So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
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Tuesday, October 24, 2017
Cost of Housing
I must admit, I've gotten a bit out of touch with the true cost of living. It occurred to me that I haven't had a raise in decades, yet still I survive. However, the slow increase in prices takes its toll. At least my housing situation is fairly stable. Taxes and insurance are the biggest portion of my housing bill.
Part of my bill is actually mortgage, which I'm kinda disappointed about. Twice in my life I was within striking distance of paying it off, then financial crises hit. Stuff happens. On the bright side, I kept the house and it's still cheaper than living in an apartment.
There are things you just can't do in an apartment that save me money. Having a garden, a well, my own septic system, firewood, and room for solar electric panels. I would be hard pressed to find room to park my various trailers and vehicles. Most landlords would take offense if you decided to sandblast and weld in the driveway.
As cheap as it is to live here, I could do it for less on a boat. Of course, there are plenty of ways to spend way too much money doing that too. The first step is to have a boat that's just barely big enough for your needs and is cheap and easy to maintain.
The next big thing is where you keep your boat. Marinas have both pros and cons. Ease of shore access is a plus. You don't have to dinghy to shore for everything. Being at a dock cost money. They charge by the foot, so a smaller boat saves you money there too. Usually they have space to park a vehicle. If you are staying in one place for a long period of time, a vehicle is handy. Then again, in some places most of your transportation needs can be handled with a cheap bicycle.
You can save money being on a mooring or anchoring out. Anchoring is the cheapest, as it's free. Being on a marina's mooring ball has the same disadvantage of anchoring when it comes to needing a dinghy. On the plus side you have access to a dingy dock, rest rooms, laundry and other marina facilities. While anchoring is free, finding a safe place to land your dinghy can be a problem. There are places with good free dockage, but you have to look for them.
Bradenton Beach Florida has a free dinghy dock off their anchoring field. They even have free public showers. They also have a lot of sea hobos on marginal boats that some people consider eyesores. Other places charge a small fee for dinghys and some even offer showers. The beauty of living on a boat is that if one area gets too hostile to your presence, you lift anchor and find someplace else.
Plenty of people live in a vehicle full time. These vary from massive motorhomes to people living in their cars. Chose your vehicle wisely. Just like a boat, the size and complexity of your vehicle greatly affects your monthly cost.
Then there's the little issue of where to park. High end RV parks have all the amenities, but you pay though the nose for them. On the other end of the scale are people dry camping at Walmarts and free public land areas.
When my lovely wife and I travel in the van, we do a mix. We can stay at Federal campgrounds for half price, so that's a first choice. They tend to be bare bones, but many have electric and decent bath houses. After that it's state, county and private campgrounds. While we use Walmarts and truck stops, it's usually just for overnight while traveling. There's more free camping in the western part of the country than the eastern. As we don't usually go too far west, that limits our free camping.
There are other ways to live that are inexpensive, but I'll leave that for the young and adventurous. One could always live out of a backpack and travel by way of shoe leather and thumb. Heck, I've met people who've lived for months out of a canoe, spending most nights camped on a beach somewhere. Men willing to do that are a dime a dozen. The amazing thing to me is that I've met couples doing that together. Women willing to go along on that sort of an adventure are precious and rare indeed.
There are ways to make apartment living at least somewhat cost effective. The key is finding a place to live where you can get rid of your car. Outside of housing, cars are usually your next biggest expense. If your necessities are all within walking distance and the area has decent public transportation a car is not needed. Finding a comfortable place that's cheap, well located, and not in a slum won't be easy. If you are committed to apartment life, then it's worth finding a place where those things come together. Then all you have to do is hope that your rent doesn't rise out of reach.
Housing is a huge expense, but it really affects your quality of life.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.