I can finally share our big secret! I’ve been holding on to this for weeks and just dying to talk about it, but my husband asked that I keep silent until all is signed and turned over to us with keys in hand. I agreed since we have been on this road so long and it was becoming an old story fast.
3 years of manifesting, 9 months of laborious searching and work, 2 states, 6 houses, and 7 fails (we tangled with one house twice). I read somewhere it can take 10 weeks to find that house. We definitely exceeded that timeline. In the end, it was worth it.
I will spare you all the gory details. Let us just get to the end of the story and then I want to talk about how we did all this with our small income. After all, today we own two properties in Northern California and both purchased during a crazy, outrageously expensive housing market. Our income was $42K last year. How is this possible?
We now are the proud owners of a 119-year-old house. Or perhaps it is the proud owner of a small family? Either way, I am already in love. I have decided it is a man and his name would be something very victorian and grounded like Arthur. He stands proud and looks over the wild boys running around the yard and his new crazy lady standing in the front yard planning a rose garden and he is pleased. He knew from the moment we stepped in the house to explore that we would fill it with joyful, loud, fun life.
And Arthur is right. We will love his oldness. His age will be treasured, not looked down on as something to be fixed. It will be celebrated. His yard will be filled with fruit trees, berry bushes, and a huge kitchen garden. Children will climb the trees, run and shout with glee. The husband will be busy hammering this, repairing that, running the rototiller on Saturdays. The mother will be baking bread with the windows open to fill the home with that fresh mountain air and writing her next novel at the kitchen table. Dogs will be chasing squirrels along the fences.
Arthur will never be bored or lonely again.
Arthur is in great shape. His previous owner had him for 40 years and was of the old school when people took care of their homes and belongings. We will be able to just move in. The colors are a bit blah but over time we will add new, warm, bright colors.
We were going to tear out the carpet and put in wood floors. Sadly the old wood floors are no longer there, just carpet. I had chosen all sorts of paint colors for all the rooms. Our HomeDepot cart was filling up and the tab was growing. Then Bali decided he must have a tall wooden fence for the other side of the house. Once we priced that out we had maxed out the HomeDepot credit card (that has a nice $6 credit right now). I felt a bit nervous about this. Oh, and he had found a handyman. That took up the tax refund. I saw the savings disappearing in a blink of an eye.
I begged to put a halt to it all. I emptied the cart and returned our tab to 0. The house is fine and newly carpeted and painted. It needs nothing. So it isn’t our choice in flooring or colors, who cares. We can decorate and paint over time.
And that is how you get rich on a small income.
Over the last year, we worked hard, sacrificed often, and learned to not shop and spoke sentences such as, “we don’t need that” or “we can cook when we get home” or a simple “no”.
I found reusable straws, cloth menstrual pads. My channels subscribers sent me useful gifts of dishcloths and towels, cloth napkins. I cooked like crazy from scratch, order tons of bulk, we ate from the garden and still are eating from the winter crop of greens. I even learned how to make my own soy milk and gluten steaks when we are feeling vegetarian. Vegetarian saves a lot of money, by the way.
We drive old but reliable cars, fixed up our first cheap house by hand, and homeschool. We eat a lot of beans and potatoes. We skip beer and wine for water and coffee. I do weird stuff like watering down shampoo and rewashing zip loc bags. People may roll their eyes, but I’ve learned from years of working the calculator that it works. Every penny counts.
Our house is decorated and furnished with hand me downs and thrift items. All our books, clothes, linens, kitchen tools, paintings, lamps, rugs, and toys are from thrift stores or given to us by friends and family. I happily take gently used items off people’s hands and out of the landfill.
We watch good movies for free on Vudu and read popular novels free from the library. We grow free, fresh, organic fruit and vegetables and eat abundantly in the summer. I gave away homemade spaghetti sauce for Christmas and bake gifts for others.
We don’t tithe but we do have a fund for donations to charities we care about. When I declutter I give things away to others who are just as happy to have a new-to-them item or I give things to the thrift.
We teach our children the value of money through chores, allowances, saving for toys and paying off little loans.
It’s all those frugal and thrifty basics most of us know very well. But it truly adds up and makes life easier and if you learn to save and save like a champ…it builds wealth.
We now live in a very charming area that is very expensive. We are also now landlords. The trick to that is buying a home that is ugly and no one wants…or very old and intimidates others. You then work diligently to repair, fix up, paint, scrub, rebuild, and love on until it becomes a charming home everyone wants. You can’t be afraid of old electrical wiring or a little dry rot. You have to learn ways of keeping an old house without insulation warm in the winter and cool in the summer. You must have the “vision” and see the diamond hidden within.
So, off I go to brew more coffee and turn up my music because I have a lot of packing to do.
To celebrate I’m giving away my latest book A Sweet Life in Homemaking on Amazon. The ebook is free starting today and there is a paperback now but that one is not free.