In this second installment (a tad long, sorry), I’m going to delve more into the how and the why – who knows, I might get all of that out of the way so we can get to the fun stuff!!
So you probably recall thinking how crazy we are to have jumped on this opportunity so quickly, especially with the first impression it gave us. So I’m going to show you here, WHY we’re not as crazy as one might think.
Homesteading to me is a way to get back to the basics. So our MAIN goal right now, is to become 100% debt free, and save as much as we possibly can so that in a few years, we’re financially able to achieve our dream. In order to do that, we need to lessen our expenses considerably. While we both have full time work – mine being an office job, and hubby being a self-employed contractor – we’re always finding that there’s more month left at the end of the money. Frankly, we’re tired of it. It’s time (way overdue if I’m honest) to get our shit together. If we don’t, the dream will always stay a dream.
And that’s why this house.
The house we were renting was great – an old, 2000 square foot century farm house on 34 acres of land. It was 10 to 15 minutes drive from town in every direction, and hooked up to propane for heat, and a well for water. Lots of pros, and also some cons. The main con being that our rent was $1450 per month, plus utilities. Our only year-round utility was hydro, but in the cold months (and I mean, we do live in Canada so we’re talking October-ish to sometimes May), we also had to fill the propane tank. Big house = lots of propane. We ended up spending about $500 every 3 weeks on average. That ends up being a LOT of money, and no savings.
We thought that by getting back to civilization for a little while, we could at least eliminate the propane cost, as well as some of the back-and-forth commuting which was getting quite tiresome. We weren’t off grid or self-sufficient by any means, so driving to town was a must on a daily basis, usually multiple times.
This house – as pitiful as it was, seemed the answer to our prayers.
A development company bought this house in the Spring, in hopes of tearing it down and building condos or town homes on the lot, and the neighboring vacant lot which they also purchased. Those types of permits can sometimes take a long time (we’re hoping for at least 3 to 5 years). The lot is quite large, I’m thinking about 1/4 acre which is pretty big for town living, so it has a lot of potential for perfecting the craft of homesteading.
It also comes at a monthly price tag of only $900 (that’s a $550 savings right off the top!!). And calculating the monthly utilities, it still comes to less per year than we would have paid on propane alone at the other house. We’re also 3 minutes (literally) from our house to my work, the grocery store, the gas station – and my daughter is taking public transit to school (which the station is DIRECTLY behind our house), so there’s a lot less driving overall. $$$ SAVINGS $$$
We also managed so score FOUR MONTHS rent free!!! Yep, you read that right!!
Because the house was so…..um…..we’ll use the word ‘dated’ to be nice…they agreed to give us a few months free, in exchange for updating it ourselves. The electrical also needed to be updated throughout. You’re probably seeing dollar signs now, but don’t fret!
Because hubby is in the construction industry, he pretty much does all of it himself – and for those things he’s not qualified for, he’s got contacts oozing from his pores! The reason the landlords wouldn’t spring for renovations is simple – they’re tearing it down, so they aren’t going to sing any money in fixing it up. What we were able to do, with Hubby’s handiness and my talent for finding things on the cheap – is fix up this house for about the same amount it would have cost us to live at the other house for a month. Maybe even a little less. In the grand scheme of things, I’d say that’s pretty darn good!
Now, it’s still a bit of a work in progress. We’ve made it livable, if not perfect just yet. But I have to say, it is already unrecognizable from where we started.
And that, my friends, is HOW this place is going to help us achieve our dreams. By saving so much money per month, we’re going to be able to chip away at the debts that hound us, as well as put away for a down payment on our own place, or our own land, a few years down the road! The great part is that everything we’ve brought into this house, materialistically speaking, we’ll be able to bring with us when we leave. (I’m also going to ask the landlords if we can take other materials from the home when we leave, since they’ll be tearing it down…such as windows, pipes, lumber, etc) so that if we find vacant land, we’ll have a really good start on building our own home, for pretty much nothing!
So I’ve been dying to share a little bit of “before and after” with you guys, and ultimately I wanted to wait until a space was 100% completed, but as I’ve mentioned so many times already, I have no patience. So I’m going to share anyway! Here you’ll see the “BEFORE” pictures of what the kitchen used to look like. How anyone could function in such a place is completely beyond me.
And in this next picture, you’ll see an after picture – I actually call it my ALMOST after because it’s not completely finished. What is left to do in this room, is the trim around the window, doors, quarter round along the ceiling, as well as a back splash, and a real table. This bistro set is doing the job for the time being.
So the kicker here, is that we did this entire kitchen for approximately $600, and we get to take all of it with us when we leave. So it’s not a lost investment, it’s something that we’ll be able to use, and add to, when we build our own place. Even without all the finishes, as it stands now, the difference is astounding! What do you think? My favorite parts are the flooring which we got for $80 at the ReStore – I love the rustic driftwood look – as well as the little cubby shelves Hubby built me in dead space, which gives me so much extra storage (which, in a house this size, every big of storage we can find is like gold).
A lot of things we have, or had, we’re having to get rid of. We do have a small amount of storage space in the garage and basement, but it’s not enough space to keep all of the things we own.
This downsizing is time intensive yes, but at the same time will also help us save a little extra money from the sale of these items. The idea now is to have only what we NEED, but at the same time, make sure that those things are quality items that can last for a really really long time.
Anyway folks, that’s it for this post – sorry it’s been a little long. Sometimes when my fingers start going I have a hard time stopping them! Stay tuned for the next installment, and I can’t wait to read all of your comments and suggestions!