Thursday, January 1, 2009

Homestead objectives (part III)

free as a birdThe third objective we have is to live debt free.

Yeah, we could do this where ever we might live, whether homesteading or not. In fact, that would be a good idea, and it’s what we would be doing, I believe.

I grew up in a family that was monetarily poor (we were rich in many other things and ways). Out of necessity, my parents had to manage their money carefully and well. Without even knowing it, I learned some things about money from them. I’ve not been one to go deeply into debt at any time, but I have utilized credit at different times. I worked my way through my first four years of college, graduating without any student loan debt. Anne and I were married shortly after I graduated, and we did accumulate a certain amount of credit card debt and used a personal loan to buy a used car. There were no student loans for my years in graduate school either, thankfully. But, we still seemed to carry a bit of credit card debt through the years.

In 1999 we obtained a 100% mortgage in order to buy a house. Shortly after that we began to get really serious about paying off all of our debts and to pay off our mortgage as quickly as possible. We formulated a 10-year plan in which to be completely out of debt, including our mortgage. At the end of that time, we were going to buy some property using our equity and begin our homesteading adventure. God had other ideas. He modified our plan, and it became a four year plan.

Buying our 57 acres was the beginning of truly having no debt. We were able to pay for the property completely with the equity we got out of our house in Illinois and with what we had saved. We had figured early on that one way to be able to homestead involved limiting our expenses. One of the biggest ones oftentimes is a mortgage. So, we didn’t even consider property that was beyond our means which would require borrowed money. Almost six years down the road, we take living without a mortgage for granted.

Debt isn’t even an option. We don’t have any credit cards. We did for a while, paying them off every month. We decided that we didn’t need them. If we want to buy something online or pay at the pump to fill up a vehicle, we can use our debit card. If we don’t have the money, we don’t try to get it from the bank, and we don’t put it on a card.

Debt seems to be a way of life for people all around us. How much of that borrowed money is spent on consumable items that don’t produce anything? Living beyond our means puts us into slavery; we owe part of our lives to the lender until its paid off. There are times when there are not many other options, I will admit, but as a way of life, it is not sustainable. Non-sustainability is a contrary goal to a homesteading objective.

When I walk on our place, I’m walking on my own dirt. I paid for it. Yeah, I have to pay property tax which is like paying rent to the government to “own” my own place, but that’s another issue. I count it a blessing to live debt free, and I thank God for leading us to see debt as slavery and to get out of it. It is much better and more peaceful to be free.

1-1-09 dawn



Great post! I've just read all your posts with the "debt free" label on it and I was surprised by the scarcity of comments concerning debt free living! I guess it really is an unpopular (or maybe convicting) idea for most folks.

I've thought about commenting on so many of your previous posts about different things, but I am refraining myself. This one rang so true that I felt compelled to comment.

I must say a hearty AMEN to your stand on debt free living! We went through a similar ordeal with credit cards and mortgage. We finally paid off our mortgage and have only been debt free for a couple of years now, and it has been so liberating to not have any credit card, mortgage payment, or car payments at all! God has truly blessed us.

But, we really need (or should I say want) to build a new home on our property. I would love to do it all debt free, but I don't know if we will be able to. There are several other projects that we need to do that will take money before we can really start the house. Our monetary resources are limited with just one modest income. (My wife stays home and homeschools the children.) We hope to begin the first stages of our house with no debt, but then I will be very much tempted to borrow to get it finished quicker.

Anyway, thanks for writing these entries. They have been a good reminder to me that I need to proceed with caution and be careful not to get over my head financially. I'm sure they have been a help to others, as well. We are not ready to build yet, so I still have time to continue to save up all I can toward achieving our goals.

(Ha, Ha! The word verification for this particular comment to post is the word "entice". That sums up the whole idea of debt!)

  © Blogger template 'Minimalist G' by 2008

Back to TOP