how I got started on this prep/survival trip. I haven't really shared that here but figured "what the hey"...may as well.
Back in 2006, shortly after the youngest screamer was born, the Spouse and myself decided it was time to put down some roots and buy a house. Being incredibly unversed in the process, we got screwed with some shady lending practices (oh, shock and disbelief) and ended up being reemed by a surprise tax and insurance bill the following year. We were under the impression that said taxes and insurance were escrowed into the mortgage...they were not...we were actually told by the lawyer rep'ing the mortgage company AT THE SIGNING that they were...they were not...the ORIGINAL loan docs said they were....the company that bought the loan chose not to honor that particular point in the contract and did not inform us of the change. Said taxes did eventually get escrowed into the mortgage BUT doubled the mortgage payment (nice, eh?). What would have been a non-issue the previous year was a serious issue. You see, about 5 months after purchasing, the Spouse lost his job on a technicality (which the same company used to release several of its long time, higher paid employees and hire lower paid temps...nice, eh?). The Spouse was making less than half of what he had been making at home purchase time and we were on a less than shoestring budget when the tax bomb dropped.
We fell behind...a lot. Long story short, the house went into forclosure and we jingle mailed the mortgage company. No way we were going to pay what would end up being 3x's the actual value of a house that was killing our youngest child without us knowing (different story, another time). We were essentially homeless. Everything went into a Uhaul and we moved from KY to MO, staying with my parents for 3 months before the Spouse became gainfully employed and we got our own place. Sounds like current events doesn't it? Only way earlier...call it a foretelling of the future, lol. In the end the mortgage company got their money via short sell and then some...no, we did not see the extra because they loopholed (wow, another shocker) by selling the house BACK to themselves then selling it to someone else. Just shows on the credit report as a closed account with late payments in 2008...go figure.
At any rate, that particular snafu in our lives led me to finding a way to pad our meager means. It became a slight obsession at first, the quest to keep us fed, clothed and no longer living paycheck to paycheck (not easy to do on $8hr for a family of four). To be honest, it took a very long time...to me at least. We're darn near there...no longer relying on the system to supplement our food needs, no debt other than fairly minor student loans and no longer living paycheck to paycheck. We have enough foodstuffs put by to last us quite a while if needed (though they will soon enough be on a boat to Germany) and I know that if I have to I can make the clothing we need in addition to other household stuff.
It's a nice place to be, this small comfort zone. But it's not complete, meaning I haven't relaxed. There is always something else that can be done to further the comfort, something else that can increase the self-reliance. This is a journey, a quest per se...how can X be done in a better way for example?
So there you have it...the story of how one "things" obsessed family became drawn to this lifestyle...or at least a part of it. The biggest part of it.
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