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live on a farm and have your mortgage paid for by others

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14191
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Last night I posted this podcast with Alexia Allen.  Loaded with excellent information. 

I posted a link to http://www.reddit.com/r/Frugal/ where it quickly got upvoted and then a mod there deleted it because it didn't contain any information about frugality.

Most people work at a job that they hate day after day to pay for a scenario (house/car/food) so they can have a job. I think Alexia has taken a strategy so that she doesn't have to go to work anymore. And it is entirely by taking frugality to an extreme. She is now cash positive without having to work.

To me, this is beyond huge.  I think this could be the most awesome example of frugality ever.

It seems to me that people will spend huge amounts of time figuring out how to save $3 to $40 per year.  They will sacrifice dozens of little things for an annual savings of $400.  And here is an example of $24,000 per year.

Further, while this is an idea that a lot of people would reject, there are some that would simply label it as "too challenging" - but then the way that Alexia has approached it might be a template to take it from "too challenging" to "worth trying".

Am I the only one that thinks that what Alexia is doing is a template for massive life awesomeness through extreme frugality?


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paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14191
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I didn't get the exact numbers, but it seems to me that Alexia has rent from housemates coming in that is larger than the mortgage+taxes+insurance+etc.  The downside is that she doesn't have her own bedroom.  But her bedroom was going unused anyway because she loved sleeping under the stars so much.

I have heard of other people doing similar things, but keeping a bedroom for themselves. 

The trick is:  do you want to live with others?  Can you live with others?  Without stabbing them?  It seems that Alexia is doing this.  I find it worth trying to understand what she is doing so that we all might find a way to replicate this.

Some people might say "I can't live like that" but then head off to 40 hours of work per week being a servant in order to pay for their lifestyle.


Jami McBride
volunteer

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 1760
    
    3
Where is her 'story'?  As you say that info was removed from reddit, so can it be reposted entirely here?

I'd like to know the details....
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14191
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Her story is in the podcast.

The submission that was deleted from reddit can be found here.  My new reddit submission is here.
jacque greenleaf
volunteer

Joined: Jan 21, 2009
Posts: 458
Location: Underwood, WA (USDA zone 7, Sunset zone 3) - in the Columbia Gorge highlands
How to cut down on your monthly living expenses *is not* information about frugality? Who knew? (scratches head...)
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14191
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
How about:  if you cut and cut and cut some more, eventually your expenses are converted to income.
Abe Coley


Joined: Nov 13, 2010
Posts: 76
Location: Missoula, MT
    
    1
i used this method (benevolent dictator renting out their space) to pay the rent and utilities on a 4400 sqft industrial art studio that i operated for about three years. renting space is a great way to pay the bills, and if you have enough space, rent income can be more than enough to pay the bills (as seems to be the case with alexia allen). if you have the $$$ to get things started, or if you have a group of friends who each have a little bit of money to help get it started (as was my case), the influx of fresh people can keep it going indefinitely. and a fresh influx of people can be generated by regularly hosting community activities (in my case, live performances of punk, metal, and noise bands).

one helpful thing was that i didn't require anyone to pay a security deposit, which made it a whole lot easier for most people to afford, cause then they weren't shelling out double for the first month.

being a landlord, however, isn't the most pleasant of occupations. It's probably different operating a farm, but operating an art studio had certain drawbacks, the primary ones being that artists are poor and often of flaky character. if i were to be renting cohabitated space for living and farming, i would want to be super-selective of the people i rent to. Like with art space, renting to a bunch of alcoholic underage kids who pretend to be a band was a bad idea. Similarly, i imagine that renting living/farming space to a bunch of druggy hippies who pretend to be farmers is also a bad idea. If you bring in good people who do good things, it just snowballs the positive elements. If you bring in bad people who do bad things, it snowballs the negative elements.

if you're willing to take on the personal responsibility, the benevolent dictatorship model really works well for this kind of thing. it is especially helpful if you can be very clear up front about what the expectations are, even more helpful if you present each renter with a printed list rules and expectations when they join up.


My gig: http://www.homeresource.org
Me: http://www.abecoley.com
Jami McBride
volunteer

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 1760
    
    3
I think off-setting of monthly expenses by sharing is very frugal.
bhartnell McCoy


Joined: Nov 01, 2011
Posts: 1
Bottom line is "frugality" is being creative about cash flow. I have two houses on my property. I live in the little one and rent out the big one. The income pays the property taxes, insurance and I live there free plus it gives me income to cover some of my expenses. By raising some of my food and buying second hand I can live happily without going to "work" in a life draining office in town every day.
Dale Hodgins
pollinator

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 3511
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
    
  40
  In order to expedite the removal of undesirables I will only rent to those who work for me in some way. In British Columbia it can take months to remove even the worst tennants with a usual cost exceeding $1,000 plus the lost rent that is never worth pursuing.

    If the tennancy is attached to an on site job they are deemed residential employees or farm hands and they can't pull a squatter routine as often happens with cheap appartments in the city.

  My worst tennant ever had the best references ever.  He worked for a childrens charity and everyone I called spoke highly of him.But it was all a lie.The references were partners in crime who had been coached. The charity dosen't exist and he's been on the news a few times concerning his lucrative frauds.

  He sells Meth,uses Ketamine and spent several evenings naked on my lawn, gurggling. He is 36 and produced a child with a 15 yr old girl. I had several visits from the police where they warned me to not infringe on his right to enjoy his room.  He lived there for 3 months and only paid for the first two weeks.

  That's what left wing politics has done for B.C.


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Jocelyn Campbell
steward

Joined: Nov 09, 2008
Posts: 2231
Location: Missoula, MT
    
  38
bhartnell wrote:
Bottom line is "frugality" is being creative about cash flow. I have two houses on my property. I live in the little one and rent out the big one. The income pays the property taxes, insurance and I live there free plus it gives me income to cover some of my expenses. By raising some of my food and buying second hand I can live happily without going to "work" in a life draining office in town every day.


Cool--the renters are separate! I imagine a lot of folks might prefer that to sharing their home by renting rooms.


Abe wrote:
i used this method (benevolent dictator renting out their space) to pay the rent and utilities on a 4400 sqft industrial art studio that i operated for about three years. renting space is a great way to pay the bills, and if you have enough space, rent income can be more than enough to pay the bills (as seems to be the case with alexia allen). if you have the $$$ to get things started, or if you have a group of friends who each have a little bit of money to help get it started (as was my case), the influx of fresh people can keep it going indefinitely. and a fresh influx of people can be generated by regularly hosting community activities (in my case, live performances of punk, metal, and noise bands).


Nice to have a non-farm model, too. I'm seeing more and more layering of multiple types of businesses and small farms are becoming so much more adept at agri-tourism that I can see cross-overs here.

In my town, a large granite slab supplier has offered to share its huge, open, chic slab showroom with the local community theatre. It's a true win-win and stacking functions of the building.


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Ken Peavey
steward

Joined: Dec 21, 2009
Posts: 2057
Location: FL
    
  43
Back in the day when we had nothing, me and a buddy rented a 4 bedroom apartment.  We rented 2 of the rooms for 100/week per room, utilities included.  This was enough to pay the rent, the light bill, cable TV, oil for heat in the winter, and a couple of kegs on the 4th of July.  A large time was had by all.  We worked in restaurants so there was never a shortage of people with cash from tips who needed a place.

About 4 years ago I brought in a coworker who was down on his luck.  I let him stay in the camper for free, just help with the yardwork and do a bit of housekeeping.  He made little contribution to the lawn or housekeeping, ate my food, spent my change, drank my booze, and robbed me blind.  I helped him pack his things while he was at work one night.

Renting a room is about the fastest way to generate income.  It's certainly faster than growing green peppers.  I've got a couple of spare rooms here, but after being stung last time, I'm hesitant to move someone in. 

The next option is to rent a room outside of the house.  I've got that garage out there.  I intend to add a bathroom.  This is practical considering I'm putting together a Pick Your Own farm.  I also intend to renovate the garage into a commercial kitchen.  With a bathroom and kitchen in place, I could build a shed suitable for housing.  No plumbing, no appliances-that will be in place in the garage.  I figure 12 wide by 16 to 24 feet long would be ample space for sleeping and living room.  They have their own space, I maintain privacy and security.

To rent an apartment around here will run you 450/month for an unremarkable but acceptably maintained 2BR unit.  Add a water/sewer bill of 100/month, electric of 100-150/month, you end up coughing up 700/month.  For a single person working for wages, that's a hefty chunk of change. 

I've crunched some numbers.  If I had a bathroom, shower room, washing machine, and kitchen in place, build a shed for about $5k, I could could probably rent it out for $150/week, including all utilities.  And cable.  And groceries.  About 4 such roommates would cover my all my expenses, even with increased electrical use and food consumption.  The big advantage the farm offers is fresh produce and eggs at no cost.  If I were home all the time, I'm sure some meat could be added to the grocery list. 

Only 4 people are needed to set me free.  Add on a 5th boarder, perhaps I could trade room and board for some help around the place. 

Anyone need a room?

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nancy sutton
volunteer

Joined: Feb 22, 2010
Posts: 281
Location: Federal Way, WA - Western Washington (Zone 8 - temperate maritime)
    
    2
I thought Alexia taught at the Wilderness Awareness School which would be some additional income.  But as adaptable and ingenious as she is, she could probably survive happily without it


It's time to get positive about negative thinking    -Art Donnelly
Jocelyn Campbell
steward

Joined: Nov 09, 2008
Posts: 2231
Location: Missoula, MT
    
  38
nancy sutton wrote:
I thought Alexia taught at the Wilderness Awareness School which would be some additional income.   But as adaptable and ingenious as she is, she could probably survive happily without it


My understanding is that Alexia was a full time teacher at WAS, though no longer holds that position. She might still teach there in a more limited or occasional capacity (and is definitely involved in the WAS community) but no longer has that as a primary income.
Dan Wallace


Joined: May 27, 2010
Posts: 41
I bought a home in urban N. California with the intent to rent out the bedrooms to pay for the mortgage. It's worked out well, the rental market is strong. My mortgage is $1470 and my income from housemates is $1815

It's by no means a free ride, there's always maintenance to be done and you play a managerial role but it is huge in that you don't need a 9 to 5 and can do the things that you really want to do.
 
 
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