Win a copy of Bioshelter Market Garden this week in the Market Garden forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • James Freyr
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Anne Miller
  • r ranson
  • Mike Jay Haasl
  • Dave Burton
  • Pearl Sutton
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Joseph Lofthouse
garden masters:
  • Steve Thorn
gardeners:
  • Dan Boone
  • Carla Burke
  • Kate Downham

stuck

 
Posts: 1
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Broke, living paycheck to paycheck at a dead-end job. Live in Oregon so I'm surrounded by expensive real estate. Want to find fertile land with a water source but those are too expensive here. Don't want to move too far because I want to stay connected with family and friends. Really want land to build a cob house and garden but everything requires money, something I'm not a big fan of. What should I do?
 
pollinator
Posts: 1579
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
550
forest garden rabbit tiny house books solar woodworking
  • Likes 17
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You'll probably get lots of suggestions. So here's my take..,....

... Read as much of the posts here in permies.com as you can. There are lots of diverse ideas on how to start out. Lots of ideas on how to reduce your expenses and save cash for your premie journey.
... Start practicing your future lifestyle while you're still working and living as you are. Try planting seeds and growing a few veggies. Start toying around with cob. Start learning how to build stuff. Learn how to preserve food. Etc.
... Revise your requirements, perhaps lowering your expectations. Right now you've stated that you have no money, and want to stay in your location due to friends and family. But on the other hand, you acknowledge that land is too expensive for you to acquire for building your cob house. Ah..something needs to be changed.
... Consider acquiring your goal in stages. Perhaps take baby steps. Perhaps take a different route (such as being a land caretaker, wwoofer, apprentice, etc) before finally buying your own piece of land. There are many more options.
... Consider setting up a multiple year plan to achieve your goal. Take it one year at a time.

Just to let you know, you can start out with nothing and end up with your dream. Hubby and I were broke, jobless, and only owned our clothes and an old VW bug when we got married. Every year got a little better. About 10 years later we bought 7 abandoned overgrown acres and an old derelict house. Another decade later we bought 7 nice acres in a beautiful area and a decent house. A decade later we bought our dream land and build our own house. Looking back, we could have attained our dream place in 1/3 the time if we had been more frugal, but we were silly and didn't have a good grasp on how to stop spending our money.
 
Posts: 558
Location: Australia, New South Wales. Köppen: Cfa (Humid Subtropical), USDA: 10/11
154
transportation hugelkultur cat forest garden fish trees urban chicken cooking woodworking homestead
  • Likes 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Thomas Kelly wrote:Broke, living paycheck to paycheck at a dead-end job. Live in Oregon so I'm surrounded by expensive real estate. Want to find fertile land with a water source but those are too expensive here. Don't want to move too far because I want to stay connected with family and friends. Really want land to build a cob house and garden but everything requires money, something I'm not a big fan of. What should I do?




Seems like you’ve place a lot of limitations on yourself from the get-go.

If you’re unwilling to reconsider changing location or paying $$$$ to purchase land, there’s probably only a few choices left available. A few come to mind:

1. Look at buying land that nobody wants – too hard for conventional farming = less $$$$
2. Lease land – again, the harder to conventionally farm bits. You may get a good price.
3. Join a community of likeminded people – be VERY careful of unscrupulous people, unreasonable conditions/commitments, scams, etc.
4. Consider urban farming e.g. see David Holmgren’s new book and YouTube vids on ‘RetroSuburbia’.
5. Do some volunteer work e.g. World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) to check if it suits you and, importantly, pick up necessary skills and a community of contacts.

You don’t need a broad acre rural property to do Permaculture.
 
master pollinator
Posts: 4331
1002
transportation cat duck trees rabbit books chicken woodworking
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You are not as bad off as you envision yourself to be, that is because you are healthy enough to work, and as Dave Ramsey says, "Your ability to work is wealth." My suggestion is to watch a lot of his free videos on youtube as possible, and to take a Dave Ramsey course if you can, there is a cost, but our church gives scholarships to people who cannot pay because his ideas really will pull you out of indebtedness.

This sounds like a "get rich quick scheme", but it is not, it is a get out of debt list, and really works. That is the first step.
 
pioneer
Posts: 1223
Location: 4b
228
dog forest garden trees bee building
  • Likes 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Thomas Kelly wrote:Broke, living paycheck to paycheck at a dead-end job.



I would start right here.  If you are broke, one of two things is the issue.  You don't make enough, or you spend too much.  It's usually easier to spend less than to make more, and it's easier to save a dollar than to earn one.  Step 1 is to take 10% of your pay and put it in an account and forget it exists.  You won't starve.  People that are struggling with money often find that no matter what they make, they spend exactly that.  I know, because I did it for many, many years.  Your bills will rise to meet your pay unless you stop that in it's tracks.  

Beyond that, the other people that posted gave great advice.  Opportunities are available for anyone that is willing to work to find them, and work to keep them.  You may need to find land 5 or 6 or 8 hours from where you are.  It isn't hard to stay connected to people a few hours from you.
 
pollinator
Posts: 3206
Location: Toronto, Ontario
393
hugelkultur dog forest garden fungi trees rabbit urban wofati cooking bee homestead
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Thomas Kelly wrote:Broke, living paycheck to paycheck at a dead-end job. Live in Oregon so I'm surrounded by expensive real estate. Want to find fertile land with a water source but those are too expensive here. Don't want to move too far because I want to stay connected with family and friends. Really want land to build a cob house and garden but everything requires money, something I'm not a big fan of. What should I do?



Not being a big fan of money for it's own sake is fine, but if you want things, you need money. Land is a thing, ergo you need money. As you said, everything requires money.

I suggest you look at your job. Why is it a dead-end job? Can you not get a better one? What do you do? What are you qualified to do? Are there any trades you're interested in, particularly ones whose employers will pay you to train? Are there any hobbies you could monetize?

You can move to the other side of the globe and stay connected with friends and family. I would be concerned with finding a place that checks all the boxes and maybe has enough space for people to stay over or park small trailers, and isn't too far away for regular weekend visits.

But above all, I think that if you aren't a fan of everything requiring money, I think you're actually saying you aren't a fan of having to work at something that isn't what you want to be doing so that you can afford to do what you want to do, living on land with a watersource, in a cob cottage you build yourself, and a garden that feeds you. That's an admirable goal, but honestly, you are going to have to work to get the money to buy all that.

I suggest that you train to do something in line with your permacultural goals. If you do what you love for work, you never work a day in your life. If you temper choices in that vein with careful consideration about how much you need to earn to get what you want, you can find a path forward.

I happen to be in a similar situation. My much better half is a glassblower and can find a retail part-time job anywhere, to compliment some work she does with other artists. But her work happens out in the country, about two hours east of where we currently live. I currently commute almost an hour in the other direction for work. So in addition to exploring employment options out there, I have also joined a local urban beekeeping club, and am going to take two introductory apiology courses in the coming months. My much better half's employers also garden on a large scale, and have offered us space to garden on their property, which I plan on doing next season.

I suggest that if you haven't looked up the work of J.M. Fortier, you do so. He's into permaculturally-aligned market gardening utilising walking plow-scale machinery, and focusing on intensive horticultural production. The idea, as I understand it, is to grow horticulturally rather than agriculturally, and work it like a job. He does, and has by himself, up to a practical maximum of something like three-quarters of an acre of garden. Any more would require more labour, the way he does it, but he is able to make money doing it, enough to expand and grow his operation.

Many of us are stuck, or feel so, but in many cases, that's illusory. Just break down your assumptions. Deconstruct the argument you've made for why you can't change anything, and start over with the premise that you can do everything you want, and don't put so many obstacles in your own path.

Let us know how it goes. I am sure you'll find no end of helpful advice on this site. Good luck.

-CK
 
master pollinator
Posts: 11439
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
768
cat forest garden fish trees chicken fiber arts wood heat greening the desert
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

F Agricola wrote:
1. Look at buying land that nobody wants – too hard for conventional farming = less $$$$



Land that is "bad for farming" is often the best for permaculture.  Sloping land is unattractive to farmers and developers, but almost a requirement for many permaculture techniques.  To see what a permaculturist can do with miserable rocky sloping land, see the work of Ben Falk of Vermont.  His small farm is amazing.
 
pollinator
Posts: 235
Location: East tn
56
hugelkultur foraging homestead
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Urban homesteading might be a good option for you. Upcycle bathtubs and broken chest freezers into raised beds and get going where you are with what you have. Gather food scraps and rotten firewood, moldy hay bales , add woodchips and coffee grounds, and a bag or two of soil and you are growing!

Live in a tent in backyard of friend or family and save money and look for discounted and disadvantaged properties. Even derelict commercial space can be a food warehouse if you change out a few roof panels to allow light in.

And dont discount the value of friends and family. If you can make it work there, you will save yourself years of longing for a replacement emotional center of gravity.
 
Tyler Ludens
master pollinator
Posts: 11439
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
768
cat forest garden fish trees chicken fiber arts wood heat greening the desert
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

J Davis wrote:Urban homesteading might be a good option for you.



This is excellent advice.  I think it's so important for us to demonstrate that one does not need a "spread" to practice homesteading.  I'm away from my forest home half the week, spending that time in the city helping my dad with his Alzheimer's.  Because I miss my garden and food forest, I am redesigning his yard, with his approbation, to be a water-retention landscape and pollinator garden with an eco-lawn and, eventually, a small vegetable garden, all in the front yard, which is the only part that gets sun.

Eric Toensmeier and Jonathan Bates and their families live in an urban homestead and do wonderful things:  https://paradiselot.com/about/
 
pollinator
Posts: 205
Location: OK High Plains Prairie, 23" rain avg
31
homestead
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In the event you haven't spent much time visiting permaculture places, I bet there are lots of Communes in your part of the country. Even if you don't plan on joining one they are a great resource for seeing what others are doing in your area. Also, you may have a visceral reaction to their projects which may inform your choices about where to go from here.
 
pollinator
Posts: 368
Location: BC Interior, Zone 6-7
56
forest garden tiny house books
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Usually your biggest expense is rent. Get rid of that and save all your rent money. Couch surf w friends and family, live in your car, stealth camp in parks or wooded areas. Lots of sources online on how to do this without looking and smelling like you're living rough.

Having said that, my husband and I did live in an old RV parked on a deactivated forestry road for a while and didn't save as much money as we thought we would.

Here's what my husband and I did to get our land. We were fed up and wanted land NOW. We found 10 acres of  junk land (weird shape, terrible soil, no services) that was vaguely  in the price range of what someone might lend us. My husband has terrible credit, but mine's almost perfect. I applied for a few low interest credit cards and withdrew as much as I could on those and we scrounged up as much cash as we could. That was our down payment. We had no assets, so I got my parents to co-sign a loan for the rest of the purchase. The payemtn on the loan was a little over a third of what we'd been paying for rent. We moved onto the land asap and lived in a tent until we could get a house built.

Our expenses for the property were about $500/mo loan payment, $100-200/mo minimum credit card payments, about $30 year propane, and about $400/year property taxes. Then just usual living expenses, which we're good at keeping really low. We got the credit cards paid off in a couple years and I just paid off the property loan a year early. Our total debt starting out was about one and a half times our combined yearly income and we paid it off in less than five years. We could have paid it off sooner, but we bought two vehicles in that time as well.

The first year, when our income was at it's lowest (both started new jobs) and our expenses were highest was really tough. I remember digging through all our stuff for change to have enough to pay a credit card bill one month.

We found that once you're on your land, you can pare back your expenses way more than you could living conventionally - not just rent.  We were able to pay off our debt much quicker than we would have been able to save the same amount - even living in an RV.
 
Travis Johnson
master pollinator
Posts: 4331
1002
transportation cat duck trees rabbit books chicken woodworking
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I guess my biggest question is: What is the plan?

You are here, so how do you propose to get there?

That seems simple, but there has to be a plan to take you from here to there or you will just keep being in the position you are now in.

One of the biggest issues I have found is, people that are broke will just make excuse after excuse as to why they spend the money that they do, and I just want to scream, "but you are broke, you have no right to make an excuse about how to spend money."

I am betting that if you are living paycheck to paycheck that often times the pay is up before the next payday arrives. What happens then is, if you are using a debit card, is the bank gives you a fee for being overdrawn, and the situation just keeps getting worse. So no excuses, go to 100% cash so that does not happen. Change your automatic payment bill withdrawals so that you pay the bills when you want, not automatically.

Keep this in mind, no matter what bill collectors try to make you think, you are driving the bus. Only you can determine who gets paid, what and when. They will try and convince you otherwise, and be forceful, but only you can determine what gets paid and when. As long as they get something, they have to live with it. So you really have a lot more control than you think. And keep in mind, every time you pay a bill on a loan, you are getting yourself out of debt. The problem is, people just replace those loans with new ones as soon as they are paid off. Do not do that, pay one off, then work on paying more off.

But all this means getting drastic. I am betting you have stuff...get rid of it. I do not care if it is an air conditioner unit, you can survive; sell it on facebook marketplace for $25 and use the money to pay down debt. Go through your place and I am sure you have stuff to sell. I moved into a tiny house a year ago, and we got rid of 2/3 of our stuff and never missed it. We moved again a week or so ago, and left half the stuff we moved into our Tiny House behind, I think we have got rid of 80% of our stuff in the last year, and we are fine...and much of that stuff can be sold to other people. If you want drastic changes in your life, you are going to have to make massive changes, it is just how it works, but it is not as bad as you think.

If you want a sustainable farming lifestyle, the first thing you must do is have sustainable finances.

By the way, as I type this neither my wife, nor I...with 4 young daughters...have jobs. I got some resources I really do not want to let go of, but hey, it is raining, and such is life. It is just stuff, so it must go. What I am saying is, I am living what I am saying.
 
pollinator
Posts: 577
Location: Denmark 57N
128
fungi foraging trees cooking food preservation
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
How far are you willing to travel to family 1hr, 2hrs? Figure that out and get a map out (or print one) then use google to work out drive times and draw a large wiggly circle around the family members you most wish to visit. Now start looking at the area inside that, where is land cheapest? If you find anywhere where it seems reasonable go and visit, go camping (if possible) stay a while. Drop into the local shop/bar whatever speak to people they may even know if some land is up for sale but not advertised.

If on the other hand you don't find any reasonable priced land inside your circle then you could look for people who want others on their land either as live in workers or as "shareholders"
 
Posts: 56
Location: 10 miles NW of Helena Montana
3
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Keep looking, don't set your expectations to high, what ever you do find you can always change it.

We, ( my wife and I) looked for the perfect piece of land for over 5 years in NW Montana where we lived.  Never found it in our price range.
Finally found land outside of Helena MT, (about 12 miles into the mountains)  Not perfect, but it is going to be fun making this land into a producing homestead.
I quit work, drawing Social Security while building our home.  Figured I would go to work part time after getting things together here.  (Funny thinking of going to work part time when I am now working more hours for me than I ever worked for the "man", and sleeping better at night than I have in many years)
My wife still has her job, just transferred to a different office near our new place.  
We are fortunate, our oldest son bought the acreage next to us and is building at the same time.  Another son lives about 40 minutes away, our daughter came to live by us in another sons camper trailer, that son is just 170 miles away and the last son is living the USVI. (Yup, tough vacations, building with airline miles credit card which we pay off each month, but do fly first class for cheap!)

Carry no debt if possible.  

I was self employed for many years and remember doing work for barter.  I got so into it that one month I didn't have enough $$ to pay all the bills.  So pay attention to the big picture.  Have a plan, but remember:  Plans can be changed.
 
Posts: 223
16
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
you have ability to get online, access to the world, recycle, find other peoples junk in your wealthy neighborhood, put it up on eBay or craigslist or let go and turn it into cash, save your money or buy through lease to own
just a couple ideas that could maybe help
 
gardener
Posts: 1032
Location: Southern Illinois
200
transportation cat dog fungi trees building writing rocket stoves woodworking
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thomas,

I really sympathize with your situation.  I have lived in these conditions before.  When I had just graduated college I was living on a piddly 73 dollars per week.  I lived in a dump.  I never ate out and I planned purchases sometimes months in advance.  

Nonetheless I managed to save at least 20 of those 73 dollars each week.  Granted, I was single, had no children and was willing to rough it for a time.

Though the experience was difficult at the time, in the long run it was a good experience.  I really learned to save and live frugally.  When I finally did get a real job I continued to live in near squalor so that I could save up to buy my first house.  It took time effort and a lot of patience but I did eventually get that first house which I eventually sold for a profit and bought the land on which my current house stands.

I don’t know the specifics of your situation, but hang in there.  

Eric
 
Posts: 67
8
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I suggest you post an extensive resume so that the Permies can better understand your situation and offer informed advice. There are terrific opportunities in small farm and cottage industries for people with ambition, skill, and perseverance.
 
gardener
Posts: 1517
Location: Los Angeles, CA
371
hugelkultur forest garden books urban chicken food preservation
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Every solution offered in this thread seems to have a couple of things in common:

1.  Hard work.  Rarely does anything good come to those who are not willing to sweat and make it work.

2.  Frugality.  Every dollar you don't spend is a dollar saved for future investment.

3.  Plan.  You've got to put together a reasonable set of "next steps" and then follow through on them.

Can you clarify for us one thing?  When you say "something I'm not a big fan of", do you mean that you're not a fan of money?  What does this mean?  As I see it, money is just a tool, like a hammer or a computer.  You can use it however you wish—some people use their tools in productive and helpful ways, while others are destructive, wasteful or negligent.  Money is a basic tool on which a lot of other stuff gets done, including the goals you list of having a better place to live, a piece of land to live on, and the means to enjoy your life more.

If you were saying, "I want to build a traditional stick frame house but I'm not a big fan of tools like a hammer, saw or any other thing a carpenter normally carries", I think we'd be confused as to how you will reach that goal.  If your goal is to own a piece of land and creating a life that you enjoy on that piece of land, then money needs to be a tool in the tool box.  
 
Posts: 126
Location: Prairie Canada zone 2/3
43
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Besides the other questions on this thread, I would add one:  What are you willing to sacrifice in order to attain your goal?  Only you can decide that, but it will definitely have an impact on your success.  Some people are willing to work a job they don't like in order to have more money to achieve their goals.  Some people are willing to cut expenses to the bone and really rough it in order to achieve their goals.  Some people are willing to revise the goal in order to make it more achievable.  You are probably going to have to do at least one of these things in order to achieve your goal; doing all three would probably get you there faster.  

For ourselves, I work a job that is less than ideal, but that pays well.  We also moved from a high-cost area to a lower-cost area, more than 500 miles from where we were at the time, in order to be able to afford some land.  We revised our goal to include less land, and a longer time frame on planting trees and whatnot, in order to be able to get land at all.  We lived fairly frugally in the first place, but we decided we didn't want to cut any further, so that's something we could have done, but chose not to.  It took quite a while, but we have a place we are mostly happy with.  Your choices might be different, but it is not likely that you will be able to do everything exactly as you are, living in the place you are in, and still achieve your dream.  
 
Posts: 823
Location: Bendigo , Australia
32
dog homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Having made the comment

but everything requires money, something I'm not a big fan of


Do you think you may have closed your mind to alternatives?
 
Posts: 15
1
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Family size farms have it tough, but they have not all vanished.  I'd suggest looking for an old farmer who has no family interested in continuing the work, and helping out until you inherit it.  Be careful to look more eager to learn than to inherit.    Some fresh ideas may help, though.  Around here, most people think that a quarter section is too small, but there is one guy doing vegetables on about two acres and making a living.   I've got a house full of tools and books, and am haunted by friends' collections that went for scrap.  
 
Posts: 38
1
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Do you notice how many here are outside the 'box'??
 
Posts: 5
  • Likes 1 Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Thomas Kelly wrote:Broke, living paycheck to paycheck at a dead-end job. Live in Oregon so I'm surrounded by expensive real estate. Want to find fertile land with a water source but those are too expensive here. Don't want to move too far because I want to stay connected with family and friends. Really want land to build a cob house and garden but everything requires money, something I'm not a big fan of. What should I do?



Yes I get it your broke same here and nobody understands that. Most people have money available to them but call themselves broke.
 
pollinator
Posts: 409
Location: Huntsville Alabama (North Alabama), Zone 7B
48
fish fungi foraging bee building medical herbs
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A couple of years ago I ran across an organic farmer with a beautiful rolling hill property in Tennessee.  I met him because he was the closest distributor of SEA-90.  He had a different problem. He was getting on in years and working the farm was getting harder and harder.  He hoped to find someone to run the farm because I suspect he did not want to see his life's work to be turned into an over priced subdivision of large yards and larger houses. Too bad you are in opposite ends of the country.
 
Tyler Ludens
master pollinator
Posts: 11439
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
768
cat forest garden fish trees chicken fiber arts wood heat greening the desert
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There are so many farmers and ranchers who are aging:  https://permies.com/t/101848/Otis-test
 
Chris Kott
pollinator
Posts: 3206
Location: Toronto, Ontario
393
hugelkultur dog forest garden fungi trees rabbit urban wofati cooking bee homestead
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

michael kenney wrote:

Thomas Kelly wrote:Broke, living paycheck to paycheck at a dead-end job. Live in Oregon so I'm surrounded by expensive real estate. Want to find fertile land with a water source but those are too expensive here. Don't want to move too far because I want to stay connected with family and friends. Really want land to build a cob house and garden but everything requires money, something I'm not a big fan of. What should I do?



Yes I get it your broke same here and nobody understands that. Most people have money available to them but call themselves broke.



No, I think most people here understand that. It's a rare individual that first embraces frugality without having to.

I have a different tack to suggest. How do you eat, and how much do you spend on eating out? Honestly, the best thing you can do if you eat out at all, especially if you are living as most of us are, from paycheck to paycheck, is to start making meals at home. Get really fond of rice and beans, or lentil-based dishes. If you can brown-bag your lunches, do it, and try to figure out how to make your nightly dinner yield leftovers enough for lunch the next day. Or if that's too much work, think up one big meal a week, get some microwavable storage containers (pyrex or knock-offs with the silicone lids are the best, in my opinion), and pack lunches for the rest of the week.

I strongly suggest the triple-P approach, or some alternative of it that suits your taste. For us, it's Pasta, Pierogi, and Pizza. We try to keep fixings for these on-hand at all times, which usually means keeping onions, garlic, and mushrooms, cheese, olive oil for frying, and usually pepperoni. We still have jars of the last tomato sauce I made, and I have a pot of oven-roasted tomatoes, peppers, onions, and garlic waiting for a food processor at home right now. We've bought pre-baked shells, and did the pilsbury pizza crust thing for a bit until we decided to stop buying anything with palm oil in it. Armed with this strategy, we have three meals we could throw together at any given time that will make lunches enough for both of us for the next day.

And for days we already have leftovers for lunch, we buy tortilla chips and make guac with avocados and homemade salsa.

If you buy seven lunches a week at five dollars a piece (yeah right), that's $35. That's $140 a month. And that's if you can find a decent lunch for five dollars. Most fast-food places will be double that these days. If you eat out for dinner, I usually see $10 to $20 easy, and that's without alcohol. Let's take the low figure, though, and call it $70 a week. That's $280 a month.

Do you buy $2 coffees? I know I did. My sister bought $5 coffees, but she worked at Starbucks, so she has an excuse. Do you buy breakfast sandwiches like I used to? Just a thought to add to the running tabulations.

Another few things that many people who live paycheck to paycheck do that makes no sense in the context of trying to save money aggressively to get out is to drink and smoke daily.

This is for illustrative purposes. I am not accusing anyone of anything.

I used to drink a bottle of wine, or at least two or three tallboys of beer, nightly. I would also smoke pot daily.

If a cheap bottle of wine is $10, that's $70 a week I'm pouring down the toilet, with a pit-stop at my brain, which I enjoyed, and my liver, which should worry me a little. The tall boys I still occasionally enjoy are in the ballpark of $3 each, so a little cheaper, but not much.

A moderate regular pot smoker can easily go through an ounce a month at a cost of around $200.

That's $480 a month on intoxication, and as we know, it's easy to consume within the same range and pay more when we go out to do it. That's 64% of my half of rent each month.

I am not saying these are your problems, but that the things we do just to get by can be the things that keep us from going anywhere.

So I barely drink anymore, and when I do, I try to make it on the weekends. I consume less pot, too. And I make a lot of our food at home. Debt is still keeping me from going anywhere, but I am grinding away at it, and making headway.

I am looking at developing skills that could further aid my frugality, like cheesemaking, growing mushrooms, and brewing my own alcohols. I have joined a local urban beekeeping club, and am going to be taking a couple of beekeeping courses, as I mentioned above. And I garden as much as I can.

At the end of it, you may find that you don't have any room in your budget, and that your only recourse is to get a better job. What line of work are you in now? What kind of training do you have, generally speaking? How much of your time does it take? Could you get another job, or a better one?

I hate the sound of that last one as much as many, but it has to be asked. I work a good unionised job. I shouldn't have to worry about working more than my job, but I occasionally do. I am lucky enough in the print and bindery world that I have contacts enough to be able to pick up part-time hours, especially in busy seasons. And I am constantly on the lookout for better job opportunities, especially ones that offer training and that might align with things I may want to do in the future, and ones located out where we actually want to live, away from the hustle, bustle, and cost of city living is the holy grail. Hell, I'm commuting an hour each way when the traffic's on the heavier side, and we're living in the city now. I would settle for a job that had me commuting an hour into the city, or a city or town, as long as we were out in the country with some land.

Oh, and as fond as you are of friends and family, is there a possibility of giving up some of your personal freedom to pay less, or no, rent? I mean, our apartment is $1500 a month (kitchen, laundry, one bedroom, living room, three-piece bath) in downtown Toronto. Because we've been there for a few years now, there are no cheaper comparables anywhere near us or my work, but moving to smaller, cheaper digs, or ones that cut your commuting and car maintenance costs, is another viable option.

Also, some people save money by adapting completely to a car-free existence, at least for a time.

Anyways, in this context, we all feel stuck sometimes. I feel stuck most of the time, just grinding away at the tasks that will eventually get me out. Try to think out of the box you've put yourself in (conversationally; you've said that you're stuck, and you will feel that way until you "unstick" yourself). There's a way out. You just need to examine the whole picture and lay your assumptions bare.

I was broke because I was spending all my money, and at times, more money than I made. Once I corrected that, it became possible to do things.

Again, good luck. I hope some of this has been helpful.

-CK
 
pollinator
Posts: 292
Location: North central Ontario
30
kids dog books chicken earthworks cooking solar wood heat woodworking homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Thomas Kelly wrote:Broke, living paycheck to paycheck at a dead-end job. Live in Oregon so I'm surrounded by expensive real estate. Want to find fertile land with a water source but those are too expensive here. Don't want to move too far because I want to stay connected with family and friends. Really want land to build a cob house and garden but everything requires money, something I'm not a big fan of. What should I do?


Vast numbers of us here have been where you are. I'll give you a bit of a biography and you can see if any of it resonates.
I was working retail in Vancouver. Rent in Van was crazy, land insane, so the only way to save was sharing a house with 4 other people. You would go out drink, eat out whatever because that was what everyone does when they are younger and everyone around me was doing. One day I said screw it and went into the trades. The pay was much better, the schooling was paid for, and if you are working your ass off you just do not have time to go out and waste money. Within a year I had a nest egg of sorts so I moved closer to where land was available for me ontario. Still working construction I changed who I hung out with to match the life I wanted. If you want to build, garden, and live the life you better start practicing it and making new friends with those who also want to live it. I'm not very touchy feely but I do believe if you want to attract it into your life you better be living like what you want to attract whether that is Partners, occupations, skills, etc... Family stays close if its continents away or drift apart blocks away that is a choice. Friends, best friends are close across decades and you reach a point in life when someone has to go first and move most of your friends will. Some will move closer again other not.
Accept or reject, I wish you well,         David
 
michael kenney
Posts: 5
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Thomas Kelly wrote:Broke, living paycheck to paycheck at a dead-end job. Live in Oregon so I'm surrounded by expensive real estate. Want to find fertile land with a water source but those are too expensive here. Don't want to move too far because I want to stay connected with family and friends. Really want land to build a cob house and garden but everything requires money, something I'm not a big fan of. What should I do?



Check out Michael Reynolds “Garbage Warrior”
How he had land and reached out to people and brought them in to start a self sufficient community. More people with land should no be so narrow minded and open their land to people.
 
Chris Kott
pollinator
Posts: 3206
Location: Toronto, Ontario
393
hugelkultur dog forest garden fungi trees rabbit urban wofati cooking bee homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

michael kenney wrote:

Thomas Kelly wrote:Broke, living paycheck to paycheck at a dead-end job. Live in Oregon so I'm surrounded by expensive real estate. Want to find fertile land with a water source but those are too expensive here. Don't want to move too far because I want to stay connected with family and friends. Really want land to build a cob house and garden but everything requires money, something I'm not a big fan of. What should I do?



Check out Michael Reynolds “Garbage Warrior”
How he had land and reached out to people and brought them in to start a self sufficient community. More people with land should no be so narrow minded and open their land to people.



There are whole threads on the topic of land for the landless, and many examples of people on this site, alone, who have had their generosity repaid with callousness at best.

I think there's room for a permie Non-Governmental Organisation, possibly a charity, that would welcome as members both land stewards who lack someone to help or carry on when they no longer can, and those who are land-poor who want to be such land stewards. Such an organisation could include the legal and legislative framework that would inform member behaviour and have the teeth to enforce it on both sides. No tenant farmer would be abused by a greedy landholder, nor would a generous landholder find themselves at the mercy of tenants who don't want to hold up their end.

Otherwise, people are people. Things may start out well, but especially in the overly litigious society of the untied states, it is highly likely that the majority of imperfect steward/tenant relationships would end up in court.

-CK
 
Chris Kott
pollinator
Posts: 3206
Location: Toronto, Ontario
393
hugelkultur dog forest garden fungi trees rabbit urban wofati cooking bee homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Oh, and telling others what they should do isn't viewed too kindly 'round these parts. Or to put it in other terms, did you just "Should" on me?

-CK
 
michael kenney
Posts: 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

michael kenney wrote:

Thomas Kelly wrote:Broke, living paycheck to paycheck at a dead-end job. Live in Oregon so I'm surrounded by expensive real estate. Want to find fertile land with a water source but those are too expensive here. Don't want to move too far because I want to stay connected with family and friends. Really want land to build a cob house and garden but everything requires money, something I'm not a big fan of. What should I do?



Check out Michael Reynolds “Garbage Warrior”
How he had land and reached out to people and brought them in to start a self sufficient community. More people with land should no be so narrow minded and open their land to people.



I live in Vermont and surrounded by privately owned land by people who claim to be farmers but grow nothing but grass and corn. Problem is 2k per acre sounds cheep but will only be sold in large tracts. Smaller the tract the higher the price. I’m looking for same.
 
Chris Kott
pollinator
Posts: 3206
Location: Toronto, Ontario
393
hugelkultur dog forest garden fungi trees rabbit urban wofati cooking bee homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It's the same story all over, and has been for a while. The jobs are mostly where property and rent are too high, and if you can find land you can afford, chances are you won't be able to find a job if you don't bring one with you or make one.

And the numbers I was looking at were more like $1k/acre, but it doesn't matter if it's half that if you need to buy more units than you can afford.

Being stuck sucks, but it is also a frame of mind. If you unstick your mind, the rest will follow (I learned this saying as "Free your mind and your ass will follow"). Stop focusing on the problems except as obstacles you need to analyse to be able to get around. Dwelling on how hopeless the situation seems will only make it feel worse, which will make it worse.

-CK
 
Dennis Bangham
pollinator
Posts: 409
Location: Huntsville Alabama (North Alabama), Zone 7B
48
fish fungi foraging bee building medical herbs
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have often thought about collaborating with other like minded people to buy out a farm and parcel it out.  There seems to be many farmers going out of business and the only option is to sell to the corporate farm investors who pay bottom dollar.
 
David Baillie
pollinator
Posts: 292
Location: North central Ontario
30
kids dog books chicken earthworks cooking solar wood heat woodworking homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Dennis Bangham wrote:I have often thought about collaborating with other like minded people to buy out a farm and parcel it out.  There seems to be many farmers going out of business and the only option is to sell to the corporate farm investors who pay bottom dollar.

Here in Ontario we have other problems. You could not buy a large farm and divide it into smaller ones. The province sees that as the model developers use to turn farmland into suburbs. You would have to keep the land together and maybe divide it internally bur keep it as one legal piece.
 
Steve Mendez
Posts: 67
8
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thomas Kelly, how about some feedback?

I've read some wonderful suggestions from a good number of Permies who want you to become self reliant and successful.
I think some specific info about your situation would go a long way towards me offering specific advice to you.
Many of us here started with nothing or even less than nothing and have built something worthwhile.

Help us help you.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2028
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
174
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Chris Kott wrote:
No, I think most people here understand that. It's a rare individual that first embraces frugality without having to.
-CK



Perhaps the most stupid (in my husband's opinion) frugal thing I do is buy whole olives. Then, every time we need olives, which is a lot, I sit there and slice them. They're cheaper whole by like .50. lol

So yup, I think most of us get frugal!

My household does the no debt thing. I'd say that mindset is what has set us on the path to financial success.
 
Trace Oswald
pioneer
Posts: 1223
Location: 4b
228
dog forest garden trees bee building
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

michael kenney wrote:More people with land should no be so narrow minded and open their land to people.



You could always do what I did.  It was simple.  All I did was scrimp and save and work two jobs until I was in my 50's to buy my land.  
 
Posts: 136
Location: Sunset Zone 27, Florida
forest garden trees rabbit
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
    When I was young, I was lost. I went from homelessness and crappy job to rented apartments and crappy jobs. Then homelessness again. It was almost cyclical. Then I discovered healthcare, which is rewarding challenging and always has overtime. I worked my tail off as a paramedic making nothing to save for a downpayment on a small house, which is now paid off. Its only 3/10ths of an acre, but despite my best efforts I have only managed to plant pond and rabbit up about half the place. Its not really about the amount of space that you have, but what are doing with it. In this area it is all about how much you are willing to irrigate. And fruit trees need to be managed often, or the squirrels and birds get it all before you will!
    Earlier this year I paid $7k for an acre and a half of unimproved woods in a failed housing division away from the city. Compared to the amount of land I have now, it's huge. I am saving to put in a manual well, then I will need to put up fencing. In the meantime I have propagating my favorite edibles to be transplanted out there, but only the tough ones. And have picked out a place for a shelter snd solar shower. The land was cheap but its an hours drive away. And I bet something like that exists near you too.
20190816_103118.jpg
trees and trail
trees and trail
 
Posts: 29
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I will have to agree with Trace.
The less you have, the more you need to save, not knowing or useing this rule is the reason we have so many poor people in MHO.
I have told coworks this for over 30 years, they are going to work until they are 65/68.
I am retiring to 10 acres of land & build a net zero house at 60, because when I had little & children to rasie, I put money in a 401K-plan.
Not the best investment out there, but it was easy way to get saving started.
There is a 15 year morgage will help also.
 
michael kenney
Posts: 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Chris Kott wrote:

Thomas Kelly wrote:Broke, living paycheck to paycheck at a dead-end job. Live in Oregon so I'm surrounded by expensive real estate. Want to find fertile land with a water source but those are too expensive here. Don't want to move too far because I want to stay connected with family and friends. Really want land to build a cob house and garden but everything requires money, something I'm not a big fan of. What should I do?



Not being a big fan of money for it's own sake is fine, but if you want things, you need money. Land is a thing, ergo you need money. As you said, everything requires money.

I suggest you look at your job. Why is it a dead-end job? Can you not get a better one? What do you do? What are you qualified to do? Are there any trades you're interested in, particularly ones whose employers will pay you to train? Are there any hobbies you could monetize?

You can move to the other side of the globe and stay connected with friends and family. I would be concerned with finding a place that checks all the boxes and maybe has enough space for people to stay over or park small trailers, and isn't too far away for regular weekend visits.

But above all, I think that if you aren't a fan of everything requiring money, I think you're actually saying you aren't a fan of having to work at something that isn't what you want to be doing so that you can afford to do what you want to do, living on land with a watersource, in a cob cottage you build yourself, and a garden that feeds you. That's an admirable goal, but honestly, you are going to have to work to get the money to buy all that.

I suggest that you train to do something in line with your permacultural goals. If you do what you love for work, you never work a day in your life. If you temper choices in that vein with careful consideration about how much you need to earn to get what you want, you can find a path forward.

I happen to be in a similar situation. My much better half is a glassblower and can find a retail part-time job anywhere, to compliment some work she does with other artists. But her work happens out in the country, about two hours east of where we currently live. I currently commute almost an hour in the other direction for work. So in addition to exploring employment options out there, I have also joined a local urban beekeeping club, and am going to take two introductory apiology courses in the coming months. My much better half's employers also garden on a large scale, and have offered us space to garden on their property, which I plan on doing next season.

I suggest that if you haven't looked up the work of J.M. Fortier, you do so. He's into permaculturally-aligned market gardening utilising walking plow-scale machinery, and focusing on intensive horticultural production. The idea, as I understand it, is to grow horticulturally rather than agriculturally, and work it like a job. He does, and has by himself, up to a practical maximum of something like three-quarters of an acre of garden. Any more would require more labour, the way he does it, but he is able to make money doing it, enough to expand and grow his operation.

Many of us are stuck, or feel so, but in many cases, that's illusory. Just break down your assumptions. Deconstruct the argument you've made for why you can't change anything, and start over with the premise that you can do everything you want, and don't put so many obstacles in your own path.

Let us know how it goes. I am sure you'll find no end of helpful advice on this site. Good luck.


Great comments from everyone.
I was hoping that some land owners in VERMONT would respond to this conversation. Do land owners look for buyers ?  That is without monetary gain the primary objective. Rather looking for people who who want to change the game to regenative, sustainability, husbandry, permaculture or better yet the principles written by Robert Or.
another woods trying open conversation to the land owners
-CK

 
Would you like to try a free sample? Today we are featuring tiny ads:
A rocket mass heater heats your home with one tenth the wood of a conventional wood stove
http://woodheat.net
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!