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Long Term Sustainability

January 22, 2009

house2, originally uploaded by msb_1971.

 

Could you live here? I don’t think that I could, its just too small.

J. and I talked a lot this past weekend about long term goals. We’ve talked off and on since we got married about buying land and building a homestead but it felt very far away, perhaps a retirement goal. We’ve come to realize that while our jobs pay us well they make us miserable and its not worth it. I would rather live with less happily than have all the worldly possessions and be miserable. J. has been in flux for over a year now and it doesn’t sit well with him, after being out of work for almost a year he finally took a job for the sake of having a job. It’s an okay temporay solutions since I got a new job with less pay after leaving the military. With both of us working we can afford to carry part of the mortgage on our house in NC and not live in the slums of Philly. I count my blessings routinely that the house is rented out at all but still… We can also afford to save and that’s what we are doing. We are saving every last penny we can. Our house is near frigid, our clothes are old or used, our meals are made at home and we have foster kittens and Netflix for entertainment. Everything else is going into the bank with the eventual goal of purchasing land and building our version of a green dream home.

J. is in the processing of applying for a couple different jobs that he would like and would enable him to be home more. Hopefully his job situation will be sorted out within the next six months. Once that’s set we will look at moving into some place smaller (another rental) until we can sell our house in NC. It’s rented out through 2010 and we are hoping (please hope with us) that the renters will become buyers like they have alludeded to.

Once both those things are accomplished I’m going to look at new employment. I don’t like my job and I knew I wouldn’t love it when I started it but we had bills to pay and its not all that bad. I’m just not cut out for traveling 8-10 days a month and to be completely honest I don’t work well at home. I mean I like working at home because what’s not to like about watching the Today Show while sipping my french press coffee in my PJs checking email but I’m not motivated enough to be successful at it. I get bored, I need human interaction and by this I mean chatting around the water cooler. I know many bloggers and blog readers are not George W. Bush fans but his parting gift to Soldiers was to extend the GI Bill so more of us qualified. I have about two years of educational benefits come Aug 2009 that would not have existed otherwise. So its very tempting to go back to school, perhaps get my MBA with a concentration in Human Resource Management. I already have a lot of HR experience but lacking any educational qualifications I was unable to get a job in that field. But is that what I really want to do either? I don’t know… Right now I’m not going to stress it. For better or worse I have a job and getting a new one is pretty low on the priority list.

Lower still than that is getting land. Ideally we will have a handle on both our careers and our final location in 1-3 years. During that time we are going to read up on small home building and green home building and save lots of money. When we move for J.’s new job we are aiming to spend at least $500 a month less on rent. This will probably mean living in a one bedroom apartment but we’ll see. What matters is that the more we can save the sooner we will be able to afford our own home.

In 3-5 years we want to have purchased land and be done with the design phase and into the building phase of our home. I expect the permitting to movingin to take at least a year. We are looking at semi-prefab options that would speed the process up but we also want to do much of the work ourselves which will slow everything down. I’ve toyed with the idea of trying for LEED certification but I’m not sure I want to be tied into that. I would rather make my own conscious choices based on what I can find used and the greenest options we can afford. While we don’t plan on building our own house we do plan on building the garage, barn, etc. I’ll give us the rest of our lives to get all that “completed.”

In the midst of all that we are going to continue honing our skills. Gardening will continue in containers until we have land and cleaning supplies are just as easily made in apartment kitchens as farm kitchens. We’ve even looked into classes on homebuilding and wood working. By the time we have land we should be able to focus on the new to us experience of owning livestock and running a farm.

Along the way there will be bumps, wrong turns, speed bumps etc but we’ll get through it.

What are some of your long term goals?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 22, 2009 9:43 am

    Our long term goals are similar. We want to have a farmette, with some land to grow most of our own food and have a few animals. Currently we are scraping every penny we can find to pay off our mortgage (will hopefully be gone in 2-3 years for a total of 8-9 years, not bad). After that we’ll start looking for a piece of land to buy and hopefully pay cash for. Then we’ll probably sit on it for a few years while we save to pay for a home to be built (maybe doing some of the work ourselves), during that time we’ll probably plant an orchard so it’s mature by the time we move to the property.

    To prepare we are focusing on edible gardening at the moment and we are going to get a bee hive this spring. Next year we may get a few duck, but that’s probably about all we can do on our small lot.

    I would suggest taking night classes at your local adult education center to learn house buildling skills. Mr Chiot’s has taken plumbing & electrical classes and can now do any of our plumbing and electrical updating and could do the work in our new home. They’re fairly inexpensive and great skills to have! (he was the mastermind behind our rain barrel system after the plumging class).

  2. January 23, 2009 1:10 am

    My long term plans involve a simple life in the Portuguese countryside, possibly a small B&B. We’re doing all we can to save money, learn skills and save more money, to enable this dream.

  3. knutty knitter permalink
    January 24, 2009 4:49 am

    Finish the house, watch the kids grow up and leave for their own lives, retire (ha ha) and be happy.

    Thats about it really.

    viv in nz

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