Suckin’ it in and synching it up

We have a dream. And a goal. And a plan. And all three of them will ferry us into our retirement years with ease and pleasure.

The dream
To buy a huge piece of property – one big enough for our whole family to live on, if they so desire – in either Georgia, Kentucky, Alabama, or Tennessee. I’m talking hundreds of acres. Sam has always dreamt of owning a hobby farm, and we’ve had a name picked out for our future farm for years. He’d like to raise a few miniatures – beef cattle, goats, and donkeys, plus he wants some chickens, a few wild hogs, wild turkeys and other game birds, a few adopted race horses, a pet menagerie, and of course, we’d still have to have a garden so we could have our own produce. My part of the dream includes a family compound – both of our children, my parents, and us all living on the same 160 acres (40 acres each so we’re not right on top of each other).

In these times of economic crisis we want to become as self-sufficient as possible. Now, we’re not talking about going all hippie or anything of that sort, simply because I like electricity and indoor plumbing way too much, but we want to be as independent as we can be and as free from government assistance and interference as possible. I know we’re not alone in this dream – my beautiful cousin, Brandi and her husband John share the same dream we do, and I know there are many others out there who feel the same way.

The goal
3 years (5 at the most); that’s our goal. Within our 3 year window, we’d like to have IOU NO MORE! off the ground and fully operational as a self-sustaining business and we’d also like to have all, or most of the money saved for the afore mentioned piece of property so we can pay cash for it (we don’t do debt). It’s a pretty ambitious goal we know, considering the price of land is still fairly expensive, but we believe that we’re gonna be able to find just the right property to meet our needs, and we’ll have just the right amount of money saved up for it when the time comes.

The plan
Save, save, save, save, save. Saving money is the name of our game. We have lived successfully on a budget for the past 7 years, but recently, Sam and I have been going over it with a fine tooth comb, looking for places where we can make adjustments and create additional savings, and so far we’ve come up with $5,443 a year in addition to what we’re already stashing away.

We’re fortunate that it’s just the two of us, so our expenses are mostly fixed – mortgage, insurance, and utilities. Since we don’t do debt (other than our mortgage), we don’t have to worry about being slowed down by monthly credit card payments or loan payments. And thankfully we don’t have any food allergies and we’re not picky eaters, so we can eat very cheaply.

We’re making adjustments where we can – I’m giving up my cell phone, we’ve agreed that we can turn off the A/C and open the windows, this winter we’re going to keep our heater turned down low – we have a fireplace and wood/artificial logs are much cheaper than natural gas, we’ve cut our vacation budget in half (we still have to see the grandchildren), we’ve decreased our grocery budget by a third, we’ve suspended our clothing and entertainment budgets, and we’ve agreed that any money we get back on our taxes (that’d be a miracle in itself) or in the form of bonuses will go straight into the ‘farm fun-d’ (after paying our tithe, of course). We’re committed to this 100%. As Dave Ramsey would say, we’ve got ‘gazelle intensity’, and he’s right.


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