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Old 09-27-2008, 07:53 PM
 
3 posts, read 15,916 times
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Once I get out of college I'd like to find a place to move to where I can become independent quickly. I want to live in a house that I can live a simple, one-person life in, and pay it off quickly so that if disaster were to strike (unemployment, bad luck, whatever), I'm not stuck with yet another bill. A lot of places I look talk about $100k, $150k houses with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms in a suburb... I don't want all that. If I have a place to sleep, running water, electricity, and a decently low crime rate, I'm happy. Being allowed to install solar panels/wind power is definitely a plus. So is being able to see constellations without light pollution.

I've even thought about buying a small plot of land and building a house like that to my specifications, similar to a Katrina cottage: Katrina Cottages

Awesome public schools and suburbs don't interest me. In fact, I'm okay in relative isolation as long as I can live it independently.

So basically, where in the US can I live a simple life at a simple price?
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Old 09-27-2008, 08:32 PM
 
4,465 posts, read 7,015,336 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WDotica View Post
Once I get out of college I'd like to find a place to move to where I can become independent quickly. I want to live in a house that I can live a simple, one-person life in, and pay it off quickly so that if disaster were to strike (unemployment, bad luck, whatever), I'm not stuck with yet another bill. A lot of places I look talk about $100k, $150k houses with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms in a suburb... I don't want all that. If I have a place to sleep, running water, electricity, and a decently low crime rate, I'm happy. Being allowed to install solar panels/wind power is definitely a plus. So is being able to see constellations without light pollution.

I've even thought about buying a small plot of land and building a house like that to my specifications, similar to a Katrina cottage: Katrina Cottages.

Awesome public schools and suburbs don't interest me. In fact, I'm okay in relative isolation as long as I can live it independently.

So basically, where in the US can I live a simple life at a simple price?
.

All sucessful indxependent livers are nomads, as the game supply around a sedentary shack becomes exhausted rather fast.
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Old 09-27-2008, 09:15 PM
 
3 posts, read 15,916 times
Reputation: 13
Thanks for the reply, and sorry if I wasn't clear. I'm not planning on living completely off the land (am interested in growing a few vegetables though), the main goal is to be able to spend most of my time as an independent comic book artist. Since there's no guarantee of success or a steady paycheck in that profession though, I need somewhere to live that I can buy reasonably quickly with a "real" job and maintain without becoming a slave to it (the job).

Once I go "full time" with the comic book career my monthly expenses will be kept as minimal as possible so that in the absolute worst case, I'd only need an additional part time job to cover medicine, food/water, and electricity if a full solar/wind setup isn't feasible. Not a complete rundown of my expenses, but the point is to cut out frivolities anywhere I can. I'm hoping that monthly house/rent payments are something I can get out of the way without years and years of toiling in a different career. Again, I'm not expecting too much from the house, just a place I can sleep, bathe, and work. What places in the US is this kind of lifestyle most feasible? (Short list: Low cost of living, really cheap housing, reasonably low crime, rural if possible but in general simply permissive of things like putting solar panels/wind power in my space)
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Old 09-27-2008, 09:26 PM
 
Location: Jersey City, NJ
638 posts, read 1,956,133 times
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Can you handle the desert? Arizona, Nevada, Utah? There are plenty of cheap dusty, desert towns, where the land is cheap and allows for solar / wind power options if you are inclined. Check out Cal-Nev-Ari. Might just want to buy a trailer out there and retrofit it for solar power.

Cal-Nev-Ari, Nevada - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 09-27-2008, 10:40 PM
 
Location: Richmond, VA
38 posts, read 141,958 times
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Richmond is really cheap... though it's kind of weird... you want a house? too bad, kind of expensive, especially in this economy. However renting is VERY cheap here
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Old 09-27-2008, 10:42 PM
 
Location: Richmond, VA
38 posts, read 141,958 times
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In fact most of the southeast is really cheap.
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Old 09-27-2008, 11:15 PM
 
2,253 posts, read 6,035,979 times
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Wink With a little creativity

You pose an interesting question. Since you are aiming to be self employed distance to a 'real' job would only be a secondary consideration, something hopefully soon dispensed with. If your cost of living is low enough and yourself flexible the 'real' job might be a concoction of things and not necessarily in any city.

Possibly the biggest factor in a low cost of living would be the cost of real estate. You can build a modest dwelling yourself fairly cheaply. The Katrina Cottage you referenced appears more suited for a sub tropical climate, but of course could be insulated. Quite well if you want to cut down on fuel costs in a cooler climate. In addition to ease of using solar consider state taxes as well, as this could be an unlooked for and possibly significant expense.

I'd be curious what others come up with as there might be sub tropical options within the US or its territories. Maybe even as an expat. You could certainly lower your expenses then, but unless entirely self employed securing legal work and residency problematic.

Two ideas within the US would be Nevada and New Mexico, for slightly different reasons, and other areas surely suitable as well. But both these because either would surely offer inexpensive real estate in their remoter regions. Nevada not as much, with a good portion of it owned by the government, but positive in having no state income tax. Not sure about property tax. Also, unless relatively near one of the few towns you'll have a longer commute than many places within New Mexico.

In some respects New Mexico would be ideal. It is more lenient than many states with building codes, official or otherwise. For one, they will readily allow grey water sewage systems while neighboring Colorado will not. Many of the dwellings near Taos, NM are 'Earthships,' often owner built. You can easily acquire detailed plans for this type of dwelling, which can be fairly inexpensive to build, comfortable (particularly in a desert climate), and quite energy efficient. Taos also likes to think of itself as the solar capitol of the world, and in some respects this true. A good place to learn about such things, as it is widely employed in residences, although you will discover the initial cost of equipment is still somewhat expensive (although this hopefully soon changing).

Taos and the surrounding area generally has fairly expensive real estate. Also as high desert cool nights, cold and snow come winter. But lots of sun. In this alone you might be better advised to look to southern New Mexico, with less expensive real estate and significantly warmer temperatures. However if you end up somewhere such as Deming, NM, or anywhere else in the West for that matter, carefully consider your likely source of water and cost thereof.

In any event, you might want to check out Tres Orejas, NM. Known in Anglo as Three Peaks (you can count and see them), it is located in the middle of the valley about due west of Taos, accessed shortly after crossing the Gorge Bridge across the Rio Grande river via dirt road off US 64. It is the kind of place that has a real Nepalese (I think) stupa shrine, a certain number of dirt tracks that bare some resemblance to roads, and any number of odd ball residences (usually owner built). They run the range from quite modern and nice to something dreamed up in a moment, and possibly not lasting much longer. People use solar out there due necessity, as there is no electric service. Not much water either, which one big reason why the land out there has traditionally been so reasonable. Some may have wells, but that amounts to enterprise, deep shafts, and money. Water is often brought in. 'Solar' systems sometimes amount to one small cell and a car battery because the owner could afford nothing else. A setup such as that could give you a reading lamp in the evening. If you want to see something far more sumptuous check out Angel's Nest, an Earthship palace of sorts which is only a short distance beyond the turnoff to Tres Orejas, to your right and near the greater community of Earthships. But back to Tres Orejas, if minimizing expenses one of your goals, you might learn a lot.

New Mexico is not one of the cheaper states tax wise, although in total with other factors it may prove one of the more reasonable for the fellow looking to bypass suburbia. Lots of people there have the same idea. Great culture too, although in that and incidence of crime, or how you like whatever neighbors you may have, the spot you choose will determine a lot.

Or maybe a tree house within some largely forgotten forest?
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Old 09-28-2008, 12:15 AM
 
Location: Southeast Missouri
5,812 posts, read 16,648,330 times
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Out here people live a half-mile from their closest neighbor sometimes.

Not sure what kind of internet service you can get out there, though.

But houses around here are pretty cheap. The soil here isn't the best. Just south of here farmers grow all kinds of crops, though, including corn, cotton, sorghum, and beans.
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Old 09-28-2008, 12:54 AM
 
Location: New Mexico to Texas
4,552 posts, read 13,451,261 times
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there is a place in the desert just south of Albuquerque called Parajito Mesa where alot of illegals have set up shacks but they dont have no water or electricity, they go into town and load up 50 gal barrels. They have set up thier own little community and I think there are a few hundred of them living out there in the county, it would be a simple life for you.

If I could find some pics I would post some
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Old 09-28-2008, 07:25 AM
 
Location: Where the sun likes to shine!!
20,517 posts, read 26,363,899 times
Reputation: 88539
Quote:
Originally Posted by WDotica View Post
Once I get out of college I'd like to find a place to move to where I can become independent quickly. I want to live in a house that I can live a simple, one-person life in, and pay it off quickly so that if disaster were to strike (unemployment, bad luck, whatever), I'm not stuck with yet another bill. A lot of places I look talk about $100k, $150k houses with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms in a suburb... I don't want all that. If I have a place to sleep, running water, electricity, and a decently low crime rate, I'm happy. Being allowed to install solar panels/wind power is definitely a plus. So is being able to see constellations without light pollution.

I've even thought about buying a small plot of land and building a house like that to my specifications, similar to a Katrina cottage: Katrina Cottages

Awesome public schools and suburbs don't interest me. In fact, I'm okay in relative isolation as long as I can live it independently.

So basically, where in the US can I live a simple life at a simple price?
I live in and love TN. I am in the East TN mountains. I know all about wanting a simple life. My husband and I are building a berm off grid solar and wind generated house. We chose TN because it is beautiful, the cost of living is very low(overall) and a lot of the counties have very lenient if any building codes. Our part of TN can be expensive but there are many areas in TN that would fit the bill. I am partial to East TN because I love all the green and the mountains.

If you want to see what we are doing you can see our story and pictures of building our house at:

http://www.city-data.com/forum/tenne...tennessee.html

Oh yeah, I know a couple who bought two of those sheds from Home Depot or Lowe's and they converted it into a place to live. One for the bedroom and the other one was the bathroom and kitchen/living room combo. Talk about cheap housing!

Good luck in your search.

Lisa
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