Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Got moved in.

I have finally moved into my little blue house and couldn't be happier. It has been about a year since I moved out of my old house. If you have read my other posts you will already know that I sold my three bedroom house and closed on it in April 2015. I actually accepted an offer on that house in November of 2014! ( photos at the end)

I have known for years that I wanted a small house that I designed. I can remember taking a drafting class in high school, I was the only girl in class, and drawing my dream home even back then. While the floor plan is now different from that first drawing, the idea is the same.

I made money on the sale of my house and used that as my seed money to get started. The lot that I built on is inherited land, and is not added into my final cost. What really prompted me to sell my three bedroom house was getting out of debt. I had begun following the advice of Dave Ramsey's total money makeover and realized that I had substantial equity in my house. I had bought it for a real bargain five years prior and had redone the kitchen, added a deck and fenced the yard. I had about $6,000 in credit card debt and was almost done paying off my car when I accepted the offer on my house. I paid off my car shortly after and attacked as much of the credit card debt I could. By the time the sale of my house closed I still owed about $3,400. I paid that off with part of the earnings from my house and banked the rest for my new house.

When I say I banked the rest, this is what I did. I'll be honest, I didn't trust myself with that much money. I wanted to put it somewhere away from my everyday banking account so I did. I opened a checking and savings account at a bank that was located in a different town, there was not a branch where I live, and tried to forget about it while I worked on getting quotes and clearing the property. I didn't carry the checkbook or debit card for that account with me until construction started. I started with approx. $43,000.

After the land was cleared, construction began on a pole barn style house. The total amount I paid for this was $24,400. I used a local, small, company who buys their supplies from other small local companies. The only other construction I hired out was the electrical and the hanging, floating and taping of sheet rock. I supplied the supplies so I only paid them for their labor. Family members helped me with all other aspects of this build, my Dad is a champ. We rented equipment when needed and I purchased all materials just as needed. I did not allow myself to buy anything that was not construction related until nearly the end.

I did run out of money, probably in February 2016, but since I was debt free I put my entire paycheck, I am paid once a month, into my construction account for the months of January, February, March and used that to finish. I have spent approx. $48,000 to get to this point. The only things that remain to be done are finishing the porch railing, adding additional stairs from the porch and insulating the crawl space. The first to be done will be the porch rails. The other two can be done at a later date.

What I ended up with is a 24x32 foot house with approx 768 square feet. The porch is approx 392 square feet. The house contains five rooms. An open living/kitchen area, laundry/pantry room, bedroom, walk-in closet and a bathroom. I purchased some items from Home Depot. This includes my kitchen cabinets, counter tops, bathroom vanity, toilet, shower, faucets, light fixtures, ceiling fans, paint, primer, light bulbs, cabinet hardware, door knobs, interior doors, exterior doors, windows. All these items were off the shelf, no special orders.

I purchased sheet rock, insulation, electrical boxes/supplies, trim, screws, staples, plumbing supplies, gutters, mailbox, appliances (gas range, microwave vent, dishwasher, hot water heater and washer/dryer), sofa and probably more, from three hardware stores in the town I live in. I bought my kitchen island, which is a Kobalt workbench, from Lowes when it was on sale. My septic tank was purchased from another local company. The septic pump, closet organizer, braided rug, blue stools and bakers rack were purchased online. All other furniture, rugs and appliances were items that I already owned or were given to me, all were gently used items. My kitchen sink is an old enameled sink with a drain board that was being stored behind my parent's old chicken coop. It has a couple of quarter sized dings, but they were easily painted over with appliance paint.

My air/heat units were purchased from Alpine Home Air. Here is their link: Both were reasonable priced, arrived quickly and work well.

You will notice that my floor is just the sub-floor that has been painted using a good Behr paint with primer.

I hope my journey is an inspiration to others. It is possible to build a nice, small home with a meager budget. I count myself very blessed. I have paid off all my debt and have a mortgage free home.

Below are some interior photos and yes its a mess, but isn't life that way?  I still need to unpack some things and hang some wall decor.  

Friday, March 18, 2016

More progress on the Little Blue House

With the help of my dad, I installed the insulation myself.  It was a big job, but well worth the savings and thankfully we had cold weather then!

The plumbing was also already mostly done by this time and I hired out the wiring.  I supplied all the supplies and wire, so just payed for the labor.  It cost me $645 in labor.

Next was the sheet rock...I hate sheet rock and knew I didn't want any part of it so I also paid someone to hang it.  He also hung the interior doors, installed the shower and did some of the trim.  The labor for that was around $1500.  It was totally worth it because he got it done quickly.  If we had done this ourselves it would have taken a while.

Again, I bought the supplies and made sure they were on site when he needed them.
Below you can see the lower kitchen cabinets I purchased at Home Depot off the shelf.  They are one step up from their least expensive ones.  These are hickory cabinets.  For upper cabinets I purchased the unfinished cabinets and painted them. 

Here you can see that I have started priming the walls for painting.  I painted the entire inside of the house myself.  I purchased two gallons of oops paint at Home Depot for $9 each (reg priced $39 each)  I used the Behr paint with a primer and Kiltz 2 to prep the sheet rock.  I purchased a five gallon bucket of the paint for the floor, about $145, and two gallons for the living/kitchen area $39 each.  The closet was painted using some leftover paint from my parents house so it was free.  I also painted my floors, yes the floors.  I don't have extra money in the budget for flooring right now, so I primed and painted my plywood floors.  The house I lived in previously also had painted floors and I loved them (they were plank wood floors).  I may have some type of flooring installed later down the line, but painted will do for now.

This is the bathroom after it was painted.  This color is one of the oops paint I bought.  I also used this color in the laundry/pantry.
Lots more progress photos below.
 Kitchen area
 The closet.
 Living area.  Small green room off to the left is the laundry/pantry.
 Living area.
Walk in closet and organizer.  Bought on Amazon for about $90.

I'm still on target with my budget.  The sewer system is needs to be installed and I can move in.  The porch rails still need to be installed and I need to add another set of stairs to the other end of the porch at some point.  I need to buy a few furniture and storage pieces and unpack.  I will update more later and will include how I organize.

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Land

I'm building a house, a little blue house.  As I said before, I sold my house in April of last year and with the money from that sale I'm building a house....without a loan.  Can you say tight budget!  Anyway, just to be clear I did not have to purchase the land I'm building on.  It is family land and was free, so is not included in my budget.  Of course I would have bought land if I would have had to.  The part of the land I wanted to build on was mostly cleared, but there was an old chicken coop that needed to be torn down and some trees that need to be removed.  Clearing began in July and August.

The chicken coop had not been used for many years, except for storage.  There was something like 18 tires inside along with all sorts of old junk.  Hubcaps, rotted water hoses and items so old and rusted or deteriorated that we couldn't tell exactly what they were anymore.

The roof of the chicken coop was mostly old tin, but there was also an old feed sign that had been cut in half and used for part of the roof.

Anyway, I had already drawn my house plans, and had two estimates.  Building was to begin some time in September.  I'm not an architect.  I used graph paper and drew the plans I wanted.  It is a little house, measuring 24 feet by 32 feet, one bedroom, so simple to draw.  My estimates were for a pole barn style building with metal siding and roof.  To be built on a wood sub floor with a timber frame.  The estimate I chose was $24,400.  The estimate did not include the exterior doors and windows.  I purchased those and had them on sight.  Also, the estimate did not include finishing the interior.  All interior work is to be done by me, with family help, or be hired out.

Building finally began in early October and shortly after it began I left for a two week vacation.  Before I left they had made the progress shown below.

When I returned home from vacation, it looked like this:

More to come...

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

I've sold my house and Hello Fresh Subscription

Well, I have sold my house!  YEAH!!!  I'm so excited to be moving and I'm hoping I will have more time to post on this blog.  Selling my house will help me pay off some debt and allow me to build a small affordable home on some family property.

Now on to Hello Fresh.  I love Hello Fresh!  I don't have to go the the dreaded grocery store as often and I don't have to plan meals for as many days either.  I usually get one to three boxes per month, but you can choose to get one each week or just once a month, or skip a whole month; whatever fits your budget and needs.

I subscribe to the classic plan which includes meat and it costs $69 per box for three meals for two people.  The vegetarian plan costs $59 per box for three meals for two people.  Family boxes are also offered.

Now, as you can tell from my blog, I like to cook.  I don't mind rounding up ingredients to cook a fancy meal, but Hello Fresh is a great go to when things are crazy at home.

Anyway, I will post a more detailed description with the next box I receive.  I will show what the meals are and how the box is packed.

If you would like to try Hello Fresh, use coupon code EY6D28 and save $40 off your first box.  You can cancel any time by loging into your account.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Mug Fudge! Yes, mug fudge for two.

You can smile now. 

Mug Fudge for two:

We've all heard of a mug cake, but what about mug fudge?  Well you have now!  Mug cakes are okay, but just wait till you try this simple fudge recipe!

1. Get a mug. 
2. To the mug add 1 tablespoon milk, 2 tablespoons white sugar and 1 tablespoon real butter(can be cold) and microwave for 20 seconds. Mine looked like this:
Give the mix a good stir and pop it back in the microwave for 20 seconds more. It should look something like this: and yes it will look foamy. 
3. Add 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips to the mug. And stir, stir, stir until it's smooth.  Add a pinch of salt. 
4. Add 1/2 cup of mini marshmallows to the mug. 
Now stir more, more, more!  The marshmallows will almost completely melt. Sometimes I add a few more if they all melt. I like marshmallow chunks in the fudge. You can also add nuts. Here I added walnuts. 
5. Pour out into a container lined with wax paper. Here I used a small plastic food storage container. Spread the fudge to corners and place in fridge to let it set. 
6. Lick the spoon and scrape the sides of the mug. 
Your welcome!  Enjoy. 

Sometimes I also add a dash of vanilla, but if you do add it when you add the marshmallows. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Crock pot skirt steak

Serves 2

1/2 pound skirt steak
1- 10 ounce can rotel
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium bell pepper, diced
1 T. Ketchup
1 T. Your favorite steak sauce
Two shakes of garlic powder, chili powder and salt and pepper. 

Mix everything except steak in crock pot. Lay steak on top. Cook on low 4 to 6 hours. Serve on tortillas or over rice. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Buckwheat pancakes

I've been listening to "The Long Winter" by Laura Ingalls Wilder and the description of Almanzo making buckwheat pancakes made me want to try them. They are delicious!
I topped mine with real maple syrup. My dogs were very interested in what I was eating, and they each got one after I had mine. 
The recipe:
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
3/4 cup self rising flour
2.5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
1-1/4 cup milk
2 egg whites
3 tablespoons melted butter or margarine

In a large bowl add flours, baking powder, salt and sugar. Stir with a whisk to mix. 
Add the milk, egg whites and melted butter or margarine and mix till smooth. 
Cook on a griddle using about 1/4 cup of batter per pancake. Brown on both sides and spread a little butter or margarine on each pancake as they get done. Top with your favorite syrup, Almanzo used molasses, I used maple syrup.  Enjoy!

Yield: 10 to 14 pancakes.