Wednesday, January 28, 2015

About Home and the Costs of Living in Nicaragua

Besides this wild and crazy cultural experience we are having, there is another reason we're spending the year in Nicaragua: It is impossible to save money back home. And if i ever want to actually realize the dream of owning my own home, i have to actually put some money in the bank.
Our middle-class neighborhood street -- before they tore it up...





Granted, if you want to live a life like you were accustomed to back in the States, Nicaragua is more expensive than you might imagine. Electricity for a house with a pool and a hot water pump runs about what it would back home -- and probably moreso because we're not paying to heat the house. (BTW If you're looking for a cool way to heat your winter's morning coffee, check out this new technology -- the Nanoheat coffee warmer)

The Internet bill in Nicaragua is about the same, or a little more. Paying the pool cleaner is cheap, and water is a little less. Rent, of course, is far cheaper, but then there's private school, higher bank fees, storage fees for my stuff back home, and the desire to travel and see more of this gorgeous land of lakes and volcanoes. Even on the chicken bus, it costs something to get two people to and fro -- and even though restaurants cost about half of what they cost in the States, i am always footing the bill for two.

But still, miraculously, thankfully, i do have a bank balance that is steadily increasing. I have a few debts here and there, but there's a plan to pay those off too, while still adding to that savings account. I'd love to say it will be enough for a down payment on a house, but it might not, so like many people of my generation, i am beginning to rethink the traditional home ownership model. The thought occurred to me that perhaps i could build my own tiny house and own it free and clear with the money i've saved. Or perhaps put it all into a piece of land that i can build on later. These, with their promises of low to no mortgages, seem like the things i need to do if i want to continue to live a life that includes freedom and travel and also a low cost of living. I love Portland, but it's gotten so expensive to live there; even in the past couple years it's skyrocketed. It fills me with dread to think i've been priced out of my pretty city.

But since i am not always married to traditional patterns -- and i hope i'm teaching the rebelangel something about that too -- i've started looking at tiny cabin plans, looking where land is cheap, and am beginning to form an idea of what i want the place to look like. The thought of buying a piece of land in Nicaragua did occur to me, but i don't think i'm ready for that. I think our travels will always come to an end and we will eternally be pushed toward HOME -- which for us is still the U.S...

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Since i've been checking out building options, i've been talking with the folks at OC Stay Dry Roofing, offering cool options for roofing and solar power. Since i'm trying to save as much as possible on the place i hope to build, i'll be checking out the solar options for sure!

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