U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Economics > Frugal Living
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 11-30-2011, 11:53 AM
 
6,034 posts, read 13,131,633 times
Reputation: 6903

Advertisements

I am from Texas and I remember those awful utility bills! Boy we don't miss Texas at all. The water issues, the heat issues, the bug issues.

We're in Oregon now, and very happy! We are a family of four in a three bedroom (1400 sq ft not including the garage or outside storage areas) and our monthly utility bill (water and electric, we do not have any natural gas appliances) is always under $120/mo regardless of what time of year it is. Last month our bill was $93. because we haven't started using our heaters yet. We also have the energy star high efficiency appliances, too, though so that might also help. We are also careful, too, with our habits: always wash in cold, we do not use the dishwasher and we use cold water to wash our dishes and we air dry them, we turn off lights and use as much natural light as possible, we keep things unplugged unless we are using them to prevent phantom use of electricity which can add up, etc.

My husband and I also started researching full-time RV'ing as an option for retirement, but we decided it was too expensive. Now we are looking into buying property that's outside city limits but not too far away from civilization and putting a small cabin or yurt or some kind of prefab place on it. People are even turning the old containers from cargo ships into nice little homes now.

Shipping Container Homes - Cargo Container Houses - The Daily Green

We are really liking the nice yurts. We have camped in quite a few and they are really warm and efficient and lovely.

Pacific Yurts-Original Modern Yurt Manufacturer

Just from your post, OP, it sounds like you are living large. I would try to sell or rent out the ranch home (preferably sell) and downsize big-time. For just three people you can get by with a lot less sq. ft. We lived in an 800 sq. ft. place for years until last year when we finally moved up into a three bedroom so that our oldest son would have his own room. He's a teen now so we felt it was important for him to have his own space at last. Once he has flwon the nest we plan to downsize again to a two bedroom until youngest son leaves the nest, then we'll downsize even further when it's just the hubby and I. Think about how families lived years ago... our parents and grandparents. They didn't have the big homes. Kids shared rooms - even beds sometimes! My mother grew up sharing her bed with two of her sisters - there were 5 girls in one bedroom. Sounds crazy now but it was the norm back then. We've just become self-entitled and spoiled as people... we think we need a lot more than we actually, really, do. It's really all about priorities.

Last edited by haggardhouseelf; 11-30-2011 at 12:02 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 11-30-2011, 01:32 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,569 posts, read 39,944,045 times
Reputation: 23699
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prairieparson View Post
... my question today is about saving on housing. Has anyone here done what might for some be considered alternative housing,


...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prairieparson View Post
...We have three people here, my wife, handicapped son and myself.
Would like to be able to retire without still needing to work.


I started this thread just to get some ideas from people who might have lived in a Mobile Home in the country or built their own home in the country, away from all the building codes etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by haggardhouseelf View Post
We've just become self-entitled and spoiled as people... we think we need a lot more than we actually, really, do. It's really all about priorities.
Lots of options for the prairie parson...
find a lower cost of living area without building codes (a bit tough, but a few exist, even in TX. Tho MT is the only one I'm very familiar with)

Once there...
Buy a LEGALLY PLACED (permitted) trashed mobile home on a nice acreage, preferably with a shop / barn already built. (septic, well, power, road, are all included in purchase price).
Make a nice apartment in the barn / shop, out of view from assessor (who will have a ball ($$$bill$$$, in my case) with the 'garage house' pictured above)
or
replace Mobile Home with a repo / used one (~$20-$50k).


My (future / retirement) costs for similar (in a pretty spendy National Scenic Area, average home ~ $400k / pretty hard hit home values (they were $650k), 10% unemployment)

Small 2bdrm on 3 acres with orchard, gardens, shop and barn $100k, (distressed sale, but I have found several similar FS in same price range)
monthly: power = $70 (Full electric + wood stove)
water (included in electric / well)

Insurance; $50 ($600/yr)
Property Taxes; $90 ($1050/yr) (in a pretty high taxed area...)

These prices alone will save YOU $5000/yr. (off your provided info)

then
Groceries & entertainment for 2 = $100/month (lots of fresh fruit and produce in our mild climate)
fuel / transportation = FREE fryer grease (Drive a $35 car that gets 50 mpg)

many other options (tho gonna need to downsize / move to low cost area /
give up some independence)
  • Small rural depressed town (I caution against BUYING in this situation (you can NEVER resell)...
  • Shared equity housing
  • Cooperatively owned housing
  • Intentional Community / communal living
  • foriegn living (i.e. build a casita on a farm in MX)
  • Church / youth camp ... live onsite for winter maint job.
  • Caretaker for the rich and famous (My ex-boss & family (spouse and disabled son) has done this in his retirement for 20 yrs). He just 'manages' i.e. sub-contracts the 'hard' work

the opportunities go on... (a couple of missionary friends in Canada share a very nice small farm, one is usually home, both in summer, each have separate living qtrs)

BTW: I buy almost all my building supplies and appliances from Habitat ReStore. I remodeled the house I just bought for under $2000 including updated appliances, windows, electrical & plumbing fixtures...also added outdoor hydrants and concrete (hand mixed) within that price.

Last edited by StealthRabbit; 11-30-2011 at 01:41 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-30-2011, 02:08 PM
 
Location: California
30,701 posts, read 33,467,623 times
Reputation: 26120
Living with family is an alternative that many people do successfully. We aren't trained to think that way in the USA but it's happening anyway. I don't mean the 30 yr old unemployed kid in the basement kind of thing, but multigeneration living where everyone is working together so the family is successful.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-01-2011, 11:45 PM
 
Location: Moku Nui, Hawaii
9,674 posts, read 18,864,072 times
Reputation: 8571
I lived on a boat for several decades. It was quite jolly since the boat was moored at the end of Waikiki beach. Cheap rent, great playground, no yard work. No need for furniture. No need for a lot of "stuff" since it literally wouldn't fit.

Then bought some property off in the boondocks (different island) and lived in a tent for six months while building a small house. No electricity, no pavement, no mail service, did have a landline phone but this was before cellphones and internet anyway. That was quite fun and educational.

There's loads of different ways to live out there.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-04-2011, 09:18 AM
 
Location: On a Farm & by the sea
1,091 posts, read 2,506,320 times
Reputation: 942
Quote:
Originally Posted by hotzcatz View Post
I lived on a boat for several decades. It was quite jolly since the boat was moored at the end of Waikiki beach. Cheap rent, great playground, no yard work. No need for furniture. No need for a lot of "stuff" since it literally wouldn't fit.

Then bought some property off in the boondocks (different island) and lived in a tent for six months while building a small house. No electricity, no pavement, no mail service, did have a landline phone but this was before cellphones and internet anyway. That was quite fun and educational.

There's loads of different ways to live out there.
Great philosophy and plan, hotzcatz. I enjoy reading these frugal threads because it shows that not everyone buys into that reality-tv, keeping up the the Joneses mentality. It's not about the stuff you accumulate or the names you can drop. It is about the EXPERIENCES you create with the people you care about. I was really beginning to wonder if there were any others, like me, out there out of step with mainstream America.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-05-2011, 09:55 AM
 
6,034 posts, read 13,131,633 times
Reputation: 6903
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceece View Post
Living with family is an alternative that many people do successfully. We aren't trained to think that way in the USA but it's happening anyway. I don't mean the 30 yr old unemployed kid in the basement kind of thing, but multigeneration living where everyone is working together so the family is successful.
I married a man who was born overseas. His relatives (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins...) in Thailand live the way you're referring to. It works really well! They now have four generations living under one roof, the family is very close, the meals are wonderful, and everybody has more than they need and they live a good life. Only three of the family members actually work a paying job. The rest either go to university or they are the elders who stay home, garden and care for animals (they grow a lot of their own food), clean the house, take care of the children who are still home, and prepare tea and meals, etc. Everyone has their duty, and everyone takes care of everyone else. It's a really cool thing to experience. It benefits the youngest members of the family in obvious ways, the middle generations have the freedom to work and attend to their education knowing their children are cared for properly, and the elderly people live out their last days with dignity surrounded by their family and enjoying their lives. I do wish America was more "with it" in this way. It's a better way of living, IMO.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-15-2012, 07:47 PM
 
Location: denver
161 posts, read 675,075 times
Reputation: 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by haggardhouseelf View Post
I married a man who was born overseas. His relatives (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins...) in Thailand live the way you're referring to. It works really well! They now have four generations living under one roof, the family is very close, the meals are wonderful, and everybody has more than they need and they live a good life. Only three of the family members actually work a paying job. The rest either go to university or they are the elders who stay home, garden and care for animals (they grow a lot of their own food), clean the house, take care of the children who are still home, and prepare tea and meals, etc. Everyone has their duty, and everyone takes care of everyone else. It's a really cool thing to experience. It benefits the youngest members of the family in obvious ways, the middle generations have the freedom to work and attend to their education knowing their children are cared for properly, and the elderly people live out their last days with dignity surrounded by their family and enjoying their lives. I do wish America was more "with it" in this way. It's a better way of living, IMO.
.....american are more independent than other cultures, sharing is not something most americans can relate too. they want their own cars, baths, houses, parking, bedrooms, garages etc, its ME ME ME culture. i can relate to you 100%, i was born overseas and my familey is like that. we all help, share, and care, for one another. we all share the burdend of lifes expenses.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-15-2012, 09:57 PM
 
43,012 posts, read 92,294,185 times
Reputation: 30387
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prairieparson View Post
I am close to retirement, but my main source of income will be SS, so I will not have a lot of extra money for the fantasy retirement, cruises, winter in Florida, etc. We have three people here, my wife, handicapped son and myself. Would like to be able to retire without still needing to work.
This is an old thread so you might not see my response. Consider retiring to a third world country that has good socialized medicine. You can live comfortably on social security there. With your son's diability payments and your social security, you should be set. Whatever you get for your house when you sell it, buy property outright in the other country. That way you living expenses are minimal.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-17-2012, 06:30 PM
 
Location: Whereever we have our RV parked
8,783 posts, read 7,701,741 times
Reputation: 15057
Hopes;

thanks a lot of all your suggestions. Its nice to know there are at least a few others that don't care about "keeping up with the Jones'". I'm still formulating a plan. What I may do is try to find some acreage here in Texas, have a large garden, and buy some that has an older house on it that doesn't look real impressive from the road. I've done this before. Its amazing how much you can save. You can by a house that is good condition and plenty of room, but doesn't impress from the street much cheaper than a nice new house, with a "Great Look" and similar size and condition.

I've heard on several forums that moving outside the country, at this point in time, isn't all that great an alternative. Why?. Because property bought right, can be as cheap in the USA as in many foreign countries, assuming you want the same amenities. Any other suggestions would be appreciated. I'm still forming a plan.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-18-2012, 08:50 AM
 
304 posts, read 529,919 times
Reputation: 462
I make less than 25K a year and am alone - so OP's thread hit home for me. I think of this often, especially as I get older. I, too, looked into mobile home park living and with the lot rents, it was no cheaper than a decent apartment. I will never afford to own a home, so I will look into senior rental communities in a few years.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Economics > Frugal Living
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top