The last post was for young people starting their home building education in the real world. Today’s is for people who have been out there awhile and have a few miles on them. I am thinking of 25 to 35 year olds. I was 29 when I decided to build my first home. I had obligations, a job, bills, a mortgage and hardly any savings. Does that sound like you?
On the plus side, I had a few assets. I had a nice car that was almost payed off and a collection of stamps, coins, and other semi-precious items that I had saved from my youth. About one third of my little house was paid for and I had My Baby, a 10 1/2 foot long chopper (motorcycle) painted OSHA Safety Purple, that I had to ride after midnight because it attracted too much attention in the light of day.
I know you are ahead of me here and realize that I am going to tell you to sell off anything you have that is worth money. It hurts, I know, but console yourself with the thought that in a couple of years you will be able to buy a better…whatever it is. My Baby had to go. It was heartbreaking. I sold everything I could and it actually turned out to be a freeing experience. The person who said “He who owns little, is little owned” was right.
Anything you owe payments on should go next. I sold my nice little car and replaced it with an old pickup truck that I bought for a few hundred dollars. I estimated it would last two years (it lasted eight, great truck.) All the money went into the credit union because their interest rate was higher than a bank’s and I wanted their cooperation when I needed loans later.
Another area where I saved a surprising amount of money was by altering my entertainment and social life. When I wrote down what all that fun cost me I was shocked. I changed from movies, clubs and parties to long walks in the park and TV and popcorn dates. I got so disciplined about this that I limited myself to only two steady girlfriends. It was tough.
Everyone has different circumstances but the procedure is the same. Sell everything you can to lower your debts as drastically as possible (plus 10% more) and stash your money in an interest bearing account. All this should be accomplished during the first year, which is long enough to do it gracefully. You won’t have time to feel deprived because there will be plenty of interesting things happening to keep you occupied.
If you have a mortgage on a house you have options. I’ll go over those with you next time. For now, go sell something.
* * *
D. Chandler emailed today asking about a stucco finish over bricks on the outside of a house:
D., scroll down these posts to find several that cover just this subject. Yes, you can smear stucco onto exterior bricks but be prepared for the Masons when they come over and do a protest march in front of your house.