: water, shelter, food, energy, finances and community. Keep in mind, we filter every decision through the frugality filter.
Last week I talked a bit about how we were able to get internet out here in the sticks and how that provides for my ability to make a living. So, once we had all the big hurdles met, what about a roof over our heads?
We spent the better part of four months looking for the perfect piece of land with a house on it. We put over 5,100 miles on our vehicle driving all over Texas looking at land and homes. We just couldn’t find what we wanted. At least not a price we were willing to pay (frugality always wins). So we opted for a piece of raw land. It has access to co-op water. It had an old septic tank already on it. It is located in a great community. Internet was available (with a little work) and the garden area was available with a little work as well. That’s five points covered out of our six. But it didn’t have a house. So what were our options?
We could hire someone to build a house, but that would be expensive and it would require a large lump sum of money all at once. It would require us to stay in the city until it was completed which would incur rent, utilities, etc, not to mention… it would mean I would have to stay in the concrete hell known as a city even longer.
We could buy another RV or 5th wheel trailer and live in it until the house was complete, but we both balked at that idea in the blink of an eye. We had spent a couple years traveling and volunteering in our 5th wheel. I know this works for some people and there is nothing wrong with it, but we were just done with that.
We could buy a mobile home to move onto the property and sell it after we had the house built. This was definitively worth considering, but in the end we decided we would take a loss and went with something close, but different.
We knew we could live tiny so the decision was between… a) do we build a small house/cabin to live in until the main house was done or b) do buy some prefabricated storage type building and finish it out on the inside?
We weighed all the decisions and in the end, we went with the storage building option since it was the size of a small mobile home. My son, Marc, came to help me finish out the inside and time was crucial so the storage building method served us better than taking the time to frame up the outside, put on a roof, etc.
If you’re ultra tight on cash, the companies that sell these types of buildings also offer rent-to-own options for their buildings. I wouldn’t recommend it as you will pay an astronomical amount of interest, but it is available if you need to go that route. This method fails to pass the frugality test for sure.
As an added bonus, our little cabin will be a nice guest cabin once we have the main house finished.
When you find your piece of land, develop your long range plan and goal. Think frugal and do everything within your power to get to that goal. You’ll be amazed at how much money you can save by being onsite during the build process of your dream house on your dream piece of land. It’s tight quarters at only 12 feet by 32 feet, but we are so glad we went this route. Your route may be a mobile home or an RV, that’s all fine too. Just keep your eye on the goal and be frugal until you get there.
For those of you who are reading this on the website (not in the newspaper), here is a link to a story I wrote about my son Marc coming to help with the cabin. I think you will enjoy it.
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