the barefoot budget

unconventional grit for a mindful life


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Homesteading in Small Spaces: The Homestead Mindset

One year ago we moved from our suburbany townhome into an 1800’s Victorian smack dab in the middle of town. As many of you know, we had originally wanted to purchase a house, but the stars wouldn’t align. So we made the financially right decision to delay home-buying and took action to at least get closer to the life we want. Andrew wanted to be closer to bars, restaurants, and shops. I wanted to be in walking or biking distance of my office. We broke our lease and moved into town.

Just because we didn’t buy a house doesn’t mean we gave up on homesteading. It’s just a different approach, one that I’ve been exploring and have found both exciting and frustrating. I got a lot of positive feedback on the last ‘Homesteading in Small Spaces’ post I did that talked about creative gardening solutions. Today I am continuing that series and discussing the value of the ‘homestead mindset’ – something that takes no space whatsoever.

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The Barefoot Home, Part 1: I’m Already on Plan B

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Our current townhome – ick

Over the last couple months, I’ve been hinting that I’m getting ready to buy a home. This month marks the official crossover from thinking about buying a home to actually acquiring my future urban homestead. This is the first post in The Barefoot Home series: a series detailing my entire home-buying process. 

I’m homesick.

For the last couple years, I’ve been living fairly transiently. Renting as a single, professional woman in a college town has been miserable. Due to rent raises, limited options, and the decision to pay off my debt, I lived in four different homes in the span of one year. When Andrew and I moved in together in our current abode, the decision was made purely based on location. I wanted to be close enough to bike to work – which ended up being awesome. Until I got promoted, and now my ride is much longer and thus – I admit – harder to motivate myself to do, especially in the cold. Now that our current apartment is less than ideally located, it’s losing all its appeal – fast. The construction is shitty, the windows are terrible, the roof leaks, it costs a fortune to heat, the carpet is gross, and there’s not enough storage space. Mind you, this place was built in 2006! I feel less and less at home here every day, and we know that we won’t stay here any longer than necessary. I feel homesick in the I-don’t-have-a-place-to-truly-call-home way.

I’m also homesick in the I’m-longing-for-a-house way. Now that my job situation has worked out quite well, I’m finally ready to settle down. I’ve wanted my own house for three years now. A place where I can dig out the entire nasty bermuda grass lawn and plant food. A place where I can experiment with DIY remodeling. A place where I can build the pantry and cellar I’ve always needed. I’ve been regularly watching the market and researching mortgage options for the last two years. This desire fades in and out, and at times becomes a fixation. I’ve gone through just about every possibility in my obsessive-planning head: buying an in town home vs. a country home, buying move-in ready vs. fixer upper, even buying a small plot and building custom from scratch. In a way, my unhealthy obsession with home-ownership is starting to pay off – I know exactly what neighborhoods I want to live in, what I want in a house, what amenities are worth … and I have years of data on home prices cataloged in my little head.

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