Trimming the fat so you can afford your life.


We have begun our house hunting journey and it’s a real shock when you find out just how much the houses are going for, what property taxes are all about and how many costs are involved.  How anyone buys a house and affords it is amazing. I’m just about to get a trailer and park it somewhere by the river and call it a day.

We had a lender and realtor that I just fired.  I don’t know if they were on drugs or pulling some con.  They were from reputable companies but the lender was unreachable and took 2 weeks to get anything on paper.  He also gave me a song of treasures to be had and said we qualified for $250K.

After I felt they lost me a house that I adored, I called the very realtor that had been selling that very house and she told me just how the two clowns had sent poor paperwork and unsigned documents, along with being late to lunch.  I fired them and started dating this realtor and her lender and it is a good thing I did because it turns out that when the paperwork and loans were processed in this reality and not in make believe land, we only qualify for 150K now to 200K at the end of spring.  Yes, folks, $150K in today’s market.  Did I mention I live in California?

I was a bit shocked by the news and to see what a mortgage and taxes really looked like on paper.  Then I recovered.  I brewed up some coffee, because that is the one affordable luxury I do have left, and I sat down to scout out cheap fixer uppers.

Now, this is all so funny, or rather ironic, that this should happen to me at this time.  Why? Because I write books on being super frugal and cheap and the biggest target I focus on is affordable housing.  I am one of those crazy Americans that don’t agree that your rent or mortgage should cost half your paycheck.  I say move to the lower regions of the Urban areas or move out to country shacks. I have done one and will now be doing the other.  I will be practicing what I preach fully.

My husband, on the other hand, has a champagne taste on a beer budget.  I tell him what our housing budget is and he starts looking at houses around 100K above what I allotted.  When I told him what the reality was today he went into man shock and couldn’t even wrap his big head around it.  I had to recover my mood quickly so this ship wouldn’t go down.

It’s fine because I believe in destiny and that coincidence is not a real thing.  I truly believe that it all happens as it should thus to lead you to exactly where you need to be in the end.  If we had lots of disposable income at this time we would stay in this town and I really, really don’t want to live here anymore.  It’s too crowded and starting to get weird.  I would rather find a small, dusty town in the middle of corn fields and cows and fix up some old house with a little paint and plaster.  I’m up for it.

Turns out that there is a tiny town outside Yuba City with a cute, tiny old western village and quiet neighborhoods.  I found a few houses for under $200K that haven’t been pounced on just yet.  The property is still cheap out there because it’s in the middle of nowhere.

To prepare for this hardcore transition I have trimmed even more from our budget.  I put the cable on hold even though it is at it’s most stripped down package.  The kids have it great with the cartoons and Nick Jr, Disney Jr., and PBS.  I get infomercials and DIY channels.  I don’t even get cooking shows except for a cupcake wars thing that I can’t watch because I’m doing low carb and watching the making of baked goods with frosting just might put me over the edge.  So, I plugged the antennae back in and happily returned to my westerns and old sitcoms.

I’ve been stretching the groceries with frozen veggies, potatoes and rice (not for me of course) and adding water to the dish soap.

Tax refunds will soon arrive and I will pay off my bank credit card that they slowly tricked me into from secured card to normal card with a finance rate.  I will get rid of it as one really doesn’t need and shouldn’t have credit cards.  If you need to build credit get a secured card.  I will also be paying off the last of our Tread Climber and beloved member of the family.  I love that thing.  We will have not a cent of debt then.

I wish I had saved better this year.  We really downsized the last year and a half and saved around $600 a month in rent, utilities, and gas for the car monthly.  However, I didn’t seem to save a dime.  I did some traveling and thrift store shopping here and there.  I got really loose with the groceries.  It adds up fast.

If you don’t create a budget and know exactly where every penny is going…it disappears.

Dave Ramsey is someone I mention in my books.  I like his advice and he helps millions get out of debt.  He has been popping up everywhere for me lately.  He was visiting the church I go to occasionally.  I guess he was putting on a seminar.  And then a new follower on my site has this great blog that I spent some time on and there was Dave Ramsey talking about assigning your money jobs and making monthly budgets. That is a message for me and I’m listening Universe.

My book Dirt Poor and Lovin’ It! is free right now.  People seem to love it. I had to reread it yesterday myself to get reinspired.  It’s a game really.  Being frugal and living with a little budget.  You have to make it fun or you will loose your mind.

So, onward into the vast unknown of buying a house in today’s market with some loose pocket change.  I’ll write a book about it when I’ve met the challenge…and I will meet this challenge because I’m the Queen of Penny Pinching!

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