Feb 18, 2020

Going off grid and debt free UPDATE 2-18-2020

(in the next post i'll go into detail about the cabin types and my poor-mans blueprints, promise)

So things have changed (as they do)
This is the first major example of WHY i wanted to do this as a journey type blog, rather than a post-success wrap up post at the end of it. Toward the end of last year i became mostly blind in my right eye due to something having a field day with my cornea. I was working a high paying machining job and though i hadnt had any accidents, i didnt trust myself running big expensive and dangerous machines with almost no depth perception past about 4 feet. Being "kinda blind" is so weird. So even though the job was paying the bills, i ended up leaving that job and started what i THOUGHT was going to be a simple warehouse job prepping pallets for shipment. (like working truck at a grocery store but on a bigger scale) Turns out the job was NOT at all like that. It ended up being a desk job where i had to deal with numbers and packing slips, quantities, math, sitting, quiet, no physical activity, desk job, pencil pushing, suicidal thought inducing..... fuck.
I couldnt take it. Apparently i was one of the few people who could actually spot the difference in a numbers sequence test (taken during the application) and i was "too valuable" to be transferred over to where i was told id be working. -.-
I lasted a whole week at this desk job fam. Monday - Friday
Yesterday i got up and started to leave for work and nearly broke down crying, am i proud of it? Not particularly, but i honestly hated life for a solid week. I know the work is fine for some but... ugh anyway. I am now unemployed for the first time in my life since i turned 16.
My dad, who i recently reconnected with after 11 years (back in 2018), saw i was wanting to build an off grid cabin for my lady and i in Alaska, he knew about my 16year plan and gave me a suggestion.
We asked our kids how they felt about moving to Arizona. They couldn't be more excited. So heres where the plans change guys.
We are going to sell our house NOW. I looked up our house's listing on the Zillows and apparently 2020 saw a huge increase in general property values, so just based on our 2016 house listing, we're looking at roughly $101,000-$112,000. (we bought the house for $84,000)
A couple things to consider.
1. We still owe about $78,000 on the mortgage, so when we sell it, we won't be getting near as much back as we had planned to get 15 years from now.
2. The listing estimate DOESNT consider the brand new roof/gutters we're getting installed this week, the encapsulated crawlspace with the sump pump, dehumidifier and french drains we had installed in 2018, the big fence we put up for our bird yard or the fact that the studio is now more than just a skeleton with vinyl siding on it since i finished its interior. So chances are its worth quite a bit more than $112,000.
We are then going to take the money we get from selling the house and buy a patch of land down by my dads place. Buy, not take out a mortgage or lease, buy land. Then while we are building our OFF MUTHA LUVIN GRID (practice) dream home, we'll be staying with my dad and i'll be working alongside him. (he has his own home remodeling and landscaping business thats usually just him but he sometimes hires a few pairs of hands for bigger jobs)
Couple quick notes on this as a whole.
1. this off grid home will be MUCH bigger than the tiny cabin my wife and i have planned for Alaska.
2. My dad has all the proper licenses and whatsits to do legal beagle plumbing and wiring and he knows the building and zoning codes. Dude built his own house on his own afterall and its beautiful. (and big enough to put up my family of 6 without getting in the way) So he knows what hes doing and i shouldnt have to worry about my inexperience getting my family into trouble (with CPS or the city/state/county)  with him helping on the build.
3. Since we will be buying land and building the house ourselves and will be off-grid, instead of paying on this house til its done, saving for a couple years, then selling. Our new financial plan is to "not get stupid" with all the money i'll be saving by not paying a mortgage/rent or utilities. Saving about 80% of my income for the next 15 years? Should add up. Plus then we could sell that property. I know it won't be worth much in comparison, since off-grid properties, no matter how nice, are an icky thing to realtors and mortgage lenders.
4. My wife has been BEGGING me to move us down to Arizona ever since we went down there last year so she could meet my dad. Our son has severe allergy problems that went away while we were there (no kentucky bluegrass mold in teh air down there) and my wife's skin problems cleared up while we were there too. So our overall health and quality of life really do stand to gain from this uproot. Its just, changes are scary and this is A LOT of change all at once.
So our current steps? Fixing up minor things around the house. We've spent the last 3 days painting, selling most of our belongings, i crawled my weak ass under the house and fixed all the squeaky floorboards, etc. We're trying to be down to Arizona by the beginning of May (when school lets out).
I still have about $2,000 left to pay on the crawlspace and when they finish the roof ill owe them about $2,800. So i'll be hustling to get them paid off asap. We don't want to take much with us, so we really are selling just about everything. This'll help get the roof paid off, and then selling the house should cover the trip down there, the small trailer we'll need to haul our crap and pay for the patch of land we've got our eyes on.
Oh yeah! We've already set our sights on this 20acre lot for $27,000. If all goes well and the property looks nice in person, we should be buying that. If not, my dad said we can take as long as we need to find a place. (i really dont want to though. the idea of moving in with my dad at age 26 is painfully embarrassing and i'd really like to be back on my own two feet under my own roof before the year ends)
So yea, on top of all that we've already got 2 potential buyers for this house, we wont really know for sure until we get the house appraised how that'll turn out. But its looking like it'll be a quick sell.
Hmm... i guess technically we will be going off-grid and debt free a whole hell of a lot sooner than 15 years. But i won't be counting this. I keep referring to it as 'practice' since when we go to Alaska, i don't want to also be working to support our lives. I want to retire, grow some food, raise some bees and chickens, sit on the deck in the middle of the woods with a hot cup of coffee and watch the sun come up over the mountains. I want to watch the sparkle in my wife's eyes and know she is just as happy and content as i am. I want to hold her hand and not have a care in the world for anything else in that moment.
Down in Arizona i'll still have 4 young kids looking up to me, so i'll have to keep working and saving and making sure they have the what they want and need. Oh well, they're worth every second and i cant wait to watch them grow up in a healthy environment from the house that we built for ourselves.


  1. Dude, that is so awesome. Don't be embarrassed about moving in with your dad, it puts you at a massive advantage for your goals and it sounds like he has plenty of space for you guys to still live your lives without too much interference. His experience and knowledge with the building stuff will be SO helpful on your first build, and it's probably good to be within reasonable distance to someone you know while you are in those first years of living off-grid and working everything out. I really think if this all works out smoothly that it would be such a great way for you all to transition into that lifestyle and prepare you for your ultimate Alaska home while giving the kids and Mrs Scarecrow a healthier environment to flourish in. Such a drastic change in your plans is sure to be uncomfortable to think about, but just remember that fear and excitement are the same feeling. I am so pumped for you!

    P.S. Has there been any improvement in the eyesight? That's really scary and I really hope it's not just permanent damage. I don't think I have much in the way of depth perception either, but I was born with a dodgy eye so I think my brain has sort of figured out how to compensate for it. I sometimes wonder if I suddenly got real depth perception if I would be able to catch flies midair with a pair of chopsticks.

    1. Youre right, i just gotta keep positive. Its just a little hard for me to accept since ive been raising myself since i was like 11. And nah my eye is shot. When i first went to the doctor they said my eye looked like a white piece of hamburger meat where the tear is. So i got these steroid eye drops that healed it up really quick so the pain is mostly gone now. But where the damage was so extensive before it got healed, my cornea somehow built itself back up over the scar instead of healing with the scar. Lol it is what it is. If i got both eyes open i see just fine but depth perception is a bit shite. Its all good and thank you, for reminding me ill never catch flies with chopsticks again... thanks for that.