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Venting

 
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32 going on 33 with bad credit and I have a bad job. I hate it takes money to go off grid and live off less. Even worse I'm in California.
Just venting guys.
Anyone else annoyed by their situation.
Question,if you feel like maybe going off grid is too g to takes years what other alternative have you thought of life style wise.
 
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https://wwoofusa.org/

Takes very little money to go off grid and live a minimalist lifestyle. The barrier is not money but our perceptions of reality. Why do we consider a particular situation good or bad? Why do we value what we value? Why do some things seem 'off the table' while others are 'must have'? The lens through which we see the world is the most powerful driver of our disposition and yet it is malleable.
 
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Justin Durango wrote:https://wwoofusa.org/

Takes very little money to go off grid and live a minimalist lifestyle. The barrier is not money but our perceptions of reality. Why do we consider a particular situation good or bad? Why do we value what we value? Why do some things seem 'off the table' while others are 'must have'? The lens through which we see the world is the most powerful driver of our disposition and yet it is malleable.



X2 for what Justin said!

My wife and I LOVED our six month WOOFing experience. We had to give it up in order to actually start a homestead. I WISH we had had the time to take a full year off and do a full season on a coffee plantation in Hawaii... all room and board, a year in HI, learning about farming, up to your eyeballs in delicious coffee... WOOFing can be amazing. And you're young :) I didn't start homesteading until I was 40. Before that I was a corporate slave. It was crushing my soul and I realized life was just plain too short for that BS... I'd rather struggle to make a living on my own terms than remain plugged into that system of "golden handcuffs."

You can WOOF for a week, two weeks, a month... months... a year. Whatever sounds good to you! Whatever you're curious about... look to see if you can find a host doing something that interests you in a place you'd like to visit. It can be an excuse to explore potential places to call home when you're ready to take that step.

You can always plug yourself back into the ratrace if that's what you have to do to survive. But that is just one way to survive :)

Chase your dreams! You're the only one who knows what's right for you. Trust yourself! You'll make a pile of mistakes, we all do. But the way I look at one should always TRY.  You can only succeed or have learning opportunities. What have you got to lose? ;)
 
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Even all those options require someone is debt-free, increasingly a mark of wealth in today's world.

Money is not my limiting factor, but I'm limited all the same. I'm the only child of 4 older parents (divorced & remarried) separated by 300 miles, one of whom has severe arthritis and is the primary caregiver for another who has a severe degenerative neurological disorder, and oh also the caregiver for my ancient grandpa. That means I spend a lot of time helping out my parents, often on a moment's notice. It means a lot of driving and a lot of living with baby boomers who produce incredible quantities of trash, smoke cigarettes, and generally live a lifestyle very different from my goals.

All that is to say I don't think aiming for a specific lifestyle/endpoint is all that it's made up to be. Just try and make the smaller decisions that you can with your current means. Maybe that means is money, maybe it's time, maybe it's freedom from responsibilities.  It's easy to watch a YouTube video of someone living a way you imagine would be great and be frustrated at everything in your way. But in my experience each of us have to find our own path.
 
Bobby Reynolds
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Kyle Neath wrote:Even all those options require someone is debt-free, increasingly a mark of wealth in today's world. ...



Ah debt... Indeed! Unless one wants to build a career in finance/investing (not likely many Permies are) or you're an entrepreneur trying to do a startup with a great business plan, avoiding debt is likely a great idea :)

And I second the idea of consciously avoiding falling into the trap of "The grass is always greener..."

Kyle Neath wrote:... But in my experience each of us have to find our own path.



Beautifully said!

A wise old man once told me: "You WILL have one chief asshole in your life. If you don't chose to fill that role yourself, someone else will."
 
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I remember sitting at a hearing, looking at my ex-wife on May 4th 2011 and telling her lawyer, through my lawyer that there was no way I could afford what they wanted me to pay. It was dire times and I saw no way out of the debt.

I never realized how many things would turn around. This is not pie in the sky kind of stuff, but I managed to pay her off in every way, and every time it was required. I also managed to get 161 more acres out of the deal as I did so, am now out of debt, retired 2 years ago and farm my farm full time. Not everything is rosy, I have cancer, and property taxes are killing us, but my new wife and i are very content at age 43 and 38 respectively.

There is always hope. Always. I have lived it...
 
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I love it when someone says that having money or the lack there of is NOT a barrier when you want to go off grid or develop a better, more Earth friendly life.

You can WOOF for a week, two weeks, a month... months... a year. Whatever sounds good to you! Whatever you're curious about... look to see if you can find a host doing something that interests you in a place you'd like to visit. It can be an excuse to explore potential places to call home when you're ready to take that step.  



You can't do that forever. There also isn't a lot of money (if any) in WOOFing so you can't save for your own land. Also, have you ever tried to take a "break" from the rat race to pursue your passion and then in a year, try to get back in? If you are older, it can take awhile to get a new job just to afford to pay for a place to live. If you don't inherit land/money you work your rear off to get it.

I know, the next thing an optimist will say is, "there are always people looking for others to come onto their land and help." Working closely with a person/persons on their land in the hopes they will have you stay permanently is just like a romantic relationship or any interpersonal relationship. Sometimes no matter how hard you want it to succeed, it doesn't. Personalities clash, someone gets emotionally hurt, sometimes you don't see eye-to-eye, etc. So, yes, there are persons who are willing to have you stay on their land and help. There just aren't that many, and we are all human. It's just easier for us to NOT get along than to get along.
 
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Steve,
There are hundreds, probably thousands, of places just begging for folks to come live with them permanently. You just have to do the research to find the right one for you. Spend time reading on ic.org. Or even just read the many "community" listings here on forums.  ~~~ Or, you can keep making excuses why getting on the land won't happen for you. Your choice.
 
pollinator
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Steven Willis wrote:I love it when someone says that having money or the lack there of is NOT a barrier when you want to go off grid or develop a better, more Earth friendly life.

You can WOOF for a week, two weeks, a month... months... a year. Whatever sounds good to you! Whatever you're curious about... look to see if you can find a host doing something that interests you in a place you'd like to visit. It can be an excuse to explore potential places to call home when you're ready to take that step.  



You can't do that forever. There also isn't a lot of money (if any) in WOOFing so you can't save for your own land. Also, have you ever tried to take a "break" from the rat race to pursue your passion and then in a year, try to get back in? If you are older, it can take awhile to get a new job just to afford to pay for a place to live. If you don't inherit land/money you work your rear off to get it.

I know, the next thing an optimist will say is, "there are always people looking for others to come onto their land and help." Working closely with a person/persons on their land in the hopes they will have you stay permanently is just like a romantic relationship or any interpersonal relationship. Sometimes no matter how hard you want it to succeed, it doesn't. Personalities clash, someone gets emotionally hurt, sometimes you don't see eye-to-eye, etc. So, yes, there are persons who are willing to have you stay on their land and help. There just aren't that many, and we are all human. It's just easier for us to NOT get along than to get along.



And the pessimist will tell you all the reasons that nothing will ever work out.  
 
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If a person doesn't care about their credit score, no amount of debt will tie them down when it's time to cut loose and move on. Bad credit? Oh well, no plans in the next couple years to borrow money or apply for a job where a credit score is required anyways!

It's true that if you plan to work with other people, you need to get along. That's true in any living situation or job, including WOOFing. When I visited Cob Cottage Company there were a couple volunteers living there who were learning to build with cob and getting free meals and were camping on-site for maybe a year or so, and then planned to go to some South American location to help build a cob structure for several months at least. Other visitors at the same time were travelling across the USA, volunteering here and there as they went, and one had spent a year in Italy working on a farm.

There's nothing saying a person HAS to settle down and leave this lifestyle if they are enjoying it. Perhaps a lot of younger people get into it as they learn what their real interests are in life and then move on to those interests. If your goal is to get your own land without any initial money and no desire to work multiple jobs, then you can search for offers that are out there to work on someone's property and be paid by getting a piece of it to live on and keep. Or you find additional jobs that don't conflict with your current work schedule to save up, unemployment is really low and there is work out there for the taking. When I got out of college about 25 years ago, my method to pay off all my debts was to get 3 jobs and work about 76 hours a week between them. I had a 9-5 M-F, 5:30-9:30 M-F, and 11-7am F-Sat. It sucked but it allowed me to get out of debt in less than a year and also save up enough for my first house down payment.

The early retirement extreme and Mr. Money Mustache sites have a variety of ways to save money by either increasing income or reducing expenses. Some ideas are easy and some are harder, many boil down to how determined a person is to reach a goal.
 
gardener
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Jim Fry wrote:Steve,
There are hundreds, probably thousands, of places just begging for folks to come live with them permanently. You just have to do the research to find the right one for you. Spend time reading on ic.org. Or even just read the many "community" listings here on forums.  ~~~ Or, you can keep making excuses why getting on the land won't happen for you. Your choice.



Before I got lucky, I was landless and wanted desperately to farm. I lived on an intentional community and loved it, but the community ended up dissolving because of unaddressed mental issues and personal clashes. It was very, very difficult to find another community. Sure, they exist in name, but very few are ideal places to live for anyone, let alone myself personally. I'm gay, on the autism spectrum, and religious. Many other people have similarly complex parts of themselves.


A lot of communities are religiously zealous, or are zealous preppers, or have visions for their farm and what they want to do that are different from what one might want. The community I lived on had advertised itself as wanting to farm, but really, when it came down to it, the other members (who I still love dearly) just wanted a very fancy and pretty, but very small, kitchen garden to show off to their friends from the city. They got anxious about a food forest or anything larger, as they wanted everything to be perfect.


Aaannnyway, I just would like to point out that it's easy to forget how difficult it really is these days for someone without land to acquire it. Even I forget it sometimes, and I just bought my place a few years ago. For someone who loves farming not having land is scary. You are then placed at other peoples' mercy and goodwill. It is a sad position to be in in a country which not too long ago had the tradition of buying a house and starting a family when one was in one's early 20's
 
Steven Willis
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Jim Fry wrote:Steve,
There are hundreds, probably thousands, of places just begging for folks to come live with them permanently. You just have to do the research to find the right one for you. Spend time reading on ic.org. Or even just read the many "community" listings here on forums.  ~~~ Or, you can keep making excuses why getting on the land won't happen for you. Your choice.



Yeah, that's a great idea, in theory. Thing is, the several I applied to do a test experience (see if we are a good fit, me and them, them and me) all rejected me because I lacked one quality they were looking primarily for.
I'm not female.
Four ic's I attempted to visit. Two responded with thanking me for my interest and how they were very glad I thought the community may be a good fit, however, currently the population of the community heavily leaned toward the "XY" chromosomes direction when the community  really needed and wanted more "XX" members. Seriously, they told me they were only accepting visits from female applicants.
A third responded with a thank you and they had a lot of applicants and will get back with me and never did. And a final one never responded.  

So, there are lot's of obstacles to even going that route.

On the positive note, I am currently at a point where I am searching for land to purchase and actually can. That's always been my goal.  So it is a win for me.
 
Trace Oswald
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Steven Willis wrote:

Jim Fry wrote:Steve,
There are hundreds, probably thousands, of places just begging for folks to come live with them permanently. You just have to do the research to find the right one for you. Spend time reading on ic.org. Or even just read the many "community" listings here on forums.  ~~~ Or, you can keep making excuses why getting on the land won't happen for you. Your choice.



Yeah, that's a great idea, in theory. Thing is, the several I applied to do a test experience (see if we are a good fit, me and them, them and me) all rejected me because I lacked one quality they were looking primarily for.
I'm not female.
Four ic's I attempted to visit. Two responded with thanking me for my interest and how they were very glad I thought the community may be a good fit, however, currently the population of the community heavily leaned toward the "XY" chromosomes direction when the community  really needed and wanted more "XX" members. Seriously, they told me they were only accepting visits from female applicants.
A third responded with a thank you and they had a lot of applicants and will get back with me and never did. And a final one never responded.  

So, there are lot's of obstacles to even going that route.

On the positive note, I am currently at a point where I am searching for land to purchase and actually can. That's always been my goal.  So it is a win for me.



The story goes that Edison had 1000 tries before making a lightbulb.  You tried 4 times.  

Regardless, good luck on your land search.  It seems things worked out for you.  My lady and I spent three years or so looking for the land we wanted.  We found a beautiful 80 acre spot that is now home.  Things work out if you keep at them.
 
Steven Willis
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Afternoon Mr. Oswald,

A quick but common misconception corrected. Edison did NOT invent the light bulb. ;o)

Though Thomas Edison is credited as the man who invented the lightbulb, this revolutionary technology was in fact developed by several inventors. It was Edison's innovation of an already existing system and his knack for self promotion that has led to what we "knew" of as the modern light bulb. (Knew because many of the bulbs used today no longer use filaments. An improvement in filaments was Edison's contribution.)

But you are right. I could have tried with religious based communities, except I am not in any way even spiritual so that won't work. Or maybe a vegan based community. Except I am not a vegan. Or perhaps a place where "family" is the most valued thing (family meaning children.) Except I do not want nor do I particularly enjoy children.  

You see where I am going here?

Thousands of intentional communities could be tried perhaps. Except many will not be a good fit. They could be in Europe and I am not ready to leave the country. Many on the ic.org website either do not yet exist or no longer exist. Many just want you to buy into a family community and many are very religious by design. It narrows the choices.

When I say I tried to  make contact with and set up a visit with four, I mean I did my due diligence and narrowed the field on purpose to find the best fit. This isn't throwing spaghetti at the wall. It requires a bit more before you reach out to the communities.

But yes, you and everyone are right that I can just apply to, as you said, to a "thousand" communities until one invites me to visit. Maybe, just maybe it would be something I could come to like one day even if it ends up being a group that is waiting for a comet to pass by the Earth and then catch a ride on a space ship hidden in it's tail?

Thanks for the words of encouragement.
 
Trace Oswald
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Steven Willis wrote:as you said, to a "thousand" communities until one invites me to visit. Maybe, just maybe it would be something I could come to like one day even if it ends up being a group that is waiting for a comet to pass by the Earth and then catch a ride on a space ship hidden in it's tail?

Thanks for the words of encouragement.



I don't want to turn this into something contentious, but for the record, I never mentioned anything about applying to a thousand communities.  I don't think your sarcastic comment about that cult was called for.  Regardless, my view on situations like this is as it has always been.  There is a saying that I think applies.  It goes something like "If you think you can do something you are right.  If you think you can't do something, you are right."  All my life I have watched people do things that "everyone" said they couldn't do.  And all my life I have seen people with untold numbers of reasons that they couldn't do whatever it was they said they wanted to do.  I believe that either mentality is a choice.
 
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Trace Oswald wrote: All my life I have watched people do things that "everyone" said they couldn't do.  And all my life I have seen people with untold numbers of reasons that they couldn't do whatever it was they said they wanted to do. .



There aren't many things more delicious than a challenge that someone has declared "impossible".
 
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ic.org    Intentional communities
Its an interesting site and I was surprised to see how many are in Australia.
Going back to the original post, if people make some better decisions about expenditure it is amazing how much money can be saved.
Once money has been saved, it can be used to develop a dream, whatever it is.
Even cutting back on one purchased coffee a day = $1460 @ $4

I love that statement

 "If you think you can do something you are right.  If you think you can't do something, you are right."  



I live by it and have had more good outcomes than bad outcomes from doing things people said would not work.
My default action is to try it, because at 72 years young I am determined to show by example.

The journey to a homesteading block may not be straight, but look at the Urban Gardener, who leases front and back yards, grows vegetables and sells some and pays rent with some
and saves the rest so he will purchase some land one day.

In my experience a change of thinking can produce a change of opportunities

 
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*Like the author of the original post, I would love to have a homestead too, and feel discouraged by my life's particular constraints. They are different than his constraints, but I feel trapped and disappointed as well.

*Unlike him, I have 1) excellent credit, 2) no debt (from my college days or credit cards!) other than 3) a mortgage on a house and small urban lot, and 4) I live in a part of the country that folks from other states are currently moving to as fast as they can.  

But I am not as grateful for these things as I feel like I should be!

I got to my lower-middle-class lifestyle in this charming Southern town by the guiding lights of hard work, intense focus/commitment, doing without, persisting through tough times, etc., --but...

...what was it all for, I ask myself today? I have an urban middle-class lifestyle now, and a lot of what goes with it, that no longer meshes with my values--values I have discovered through learning about Permaculture, etc., over the last few years.

I know: it's much easier to be angry at everything than to work hard at an important project in front of me, so I mustn't let that emotion sabotage my efforts to follow my current ideals. This quote I came across last year expresses exactly what I must do:    

As everyone knows, there are two ways to manage life. One is to make the best possible use of any situation in which we find ourselves. The other is to fight hard to make the situation itself better for us and for others less fortunate than we. Of course the best attitude, wisely complex, is to do both at the same time.

Dorothy Canfield Fisher, Our Young Folks  

I'm amassing quite a Permaculture/sustainable living library these days. I have plenty of ideas on the shelves for urban spaces, I just have to really do them!
 
pollinator
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I thought ten years ago that I knew how to handle money. I didn't. I knew how to SPEND money. At this point I could probably live on nothing, provided I could grow my food.

I will not go into debt, no matter what. "Debt is the currency of slaves." Money is NOT an end. It is a means to an end. If it's not a servant, it will be the master.

If you don't know how you're going to achieve your goals, look at your debt load, your obligations, and make a plan. Also look at your goals and decide what you really want. Do NOT let fear make your decisions for you. If you "fall off the wagon," re-evaluate and determine WHY. What was more important than your goals? Do your goals need to be adjusted, or can the thing that was momentarily more important be eliminated/controlled?

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us. (Marianne Williamson)
 
John C Daley
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Lauren, there is a counter view about debt worth considering.
You believe

"Debt is the currency of slaves."



It can be if you have the wrong sort of debt.
Good debt gives you a benefit such as getting a house with weekly payments less than any rent you would pay.
Bad debt is borrowing for a long holiday, buying a new car when a 3 year old car would suit
 
Lauren Ritz
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I understand your point. It was one line from a quote. The whole phrase is:

Gold is the currency of Kings
Silver is the currency of noblemen
Barter is the currency of peasants
Debt is the currency of slaves.

That's why it was in quotes.
 
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Lauren Ritz wrote:I understand your point. It was one line from a quote. The whole phrase is:

Gold is the currency of Kings
Silver is the currency of noblemen
Barter is the currency of peasants
Debt is the currency of slaves.

That's why it was in quotes.



Mortgage derived from Latin…. Mort (death) Gage (hold)…. Your first bill to be paid,  until paid off, otherwise your security/equity is taken from you. Yes
 
John C Daley
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there are lots of adverse comments about debt, and that may be the reason so many people are in financial trouble.
I am not a banker, but I worry when I hear those comments because it seems as if people have closed their minds to greater knowledge that may help them.
Almost like people choose not to drive Fords because their grandfathers mate had trouble in 1939 with one!!
 
master gardener
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John,

You make an excellent point.   There is also the issue of defining what debt is.  If I have $500,000 is savings and owe $40,000 on credit cards, am I in debt?    If I am making 8% a year on investments, should I take money out of my savings or borrow at 5% interest?  
 
Lauren Ritz
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I have a serious aversion to that line of thought. It leads inevitably to "OPM" thinking.

If you're using "Other People's Money" there's no risk and it's not debt. There's also a line of thinking that everything you have should be leveraged to the hilt to make MORE money.

I think this may be approaching cider press territory, so I'll shut up now.
 
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Lauren Ritz wrote:I have a serious aversion to that line of thought. It leads inevitably to "OPM" thinking.

If you're using "Other People's Money" there's no risk and it's not debt. There's also a line of thinking that everything you have should be leveraged to the hilt to make MORE money.

I think this may be approaching cider press territory, so I'll shut up now.



I don't think it's an either/or proposition. I'm definitely never going to go the route of leveraging "to the hilt" to make more money, but to John's point, it's also realistic to treat money as a math problem, not from an emotional point of view. Debt free is great, I did it for many, many years. There are still times I don't believe it is the best course. I bought a tractor a year or so ago on a no interest deal. I have enough money in a mutual fund to pay it off today, or, to have paid cash for it upfront. But would that make sense? The mutual fund is making 18%. It seems a bad idea to take money making 18% and use it to pay off a 0% loan. The secret is not to "spend the same money twice". I know people that twist my reasoning to go far into debt because, for each new loan, they reason that they could pay it off if they needed to. That is fine until you can pay off any one loan if you need to, but you have three or four of those loans.
 
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I have an MBA.  Money is a math problem - period.  Most people don't understand the math behind it, so it scares them.   At the end of the day, its about the VALUE that the decision drives for you.  If you have to buy that thing on credit, then part of its value proposition that needs to be considered is the interest on the purchase price.  $800 in credit card debt at 20% APR will take 19 months to pay off at $50 per month.  That adds another $150 to price.  Is that still a good deal?  Does it still provide sufficient value to justify its purchase?  

There are two really common issues that most people have when judging value.  Time-value of money and sunk cost fallacy.

Time value of money takes a few forms.
  • Form One - "If I do this myself, I can save money." but the job in question could be hired out at $15 an hour while you can work and make $50 an hour doing something else.  Where's the value here?  
  • Form Two - Your money today will never be more valuable than it is right at this moment.   Taxes and inflation have both trended upward for centuries.  Both of these things shrink the value of your money.  
  • Form Two A - Taxes - Most retirement plans are a bit of cheat.  Deposit now and pay taxes when you withdraw it.  I can't think of a single time in the history of planet earth that taxes have actually gone down.  You're actually better off paying the taxes upfront on your retirement funds.  (ROTH vs Conventional IRA).  Then you can live in 2050 with income that was covered by 2010 taxes
  • Form Two B - Inflation - Inflation is so high right now I don't know that it's possible to invest well enough to cover it.  I'm seeing inflation figures on basic necessities that are over 20% and even 30%.


  • Sunk Cost Fallacy - "We've spent so much on X, that we can't just throw it away."  Yes... Yes, you can and it's highly probable that you should. In a nutshell, "Don't throw good money after bad."  Don't become emotionally attached to/invested in your projects.  If its not working out, don't be afraid to scrap it even if it is a big ticket spend.  Dumping more cash on something that's just not working out is probably not the best idea.  Cut your losses and move along to something that might actually turn a profit.  


    My notes on debt -
  • OPM is always debt even if its just the use of something like land or a tractor.  If someone loans you equipment, if its damaged by your use, you should repair it.
  • Student Loans, Pay Day Loans, and Credit Cards were created by Satan himself.  Especially the Pay Day loans.
  • If you have student loans, stay in school.  If you're still a full time student when you die, you win.
  • If you do purchase on credit, pay attention to interest rates and conditions.  If that 0% offer includes a "pay on time" clause, you'd best be enrolling in autopay.  Having a tractor is hugely helpful, but not everyone has the cash to splash out to buy one.  Offers are available for tractor & implement packages, which can be unbelievably helpful and labor-saving.   If buying that tractor and paying $700 a month for it saves you $1000 a month in time/labor, then buying the tractor is a good deal.
  • Avoid credit card debt - the interest rates are killer and you can get into a cascading default situation (default on one card means that they all default).
  • If you can "Snowball" your credit cards, you can pay them off faster.  Pick one with the smallest balance and highest interest rate.  Pay it off.  When its paid off, take its old minimum monthly payment and apply that the card with the 2nd highest interest rate and smallest balance.  With Card1 and Card2 paid, take those old payment amounts and start paying off Card3.  When all the cards are paid off, start on the other debt like car loans, mortgages, etc. You can clear a lot of debt in a short time using the Snowball technique.  
  • Don't be afraid to take out a personal loan to reduce your interest rate and then pay the loan off.  Important Note for this: STOP using the cards.  
  • Small business loans aren't the devil.  They can be hard to get.  You'll have to have a business plan and create a lot of other documents but it can be enough to get you started.  For most of us, developing a relationship with a land bank may be a very good idea.  They're used to dealing with agricultural loans and agri-business loans where your regular retail bank will likely have no experience and thus decline.  
  •  
    Lauren Ritz
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    The problem is, for MOST people, it doesn't work this way. Credit cards are the largest form of debt (next to government debt) and few people pay them off every month. Even fewer stop using the cards when they get that "consolidation" loan, and end up taking out another loan, and another, and another, each time promising themselves that THIS time...

    I see all these arguments FOR debt, but taking human nature into account there are few people who can be trusted with it. "I'll gladly pay you Thursday for a hamburger today" is normal. That is most people. And I know, it's cultural training, blah, blah, but it's still most people. The willingness to put up with a 20% interest rate on a car because it's "the right color." The vacation in Hawaii. The "I want" reflex is well exercised in our society.

    A house is an asset. But how many people get roped into a loan they can't afford because they have to keep up with the Jones's? Wasn't that what created the 2008 crash? A car is a depreciating asset, always worth less than you paid. And yet how many people have two or three cars and consider themselves ahead? It's an "asset." It's "for the business." It's asinine.

    Human nature is not ready for the realities of credit.

    I have friends who can barely afford to eat because they needed the right car, and the right house, in the right neighborhood, near the right schools. Other friends WANT a lot of things but can't afford them so they rack up the credit cards.

    I have no debt, I paid cash for my car, etc. Not because I make a lot of money. I don't. It's because I govern my money. It does not govern me.
     
    Lisa Sampson
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    Lauren Ritz wrote:I have friends who can barely afford to eat because they needed the right car, and the right house, in the right neighborhood, near the right schools. Other friends WANT a lot of things but can't afford them so they rack up the credit cards.  



    If you've pushed the limits so far that you can't afford food, then maybe you NEED to go a little hungry as a reality check.  Sometimes the toddler has to touch the stove to find out its hot.  Some just won't believe you.  You cannot force people to be sensible and a certain portion of the population has to learn things the hard way.   If you're that strapped, then this Kronos ransom ware that's going to disrupt paychecks for weeks might just smack some sense in you.  

    We don't raise children to be fiscally responsible.  Economics and Finance is another one of those classes that we ejected from the curriculum when "no child left behind" really meant dropping the bar so low that 90% of the population could trip over it.  It left with Physics, Trigonometry, Calculus, Government, Civics, History, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Programming, Metal Shop, Wood Shop, etc.  

    That housing crisis came from low-doc and no-doc loans which were shady AF and then secured with even more shady credit card debt.  You could walk into a real estate agent's office, and just write down a number of a sheet of paper that was supposed to be your annual income and they'd loan $500K+ based on a scribble on a post it note!    Here's the flip side of that.  If you owed more than your foreclosed house sold for, you had to pay income tax on the difference.  (Paid $500K, Still Owe $480K, House Sells $400K, You get to claim another $80K of income for the year.)  The IRS doesn't play when it comes to collecting on that kind of stuff.  In a lot of cases, bankruptcy doesn't even wipe it out.  Anyone who was stupid and/or greedy enough think this was going to work OK got served, but then this goes back to whole thing about Government, Civics, Math, Economics and Finance.  

    Having a vehicle for a business is legitimate for a lot of people.  There is family that lives near me that does dry wall work.  They own a quite nice crew cab pickup in order to haul employees, equipment, and materials to job sites.  No, it is not new and if it's like their last truck, it will be driven until the wheels fall off before they buy another one.  The welder down the road recently dropped quite a nice bit of cabbage on a new rig.  Considering his annual income from his business, its not asinine.  It lets him continue to work but has some upgrades to help him some issues he's having now that he's aging a bit.  If you get a Maserati for your Lula Roe or Herbalife or Vorwork or whatever, then you're being stupid and/or greedy.  

    Personally, I attribute a lot of this to participation trophies.  
     
    Trace Oswald
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    Lauren Ritz wrote:The problem is, for MOST people, it doesn't work this way. Credit cards are the largest form of debt (next to government debt) and few people pay them off every month. Even fewer stop using the cards when they get that "consolidation" loan, and end up taking out another loan, and another, and another, each time promising themselves that THIS time...

    I see all these arguments FOR debt, but taking human nature into account there are few people who can be trusted with it. "I'll gladly pay you Thursday for a hamburger today" is normal. That is most people. And I know, it's cultural training, blah, blah, but it's still most people. The willingness to put up with a 20% interest rate on a car because it's "the right color." The vacation in Hawaii. The "I want" reflex is well exercised in our society.



    There are a lot of huge sweeping generalities here that I just don't believe are true. I don't believe MOST people live that way, and I know lots of people, myself included, that pay off their credit cards every month. I only use credit cards because they pay me cash back on things I am going to buy anyway.  Like most things, I think this is a bell curve. A small percentage of people are terrible with money, a small percentage are perfect with money, and the rest of us are on a continuum in the middle.  Some people just need some basic things pointed out to them to see the sense in it. I wonder how many people realize they are throwing away money on every single purchase they make because they DON'T use a credit card? If you tell people about things like this, sure, some people will run up a bunch of debt using credit cards, but I believe many will realize they can save another percent or two using a credit card as long as they pay it off, and will incorporate that into their lives. I guess I think people deserve more credit for being responsible than you are giving them.
     
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    It's also possible for people to change their money style and learn financial sense.

    I used to be frequently in debt from living outside my means, maxed out on a bunch of credit cards. Then once it got so I was barely making the minimum payments each month on a handful of cards, I'd go crazy frugal until I'd gotten the debts paid off.  Must have done that cycle three or four times, deeper in debt each time, before I finally stayed debt free for an extended period.

    By "debt-free" I mean no debt that rolls over from month to month. I do have a couple of credit cards, ones that give cashback or other bonuses, but they get paid off in full monthly, and I keep a close watch on what I owe. If there's not going to be enough money in the everyday bank account to pay those in full, I stop spending rather than dip into savings. I'll also use interest free loans for necessary larger expenditures, provided the item isn't priced more expensive to hide the cost of the loan, and making sure they're paid off in full before the end of the interest free period. I still spend more than I should and save less than I'd like to, but I'm not in debt. I make sure I never pay interest.

    The biggest things that helped me were keeping a spending diary for a few months to track exactly where my money went, using the technique Lisa described to pay off higher-interest debt first, and doing a personal finances balance sheet monthly, which I still do. It's satisfying seeing debt reduce and then savings grow! But it took me a long time and a fair bit of financial pain to get to this point.
     
    John C Daley
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    Lisa, thanks for the great presentation.
    Luara, I think you are confusing peoples use of debt and their attitude to spending money as being the same thing.
    DEBT by itself is not destructive, does not cause buildings to fall down or turn people into alcoholics.
    BUT, peoples attitude about how they spend money can cause all those problems.

    As Lisa says, we dont teach fiscal management, and yesterday I heard about the difficulties now when so little cash is used, how do toddlers etc learn to save and spend when there is nothing in their hands?
     
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    Hello Everyone,
    No, this should not go into the Cider Press! It should be compressed into a zip file and sent to every email inbox around the world! Every high school kid should have to read it and write a report on it! And no one should be allowed to get a credit card until they receive an MBA! This is one of the best threads I have ever read. Each of you shared your experiences, your knowledge and your hard earned wisdom! It is excellent. Osman opened a great can of worms!  Please don't stop. Give some serious thought to what was said and add to it if you can in any direction. Please?

    If any of you have read my post in 'Permaculture Victories' you know that I rent out 3 of my rooms to low income people and try to teach young people (anyone under 60!) about sustainability, responsibility and reasonableness. It's worth a quick read if you haven't seen it. And I hate to say it but all the things that have been written about here have never even crossed their minds. When I tell them that it took me 26 years of hard work and agonizing effort to finally buy my own home MANY of them said that.... if they wanted something, they wouldn't wait 26 seconds to get it!!! Not kidding! I thought that most people were somewhat responsible but based on all the people I've rented to in the last 11 years I think maybe I was wrong. I know I sound like my grandmother when I say “What is this world coming to?”

    For several years I used to take my overabundance of extra heirloom, organic produce from my garden to the local food bank to share with 'less fortunate' people. I stood in line with them every Wednesday morning dropping off as they were picking up. I saw the same people every week. And then one day I just happened to notice that so many people were talking on expensive cell phones. And I noticed 2 young kids playing video games on their expensive cell phones while they waited for their mother to pick up supplies! And that day another lady in the parking lot was complaining that the back up camera in her expensive car wasn't working right! I was just stunned. I was trying to help these 'unfortunate' people coming to the Food Bank for a hand out. When in fact, I have a cheap $20.00 Track phone that I bought 11 years ago and buy my minutes which are all very precious to me, I drive a 25 year old pickup and I usually survive on $15,000 a year or less! I decided I didn't need to be subsidizing them.

    Every one of your posts have been insightful and thought provoking and incredibly wise.  Please keep sharing so we can all learn from your experiences.  Please... keep adding to it!
     
    Trace Oswald
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    Debbie Ann wrote:
    If any of you have read my post in 'Permaculture Victories' you know that I rent out 3 of my rooms to low income people and try to teach young people (anyone under 60!) about sustainability, responsibility and reasonableness...

    ... I thought that most people were somewhat responsible but...

    ... to the local food bank to share with 'less fortunate' people. I stood in line with them every Wednesday morning dropping off as they were picking up. I saw the same people every week...



    Debbie, I think that the very fact that you are doing a kind and charitable thing, is the same thing that may be skewing your point of view in the direction of thinking most people are not very responsible. Many, many people have found themselves in circumstances where low income housing or food banks may be just what they need to get them back on their feet. You won't see those people at your food bank for an extended period. But I think you've seen first hand that there will always be some that never seem to be able to get on track. As you said, you see some of them every week, and probably always will.  Those people become the ones you most remember, simply because you see them the most.

    I look at it this way. It sounds as if you spend a lot of your free time helping people that are disadvantaged in some way. If you are surrounded by people that are having money problems much of the time, it is bound to lead you to believe lots of people having money problems. If you spent much of your free time on hiking trails, you would most likely think most people are in good shape and enjoy the outdoors. If you volunteered at a library, most people like to read.  If you loved art classes and museums, you may have a tendency to think most people are artistic. That has been my experience anyway. That's why I try to interact with positive people that don't have time for gossip and negativity. I find that moods and outlooks, good or bad, are contagious,and I know which I prefer to catch 🙂
     
    Lauren Ritz
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    Trace Oswald wrote:It sounds as if you spend a lot of your free time helping people that are disadvantaged in some way. If you are surrounded by people that are having money problems much of the time, it is bound to lead you to believe lots of people having money problems.


    Hm. In my case most of these are "professionals" who are making quite a good living. If they lived within their means, they'd be set. They choose not to.
     
    Lauren Ritz
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    Trace Oswald wrote:I wonder how many people realize they are throwing away money on every single purchase they make because they DON'T use a credit card?

    Meh. So you get 1% back, the credit card company makes 3-6% on the same purchase, and the merchant marks up their product by 6% to cover the credit card fee. Who's winning here?
     
    Lauren Ritz
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    Debbie Ann wrote:Hello Everyone,
    No, this should not go into the Cider Press! It should be compressed into a zip file and sent to every email inbox around the world! Every high school kid should have to read it and write a report on it! And no one should be allowed to get a credit card until they receive an MBA! This is one of the best threads I have ever read. Each of you shared your experiences, your knowledge and your hard earned wisdom! It is excellent. Osman opened a great can of worms!  Please don't stop. Give some serious thought to what was said and add to it if you can in any direction. Please?

    When I have talked about this on other forums, it got acrimonious, at the very least. I've had people viciously attack me for NOT choosing to use credit. Most of them were deep in debt. I guess this forum has an exceptionally mature population. : )

    Which also might explain Trace's point of view:

    Trace Oswald wrote:Debbie, I think that the very fact that you are doing a kind and charitable thing, is the same thing that may be skewing your point of view in the direction of thinking most people are not very responsible.

     
    Trace Oswald
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    Lauren Ritz wrote:

    Trace Oswald wrote:I wonder how many people realize they are throwing away money on every single purchase they make because they DON'T use a credit card?

    Meh. So you get 1% back, the credit card company makes 3-6% on the same purchase, and the merchant marks up their product by 6% to cover the credit card fee. Who's winning here?



    I don't know if there is any reason to be dismissive. I don't think I have been, I've simply given my opinion. Regardless, I get 5% back in the store I got the card from, 3% back when I buy gas, and 1% on other purchases. That matters to me. Stores are actually charged between 1.5 and 2.5%. I don't know what percentage of people use credit cards currently, but I don't believe I'd half of them suddenly started using cash, the stores would lower their prices. Maybe I'm wrong.

    I believe that people should live their lives as they see fit. If you have decided that credit is a terrible thing and no one should ever use it, I'm not the one to try to dissuade you from your point of view.

     
    Lauren Ritz
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    It was not intended to be dismissive, and I apologize. The credit card companies always make more than you get back.

    And no, I do not object to the use of credit if it's used responsibly. Unfortunately, in my experience (online and off, and most of the people who are in debt up to their eyeballs make a great deal more than I do) few people use it responsibly.
     
    Trace Oswald
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    Lauren Ritz wrote:It was not intended to be dismissive, and I apologize. The credit card companies always make more than you get back.

    And no, I do not object to the use of credit if it's used responsibly. Unfortunately, in my experience (online and off, and most of the people who are in debt up to their eyeballs make a great deal more than I do) few people use it responsibly.



    Apology accepted, and thank you for saying so.
     
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