Transparency

I’ve always vowed to be 100% transparent with you guys about the realities of our homestead. Let me be transparent now, I don’t know if we’re going to make it.

This month Justin took a pay cut (about $150/month) because someone had messed up his dependents on his taxes. We owe about $800 in taxes due to not being able to afford healthcare. Justin’s student loans come due next month at $210 a month and we still owe $200 on our well pump. On top of that my car’s tires are bald, it’s leaking oil and the brake pads are almost worn through. It’s a miracle my brakes haven’t gone out yet.

This month we had less than $60 to spend on groceries for the whole month. Thankfully I spent a bit last month and stocked up, but that will run out soon.

Gonna be completely honest with you guys, I think we’re done for this time. We’ve tried everything we can think of. I apply to jobs almost daily with no call backs. I’m not sure what to do. We’ve been pushing our soap business as much as possible, but we’re getting less than $30 in sales each month.

We’ve applied for loans and other things, but we can’t get them. The best thing I can come up with is a voluntary repossession of one of our vehicles, but even then we would probably still owe on it.

Obviously our first priority remains our mortgage, we won’t go into foreclosure or anything. However, I don’t know how long we can not pay student loans or something else before there are legal repercussions. We still have 3 months until the farmer’s market starts and there are zero prospects for me so far. Even if there were, we can’t even afford the gas for me to go to the interview.

So….if anyone wants to start praying, we could sure use it.

I’m trying to figure out what we did wrong or what we did to deserve this. I don’t understand how we moved out to the country, cut our living expenses and still can’t manage to make it.

We’ll keep trying…but it’s really starting to tear us down.

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30 Comments Add yours

  1. Have you tried getting on an income based repayme t for student loans? I applied for thatt and since my income is so low my payments right now are $0. You will still rack up interest but at least that would be one less worry for now! Or they can do a temp forebearance where they will suspend your loan payments for a time and reevaluate the situation in a few months. Again, still racking up interest. Im sorry for your financial situation! I wish there was something I could do to help. I too have a very low income though.

    1. We’ve actually used up all our forebearance and Justin is on income based…without income based repayment his would be $600 or more a month.

      1. I’m sorry. I know things can be pretty hard sometimes but just making it through together will make you both stronger in the end. Sometimes when shit falls apart better things are waiting. I know a lot of good words do you right 😉 I’m sorry though and I’ll keep you guys in my thoughts.

      2. Thank you. I’m hoping it all works out too.

  2. Sorry to hear about your situation. Just a thought as I’ve done this before…maybe see if any of your neighbors need help or want a little extra help with farm work, barn work, cleaning their house, barn car etc. That might make a few extra dollars and a lot of the time people will do it happily without a commitment to every week. I have let some older teenagers do this around our farm and it was well worth the $50 each time. Hang in there

    1. I’m still searching around…unfortunately I’m in a tiny community that is overrun with cleaning people and kids that work cheaper than me.

  3. Cait says:

    I had to do a temporary forbearance of my loans twice. If his are through the government, it’s a pretty easy thing to do and you can do it all online… not sure about private loans. I also think there’s an option to pay less for an amount of time too due to financial hardship.

    How are you at English? By which I mean, have you ever looked into editing work? Or cover design, if you have Photoshop? (Sorry, I’m in writing/publishing so the first things off the top of my head are always going to be industry related.)

    I’m personally looking into expanding my income streams by doing stuff on Fiverr, designing some premade covers, designing journals for Createspace, and utilizing Youtube for a longer term low income stream.

    Are you active on any Tumblr fandoms? For a stop gap measure you might be able to do (simple) art commissions.

    1. We’re doing all we can with the loans and I’ve tried doing art commissions and fiverr…I can never make more than $30 a month…

  4. hammonjonnie says:

    What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger. You will learn the lessons, that life teaches us, along our journeys, and be wiser, and stronger d, and better people, for it.

  5. I am so, so sorry you are going through this. I wish I had some suggestions for you, but I don’t. I’ve been in similar situations and I’m afraid I didn’t figure it out either. Obviously I pulled through eventually but I lost a lot in the mean time. I can tell you that I went a lot of months not paying my student loans without getting much more than letters and phone calls (which I never answered). My credit is shit now, but I’ve never gone to court over it.
    I hope you guys get some relief soon. I don’t know how much praying does but I certainly will try it, and send all my good thoughts and support.
    I wonder if there could be a market for a year round farmers market in your area? And what it would take to set it up?

    1. I’ve seen some markets that are year around near here, but most of them are flea markets or worse. And even then they would be an hour commute one way. We’ll have to ignore the payments for a time if we can’t figure anything out…We were finally getting things in order and then it all fell apart, I just don’t understand why it keeps happening.

      1. Well, probably not now, but one day maybe starting a year round market would be a good business venture for you. If you ran the market, you could both sell there, and collect booth fees from the other people selling at the market.
        You just have to know if you’d get enough customers and sellers. We had a year round market here, but it shut down. ğŸ˜ž

      2. I think we could have one around here, the only problem is the city and the people here. We’re in a very conservative area, so spending money on a public buildings is considered wasteful. We might be able to find an indoor area, but I would have to search around. So much red tape with insurance and all that.

      3. The one here used an old warehouse. How far are you from the city? There might be more options there. I would look for abandoned or vacant buildings.

      4. We’re about 45 minutes from two cities. They both have year around markets but charge something like $100 a day

      5. Yeesh. Yeah, that’s competition. If only you lived here. We need a new year round market!

      6. Yeah. Grand Rapids has a HUGE year around market. The people there say that making $600 in one day is a slow day. God I would kill to make $600 in one day

  6. Rosie says:

    Sending good luck and good vibes! I really appreciate your transparency on this blog and I hope that something magical happens soon so you can both continue doing what you love!

  7. I’ve read all the comments and can’t come up with anything different. Soooo, I’ll send a prayer. 👍

    1. Thank you…I’ve got a few applications out in the world, but I’m just waiting for that phone call.

  8. I wish I had the magical answer, but I don’t. You two will be in my thoughts. Things will turn around.

    1. I hope so…we’re trying!

  9. Widdershins says:

    No magical answers here either, 😦 …

    Just good thoughts, and a candle on the altar.

  10. Jeff says:

    Hiya. I found you guys on tumblr fairly recently but when I saw this post about what you were going through I couldn’t help but want to message you with whatever support I could offer. Myself and my partner (as I’m sure many others reading this) have been in similar awful situations because of money, and it’s just wrong.

    I’m from the UK so sadly a lot of my knowledge of loans, welfare, charities etc to help probably don’t apply to the US, but if you were in the UK I’d be pointing you towards guys like Shelter, the Citizens Advice Bureu and whoever deals with welfare (we have council districts here) for hardship grants and for advice on forcing companies to take affordable payment arrangements.

    On the generating business front, 2 popular systems I hope to use one day myself are CSA (community supported agriculture) and the biointensive crop systems used by folks like the Urban Farmer (Curtis Stone). With a CSA you could get households to pay up front for crops, products, soap etc, and every interval members get an overall percentage share of the total yield for collection from a pickup point. With biointensive cropping you can be looking at restaurant quantity yields of stuff like radish, turnip, tomatoes to be delivered in 2 or 3 months time. Both could get you money straight away from memberships or orders.

    But if nothing else I just want to say hang in there and you’re doing great!

    1. We’ve actually tried the welfare thing and we get turned down. Basically they are saying that we make too much money (I don’t know how less than 30k a year is too much). We’re in the golden zone where you can’t get any help, but you don’t make enough to live comfortably.
      Right now I’m teaching a gardening class, but we may attempt something like a CSA in the future. We’re trying to cover all our own food needs first and then get into growing for other people.
      Thanks for your help! We appreciate it!

  11. foxtaylor says:

    Sorry to hear you are struggling. It’s hard to get going for a lot of people… if it weren’t for my massive credit card limit we would be in the same boat. As it is we spend a lot more than we make and I’m sure it will catch up eventually. Have you considered teaching yourself AutoCAD, revit, sketchup or photoshop? Free student copies of CAD are available online and Sketchup is also free (and so is Google Earth), if you can 3D model or render maybe you could get some contract work with a design firm. Not sure what that pays in the US but I do it from home occasionally for $65-95/hr.

    As for totally unrealistic suggestions: move to Canada! Whatever savings you have would grow by almost 30% after you converted it to our colourful play money haha. 😉

    1. Haha, I really want to go to Canada. It seems like a wonderful country! I actually do know how to use photoshop and a lot of the adobe suite, but they update it so fast and often that I can’t keep up. And now Adobe wants about $80 or more a month to have access to it all…I actually did have a freelancing job doing photo editing, but my boss sort of just quit talking to me a couple months ago and has been sending me less and less work over the past year or two without explanation. Not really sure what’s going on.

      1. foxtaylor says:

        We are pretty wonderful up here 🙂 photoshop skills are a great asset! Maybe you can try to drum up some freelance work or send out your portfolio for contract work somewhere. I’m sure you’ve thought of all that already. So… just move to Canada haha.

      2. Haha, we should! Don’t worry, I’ve always got my eyes open for photoshop work!

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