This weekend I am working on getting the conduit installed for my permanent power and communication cable. I dug the trench back in the summer when I had the track hoe but different chores and occasional lack of money has kept me from finishing. Yes, this probably should have been done before I ever moved in but it wasn't so that's that. Anyway, I will go into greater depth about this later but for now I wanted to touch on another subject.
I have often wondered if I am really accomplishing much or helping anyone by writing this blog and I have expressed that several times. I know that how I'm building my house is not really something many people would or could do, although I think more people could do it if they would try. I think this is just an effort to show, if you think for a while, you may find it in your best interest to do things a little differently; whatever it is you're doing. You don't always have to do things the way everybody else always has.
In this vein of thought, a lot of people have been curious as to how I have paid for this house. In our society, it is just taken as a given that you have to borrow money; you have to be indebted for half your life if you want to have anything. Well, no, you don't. Now, I realize, as I just said, that I have certain advantages because of my occupation and the resulting connections. I have been able to salvage an enormous amount of material for this house and have had a few sweet people just gift me with stuff. But i believe a resourceful person could salvage a sizable amount of material also, regardless of what they do. You also have to be willing to look at things a little differently. Most people I know would just die at the thought of living in a house that only has plywood floors or having unfinished sheetrock in some places, even if they know it is only temporary. Oh, the horrors! Well, when you realize that my house, even in it's unfinished state, would be a freakin' mansion compared to what a great deal of the rest of the world lives in, it kinda puts things in perspective. I don't mind the plywood for now.
I recently did some figuring and came up with an estimate of what I have spent on my house so far. I surprised myself. I thought I had spent more than what I have but my figures showed that I have about $35,000 in this house so far. I believe I can finish this half for another $15,000. Now, with the basement, which I do use, this is about a 1,300 sq.ft. house. That's about $38/ sq.ft. I think most new houses (of comparable location and style etc.) were going for anywhere around $150-200/ sq.ft. Of course, my figures include very little labor costs, as I have done most of it myself but there is much that can be done to save money on home construction. I have even added quite a few purely aesthetic touches to this house that are really not necessary. If I had really been conservative I believe I could have built both halves for what I will spend on this one. But I wanted to add some unique touches. All I'm saying is, you can spend as little as you like but you don't have to live in a yurt or one room cabin if you want to live sustainably or with some conscience about the environment and your pocketbook. That misconception is one thing I would really like to dispel. Don't listen to what society at large tells you that you must do or have. So, I have deck handrails made of scrap rebar and light fixtures that are old wine bottles? I like it.
I'll give a few more specifics on the finances in a later post but the main thing is still that you have to be willing to work hard and think creatively. But you can do it.