For how influential money is in our lives, people don’t like to talk about it. At least, they don’t like to talk about it unless they are talking about how to make more of it. Which is probably why so many people don’t understand the switch that Kyle and I made. We gave up good jobs, with a 6 figures income to homestead. Why? Because the old axiom held true for us that money can’t buy happiness.
When we moved to Alaska to homestead, we left a lot of our expensive modern lives behind. We traded a 6 figure income and life in a big house for always being worn out and feeling accomplished at the end of the day.
Of course we get lots of questions about our choice to leave our cushy lives to homestead. How could we just turn our backs on the American dream? The thing is, the house with a white picket fence, a dog, and 2.5 kids just wasn’t for us. When we lived that life, all we felt was worn out with it. I was often working 16 hours a day, up to 80 hours a week. Kyle was in a constant state of anxiety about work. Push the wrong button and poof! You just cost a company millions. We didn’t have time for each other, much less time for living.
Are there things we miss?
Of course there are. I really miss Mexican take out for one! But seriously, there are pro’s and con’s to the way we lived 2 years ago and the way we are living now. I miss having friends over, being able to run to the store for that last ingredient, and having people around to ask for help when I don’t know how to do something. On the flip side, the trade offs are so worth it. We have almost no bills, our schedule is to do what we want, when we want, and we get to enjoy each other and our daughter.
But what about money?
Honestly, we’re broke. I don’t mean living paycheck to paycheck broke. I mean borrowing money from family to hold us over broke. We have property in another state that we are in the process of selling, and that should let us pay back our families and purchase some things we need, as well as set some aside for savings. But, being broke out here is a whole different ball game than being broke living in town. We don’t have electricity bills (thanks to our solar system) or water bills. We have enough food storage to last us months, so if we don’t want to go to town we don’t. Realistically, we wouldn’t have needed to borrow money at all except that the beach is hard on vehicles, so we had both 4 wheeler’s need work at the same time. We can fix them ourselves but the parts are expensive.
Do we stress about money?
We stress about the same as we did in town. In town we had vehicle payments, high car insurance rates, electricity bills for a big house, and no irrigation on the lawn, just city water. Not to mention we ate out more than we ate in. Money doesn’t last long when you don’t spend it wisely. We are a lot more conscientious of our spending choices out here because we have to be. We buy a lot of stuff second hand, and we always try to find the best deals.
What income do we have right now?
Right now, this blog is 99% of our income. We make a little off of advertisements, and a little off of affiliate links. I am an affiliate for Infolinks, the ad company I use. Amazon is another company I am an affiliate of, which means I make a small commission off of purchases people make when they reach Amazon through my site. I am also a BlueHost affiliate, because they are my website host and they have a one click WordPress installation and 24/7 WordPress support. This makes it a snap to run my blog, and I can’t recommend them enough. I will suggest to anyone starting a website that they make sure to sign up for domain privacy though, no matter what hosting service used.
We also make a little money when supporters of Sled Dog Slow buy our t-shirts found here. And now that our sawmill is up and running, we are offering wood cutting to our neighboring cabin owners. I’m also in the process of putting together a cook book for all my wood stove recipes. Diversifying our income is a must out here.
Why don’t we just get normal jobs in town?
We have, and it doesn’t work out. Due to the access issues for us, having a job in town means having an apartment in town. Kyle had a temporary job for a few months to see how it would work out, and we ended up with $200 take home each month after town bills. It just wasn’t worth the vehicle wear and tear, or him missing out on our daughter and all the new things she was learning. We decided to live this life in part because we didn’t want money to control our lives, so having a 9-5 isn’t an option out here.
How much money do we need, really?
Setting up a homestead from raw land is expensive. We’ve probably spend $50,000 getting to this point. We had to buy vehicles and 4 wheeler’s, animals and feed, building materials and our sawmill. Raw land may be cheap, but turning it into a homestead is not. Now that we are a little more set up though, we’ve estimated that $12,000 a year is all we will need to live comfortably on. That’s not much in the scheme of things.
How are we going to get that $12,000 if we can’t work in town?
I plan on continuing this blog for as long as we live out here, so we’ll make some money from it. We also have pigs that we plan on breeding to sell the piglets next year. And once our property sells, we’ll take that money and buy a set net fishing permit and commercial fish next summer. Then there is also the Alaskan Permanent Fund Dividend, which should provide us with roughly $3,000 a year for our family of three. We’ll get paid a quarter of our needs just for living in Alaska.
Do we ever regret trading our 6 figure incomes for no figures while we learn how to live our new lives?
Never. While things are tight now, we have learned a lot about being fiscally responsible out here, more so than we ever were in town. We’ll know how to stretch our money better next year, and be able to stress a little less about it.
You couldn’t pay me enough to give up living out here. This is home.