Jul 13, 2019

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Jul 6, 2019

Going off grid and debt free (part 2)

OUR 16 YEAR PLAN in a nutshell

Whats up everybody, my name is TimTheScarecrow and in this post ill be going over and breaking down my "16 year plan" for going off grid and becoming debt free mentioned in the last post.

So i know that right off the bat i've likely lost people the moment i said "16 years" because unfortunately the one big stereotype that millennials seem to live up to is that they cant see the bigger picture and only focus on things that offer instant gratification.

If the daunting timeline hasnt scared you off just yet then lets get this goin.

As i said in the last post, my ultimate goal is to be able to run the small homestead ive always wanted and still have both the time and money to work on my real passion projects in my studio. So two major things need to happen, i need to quit working for someone else, and i need to become debt free.
I recently got a friendly email from my mortgage lender claiming that if i were to add just 100 dollars extra to my monthly payments, ill be able to knock 20 years off my 30 year mortgage. So for just 1200 extra per year, i can become debt free in just 10 years!
Thats certainly doable, in fact i can pitch in more than that and likely get it paid off in just 5 years. But the problem with that is once i get the mortgage paid off, i'll still be living paycheck to paycheck, making sure all my other bills like electric and water dont go unpaid.
So in addition to overpaying on the mortgage, my wife and i have decided to take a big leap that should pay off greatly for us in the long run.
Our plan is to Pay off the mortgage as quick as possible, hopefully like i said in the next 5 to 8 years.

THEN once we get it paid off, we'll just keep writing down regular monthly mortgage payments in our little transactions register booklet. So even though i wont be spending hundreds of dollars a month on a mortgage anymore, we'll still be tricking ourselves into thinking we have less money than we actually do. And over time all that ghost money will add up. Its like putting money away into savings, except you're just leaving the money alone instead. And we'll just keep putting money back until we hit the 16 year mark.
Now the key things is that during this time, we'll be spending money in hopes to make more back.
at 16 years we'll sell the house, and if during our time here we can do things to make the value of the house go up, like installing central air, remodeling the kitchen and bathroom, and so on... we should be able to sell the house for more than what we paid for it.
Now the reason this is all a 16 year plan is because of our kids. We've got a 2nd grader, 1st grader, and twins in their terrible twos.
My wife and i both, as children, had to deal with parents moving us around year after year, never feeling comfortable or at home and never being able to make friends. We don't want that for our kids, we want them to know a stable home. So in 16 years the twins will be 18 and they will have the choice after graduation to move out on their own or move with us.
When we sell, we will have the money we get from selling PLUS whatever money we had "put back" over the years, which will be WAY more than enough to buy vacant land in the mountains and fund an off grid cabin build.
I should backtrack a little here because this really is a multi step/multi process plan. So not only are we overpaying the mortgage, holding money back, improving and selling the house, buying land and building a new home.... during this time i will hopefully sooner rather than later have completed the studio (needed as a home improvement task anyway) and gotten back to working on my passion projects. This will hopefully in turn generate its own profit through various sources like paying voice acting jobs, merch sales, patreon, and things like that. Realistically i know it wont be much. or at least as much as im currently earning now at my day job. But once we go off grid, it should be able to carry us quite a ways. There are other smaller things that can be done to generate income but ill discuss that more in the next post. I'll really break it down dollar for dollar in that one, do some real number crunching, so as to not be so vague.
I'll also discuss prices of land, building costs, location and designs in later posts aswell. 

Quick recap of the general plan layout, and ill try to put it into terms that more people can relate to.

Step 1. Find out what your passion is and decide whether or not thats something you could see yourself doing in a self employed fashion to earn an income.
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Step 2. Temporarily put everything else on hold and get your debts paid off as quick as you can. (watch the video in next post for budgeting tips and tricks)
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Step 3. See if there is anything actually holding you back, and if there is, set your timeline around it. Some things really are more important.
(for me its making sure my kids live a good healthy life in a stable home)
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Step 4. Improve your living space. Little remodeling projects here and there as you wait for your deadline really add to your homes value and if you're not careful, you may learn a trick or two along the way. ;D
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Step 5. If you now own your house and you're at a good point in life, sell it. Thats a huge amount of money up front to go along with any money you managed to save up after paying off your debts.
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Step 6. Find you dream location and buy it. No mortgages, just buy it, honestly, dont think of the distance, look at how much you now have in the bank and responsibly find a patch of land that is both where you want to be and still costs less than what you have. It may sound like a compromise, but trust me its not, land without a house built is a third of the price of land with a house already on it.
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Step 7. Build your new off grid home, for me i'll also be building several outbuildings that hold multiple purposes. A lot of people seem to confuse off grid with roughing it or camping. And i think thats what turns a lot of people off to it. But to be honest the "hard labor" and rustic look is just a choice for most people who go off grid. There are still many ways to make an off grid home just as luxurious as a modern home.
And i'll go into detail a little more on that in another post down the road.
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Step 8. Sit back and live. You've done it. No it wasn't a simple task, but the best things in life usually arent simple. Like i said, this isnt for those seeking instant gratification. But i'd like to think the endgame, being able to wake up when i want, go into my own studio that i built myself and make films and tell stories on my own time without having to worry about making rent, man... thats well worth it.

Jul 4, 2019

Going off grid and debt free (part 1)

INTRODUCTION

whats up everybody my name is timthescarecrow and if you already know who i am, hey, how you doin? ^.^

this blog series probably isnt for you. instead this is aimed more toward those of you who are interested in going off grid, reducing your footprint, becoming more self reliant and getting out from underneath a mortgage or maybe you're just sick and tired of paying rent.

i think before i get into laying out my plan and whatnot, ill give you a quick summary of who i am so you can better understand my motivations, where im coming from, and maybe even draw similarities to your own living situations.
lets start with the interesting bits... way back in 2014 i released my animated short film "welcome to normality" then in 2015 i released my 110page paperback comic "intervals of horrible sanity". So its safe to say im an "artist", i even do my own tattoos. then the following year (2016) at the ripe old age of 22 my wife and i moved out of our apartment and bought this little house out in the country.

Since then weve started beekeeping, raising chickens, ducks and all kinds of exotic pets, growing our own produce, and had plans to even get a couple goats and lamb. You know, anything we can to make the most of our new land. Its got a great sized yard for the kids to play in, and for me, the most exciting bit was this detached building i could use as an art studio once i fixed it up and made it usable of course.


But its been over 2 years now and the studio is just barely done. (still working on the exterior and a bit of touch up type work inside)


I could blame myself, you know, starting a project and trying to juggle that and becoming farmer tim and whatnot. But my problem here isnt just the lack of funds, its the lack of time. I currently work around 50 - 60 hours a week and only have a couple hours a day to spend at home and even then my time is compartmentalized. Just the other day i had to decide whether i was going to clean the bird coops when i got home or take a trip to the city to get feeder crickets for my scorpions before the sun went down.
I know it seems like ive stretched myself too thin, and yea in some ways i have. But i couldnt help but feel like there had to be a solution, there had to be some way to afford a little homestead AND still have time to work on all my film and art projects. You know the whole having cake and eating it too, bit.
When we started our little homesteading adventure, my wife and i ended up following a bunch of poeple online who offer an endless amount of knowledge about things like growing this and that, or how to raise bees and whatnot. and there was one key thing i couldnt help but notice about a lot of these people. There was a reason they were able to spend their days working their land and still have time to actually live their lives!
So naturally my wife and i over the past few months did (about a year now) some digging, tons of research into tons of things and came out the other end with what we're calling our "16 year plan" for going off grid and becoming debt free.
In this blog series i'll be going over this plan in great detail and post regular updates as progress is made.
If youve ever watched any of those docuserieseses about people living in their dream homes or whatever, you always see them AFTER theyve gone through the process. You only see them post-build. And they all say the same things too, you know? 

"i just saved up, worked hard and it payed off in the end"

I think it would be really beneficial to people who ACTUALLY want to take charge of their lives to see it happen in real time and im willing to share my process and progress.
So if you're thinking about going off grid or just becoming debt free but are nowhere near a comfortable place in your life to start... then i highly reccomend you stay tuned for the next few bits of this series. No, not cuz i need the followers or whatever, none of my posts are even monetized. But because i genuinely believe this series could really be of help since, like i said. its in real time and im offering more than just generic advice given AFTER its all said and done.
You can progress alongside me, and if you want you can go into the comment section and we could even bounce ideas off eachother.
Anywhich, the next post will go into detail about this "16 year plan" and should be out real soon, thanks for reading!