Friday, May 18, 2012

How to be Free - Part 3

Enough of the wringing of hands and declarations of "honor". They make no sense. I'm sure that when the pioneers headed west from the overcrowded slums of the eastern cities that there were plenty of fearful old women who stood by the trail and cried crocodile tears about the dangers and hardships the pioneers were taking their families into.

If we listened to that nonsense then we'd never be anywhere.

Face it, folks. There are those who, being too fearful to cast off their own chains, will attack you for attempting to cast off your own. Let them bark. They do you no harm. Your business is about freeing yourself and the next generation to follow you and who are (for the present) entirely dependent upon you.

So if you've managed to discharge your debt obligations and you're now out of debt, the next step comes into play. Here's where it gets tricky.

What do you need to survive? In no particular order:

1. Shelter
2. Food
3. Water

If you look at your budget today, the shelter is the biggest portion so we'll deal with that first. Food and water will probably get rolled into Part 4.

You don't need a big fancy house. You need whatever your own sense of comfort demands. I know a family that lives in a big metal cargo container. They cut out windows with a blow torch, set up some wooden partitions for walls and that's their home. They're saving up to build something later on, but it certainly won't be the Taj Mahal that so many Americans demand. I know another family that lives in a tent made out of cast-off tarps. I know dozens of families that live in mobile homes and RV's and I know and admire one family that travels about living in their bus.

First things first though. You need a place upon which to put your shelter, be it a mobile home or a yurt. In the less free states there are zoning codes and ordinances. These are not really designed for your safety, as you are told, but rather to support the contractors and "professionals" who are in league with the banks. They'll sell you a shoddily built "house" for several hundred percent more than the material and labor that went into it, and it will be in a continuous state of disrepair for its entire existence.

Don't live anywhere they have those zoning codes and ordinances. It is nobody's business whether or not your house falls in on your head. That's your business, and I'm sure you care much more about it than those thieves down at the county courthouse. Find a free state where they have counties that don't care about such nonsense and start looking for land there.

Ironically, those same places where they don't care about such things also happen to be the most economical to move into. They have a low land value and the price per acre is quite reasonable. If you look around you can find an acre, or ten or however many acres your budget will allow.

Now let's face it ... that's not going to be in the fertile land of Ohio or Illinois, but you wouldn't want that property anyway. The governments are draconian, Big Ag and the corn subsidies have driven up the cost of all rural land beyond what people can normally afford, and the cities are infested with liberals who will pass laws about what you and your family can or can't do, even though you don't impact them at all.

We picked Texas for our free state for multiple reasons. First and foremost, we both grew up here and we have a lot of family still in the area. But there are other reasons:

1. No state income tax. This is a plus if you're going to squeak by on a very small income from your farm or cottage industry skills.

2. The climate is pretty good. It's hot, but the winters aren't terrible. You can grow something almost year round and if you intend to provide the bulk of your own food then this is a plus.

3. Much of the territory is effectively "ungovernable". Where I live the roads are badly paved if at all. There is too much area to be patrolled in any realistic manner and the population is very low. Even if China were to invade and take over America tomorrow, it probably wouldn't impact me much. They're not likely to be sending their tanks out into the desert and every nook and hollow to root out the recalcitrants like myself.

4. There are natural barriers (the desert and encircling rocky wastes) between our home and large populations of potential refugees. When I say refugees, I really mean all those people who wrung their hands and told you that you should have stayed in the city in the first place. Let them depend on their Just-in-time delivery system. When it fails, they won't make it on foot across 200 miles of desert to find YOU.

The drought last year was horrible, but it drove the cost of land down even further. Many of the dabblers in the land market were forced to sell and that's where we found our property for a steal. We were able to pay half in cash up front and then over the next 12 months we were going to pay out the other half. This wasn't a deal with a bank but with the private individual who was in such a bind that they had to sell fast. I held some of our financial resources back in case we ran into any problems, but after the fourth month we decided that things were problem free and so we paid off the remainder. Now we own the land free and clear without any liens.

If you're buying 200 acres you can get a pretty good bargain, but when you start looking for 20 acres or less then the price goes up. The big landowners don't like to parcel out bits and pieces. Still, deals can be had. Especially if you have cash in hand. Start figuring out ways to put together some money. It won't take as much as you think.

I lacked skill in building a stick home so we found a helper. My friend and my brother-in-law helped us both build our cabin. It's a simple affair, and small, but it suits us fine. I like it better than any of the houses I've ever lived in. It was also designed specifically for our needs. That goes a long way towards making us happy.

All told it cost under $5k in materials to build this cabin. We could have done with less if we were short of money but we had that put aside. Our next, bigger house will cost even less and I started putting in calls today for the materials. That type of home is more labor and time intensive, but less costly.

Whatever you decide to live in, if you pick the right county, will be your decision. The most common approach out here is to buy an RV and live in that while you take however long it takes to build your house. That's what we were going to do but we were too cramped in the RV and it only took 10 days to have the cabin completed. For us, the RV was a foolish purchase and I'm going to sell it here very soon.

For most of us not born wealthy, we can have comfort or freedom. Your choice. I have the added benefit of following where God is leading me, which helps me to ignore any lack of comfort. And for the most part human beings are very adaptable. Whatever situation you resolve to put yourself in for any length of time will become your new comfort zone.

So don't think you need a million dollars to do this. I did it for less than $30k and that was extravagant spending by any measure. We were doing it anyway and our initial plan called for a very small property while we saved money to find something bigger. Then suddenly almost $20k worth of money just showed up from various sources in my bank account. God blessed us and guided us to where we are now.


Gorges Smythe said...

Sounds like a plan that worked.

Hazmat54 said...

It is mostly just fear of change, the unknown, that keeps me from trying this. I would have to try it in rural Illinois, because my family roots are here. My mother is doing very well at 85 years of age but I want to remain near to help if she has need. Always good to read your blog, keep it up.

Hazmat54 said...

It is mostly just fear of change, the unknown, that keeps me from trying this. I would have to try it in rural Illinois, because my family roots are here. My mother is doing very well at 85 years of age but I want to remain near to help if she has need. Always good to read your blog, keep it up.