Friday, November 6, 2009

Budget Survival - 1

Well, I didn't win the DIY Blog Cabin, so I once again must figure out how to pay the bills without going under. Meanwhile I am registering every day to win a $100,000 kitchen and bath makeover through DIY. Sweepstakes are free...just takes a moment each day to enter on-line. It's okay to dream. However, reality is what I must live with every how do I do it?

When my husband and I came to Michigan to follow God's leading into a camping ministry, my husband's salary was cut by 2/3rds of what he made as a chemical engineer in the corporate world. We had to give our newly built dream house away...basically selling it at a loss of our 33 years of equity we had in the home. We left behind a 2,800 sq. foot ranch home with all the bells and whistles (including a 2,800 sq. ft walk-out basement) located in a Country Club development, on a golf course with a private pond on our two acres. We had built our dream home as our last home before retirement. Paul was a VP in the company, and we had about 15 years before we planned to move back south (North Carolina area).

My parents had a small cottage (360 square feet) on the campground to which we moved. We lived in that cottage, which was not winterized (we wrapped pipes and used space heaters and our two dogs to keep us warm and the pipes from freezing) for the 18 months it took to sell our ranch house back in Illinois. Basically we lived through two winters in the bathroom, one small bedroom, and one main room which was our kitchen, our office, and our living room. In the summer we doubled our square footage by using our screen porch for relaxation. There was no room to put a furnace or a washer and dryer, so weekly I trotted to the local laundromat, five miles away. But we were content...we were where God wanted us. The cottage, by the way, had become ours since Mom and Dad both moved to Heaven.

When our house sold back in Illinois, we had no equity with which to buy another place here in Michigan, so we rented a condo for a year. It was located 8 miles from the campground, and we missed living where we worked. At the end of the year we used our cottage as collateral to get a mortgage on a 1,200 square foot house next door to the cottage. We had it renovated, vaulting the ceilings, turning one small bedroom into a second bath and walk-in closet for the master bedroom (which is 11'x10').

We had increased our space three times the amount we lived with at the cottage, but less than one half the space of our former home in no basement, except for one bedroom which we use for our granddaughters when they come to visit. So...we obviously had a lot of down-sizing/unloading to do. The camp has inherited much of our furniture and yard equipment. We gave some away to our former pastor and his family, and to a young couple who had lost everything back in Katrina...the hurricane of the century. We were blessed to be able to give, and it enabled us to fit nicely into our smaller home. The blessing of a small home is there is not as much to clean!! I can handle that!!

Once we made the move and started unloading items, I have been on the kick ever since. If we ever move again, I don't want to have to haul a bunch of "stuff" with us. So my library is dwindling little by little (see the side bar about the books I am reading), and every summer I have a give away table out in the yard during our annual camp garage sale days. If someone else can use it, and I don't need it...then it's time to get rid of it!! I don't like clutter, and I no longer care for accumulation.

Well...didn't know I would share this part of my story, but now that I have started, I'd like to go on. However, time for me to head to work. I'll be back later for another segment of Budget Survival.

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