The recap from The Grand Dream, Part I:We have a dream, and we are working to make it a reality. The goal is to save enough money to buy a small piece of land, build a house, and eventually live a simple life taking care of our family, the land and our community… mortgage free and with very little outside income. Here is how we plan to make it happen!
|Some day...a nice piece of land for sale near Hayden, ID.|
First, a disclaimerI know that in the US there is a prevalent taboo about discussing any issues pertaining to money, especially in regards to talking about salaries and wages. While I understand that there may be many good reasons for this custom (such as the intention to avoid causing resentment and/or embarrassment), I also believe that it can also cause unintended harm. When people feel unable to discuss money, they are unable to learn from each other. We would never try to teach someone how to cook without telling them the amounts of each of the ingredients that you use, yet we often expect people to learn how to save, or invest, or to make important financial decisions without giving them specifics about how other people have made these decisions in the past.
For the story we are trying to tell, I believe that it is necessary for us to talk frankly about our finances. Otherwise talking about how we are are saving to buy a homestead and to live mortgage free would be vague and less than instructive.
So consider yourself warned...discussions of salaries and savings ahead!
Our timeline and benchmarksNow that Nathan and I have a dream that we are working towards we have also laid out a timeline to reach that goal. It includes both financial benchmarks and concrete steps that we need to take to stay on track. Below are our mini-goals to help us get there!
2011Kristy's Salary: Reed College Science Outreach Coordinator, $30,000
Nathan's Salary: Part-time Natural Resources Technician at Tualatin Hills Parks & Rec, $12,000
- Paid off student loans!
- Started Emergency Fund, (Goal $15,000)
Even though we hadn't formally started to work towards the homestead in 2011, I am grateful that we made some sound financial decisions that made it much easier for us to start. I had my student loans paid off almost within a year of graduating (due in large part because I only had $10K in debt and I was able to pay about $5K with an education award I earned after my AmeriCorps service). I am also glad that we started contributing to an emergency fund early!
(Note: both Nathan and I were also regularly contributing about 10% of our income to an IRA at this point, and I soon had a 401K through my employer as well; however, I don't plan to spend much time discussing these investments...but I am sure that I will be glad of them when I am older. I imagine even homesteaders want to slow down eventually!)
2012Kristy's Salary: Reed College Science Outreach Coordinator, $30,300
Nathan's Salary: Restoration Crew Member at Ashcreek Forest Management, $28,000
- Opened up an online high-yield savings account for the emergency fund..
- We started to make list of possible new home communities and visited Sequim, WA
This was mostly a year of gardening and learning. We kept putting away money in our emergency fund, and I put together a more detailed budget for us, but we didn't have a specific financial plan beyond that. I read Mortgage Free! in the fall of 2012...which is when we started to crunch the numbers and to lay out a plan.
2013Kristy's Salary: Reed College Science Outreach Coordinator, $30,300
Nathan's Salary: Field Representative Trainee at Ashcreek Forest Management (until Sept), $20,000 then a Botanic Technician at Portland Parks & Recreation (from mid-Sept), $13,500
- $15,000 Emergency Fund Completed
- Set-up a budget, timeline & goals to realize our dreams! Started cutting expenses.
- Narrowed the list of potential home communities and visited Bonners Ferry, ID.
- Started this blog to document the journey!
- Complete Land Fund ($45,000) by December for Nathan's 30th birthday.
- Start the House & Homestead Infrastructure Fund, (Goal $65,000)
- Decide which new community to call home.
- Begin investigating possible home business ventures.
- Begin land search for Nathan's 30th birthday.
- My parents retire...convince them that the homestead would be a nice place to retire! (We are also working to convince Nathan's parents by the time they retire).
- Continue saving...
- Buy land (if we find the right place!)
- Make frequent trips to observe the land in each season.
- Design a homestead plan (including plans for a tiny starter house project)
- Begin small homestead projects (building up soil fertility, adding/repairing fences etc.)
- Complete House & Infrastructure Fund ($65,000)
- Start First Year Cushion Fund ($15,000)... a fund to live on until income streams become more reliable
- Build a tiny practice starter house
- Start small infrastructure projects.
- Complete First Year Cushion Fund ($15,000)
- Quit our jobs and move to the homestead!*
2018 and beyondNext steps:
- Build up homestead (the adventure begins!)
- Begin building permanent house
- Build additional home businesses and income streams