Helping You Live A Better Life

 I listen almost daily to, with the tagline - "Helping you live a better life, if times get tough, or even if they don't." The voice of the podcast is Jack Spriko and he speaks on a variety of topics, all geared toward leading people to the belief that the lifestyle promoted in the last several decades is not one that will lead to happiness, nor is it sustainable over time. Instead he encourages a more self reliant way of living that encourages little or no debt, family gardens, food storage, learning basic skills, etc. His common sense approach to life appeals to me as it is right in line with how I have tried to live my adult life.

My husband and I live in a rural area.  We came here in 1981 shortly after our marriage, a time of the "back to the land" movement.  We rented inexpensive little places (500-600 sq ft) for five years while we worked and saved our money like crazy.  In 1986 we bought our property with a big down payment and the owner carried the paper.  It took us 6 months to put in the well, septic system, temporary electric, and grade a place for a mobile.  We then bought a very used 10 X 60 mobile and moved it onto our property.  In the spring of 1987 we moved in.  Then the work really began!  We lived in the mobile and started the process of building our house.  We didn't build cheaply.  We have 2300 sq ft, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and a basement with rootcellar.  It took my husband 4 years to build the house.  He worked on it part time while he had a full time job.  We paid for everything as we went and it was totally paid off, house and land, when we moved in, in 1991.  During all that we also built a small barn for our goats and chickens. 

Our first two children were born (1988 & 1991) while we lived in the trailer and we paid cash for both of them, about $10,000.00.  In 1994, when our third child was on the way (he cost another $5,000.00, in 2013 dollars that would be $25,000.00 all three!), my husband quit his job and started his own business.  Today he has two businesses that he started from scratch using no loans. He runs both from our home.  We have no debt and are fairly self reliant.  We lived through the 70's, 80's, and 90's recessions so we have always practiced living below our means and saving our money.  Our favorite phrase is, "The appearance of wealth and true wealth, are often two different things."  Since the real estate collapse of 2007 we have seen properties all around us repossessed.  Many we know through business and local organizations have lost jobs and then their homes and vehicles because their "wealth" was based on credit cards and mortgages they couldn't sustain.  Our standard of living, on the other hand, has not changed.  We garden, have chickens, bees, and a small orchard.  I can, dehydrate, and cook from scratch.  We can pinch Lincoln like no other.  My favorite sale is 1/2 off day at our local thrift stores.  I even have a discount card to the Goodwill 45 miles away.  This is how we raised our children. 

Our house and cash car for daughter #2 before leaving home
Our oldest daughter has finished college and is now married and working.  She graduated after four years in 2010 with no college debt.  She started working in high school to save money for college.  She was an awesome student and due to our wonderfully supportive community she received many scholarships.  While in college she also had a 10 hour a week job and in addition got free room and board as a dorm resident assistant, all while taking a full class load.  When she bought her first car, a used 1998 Toyota with 140,000 miles on it, she paid cash.

It is extremely important to have a partner who is totally on board, and with a strong work ethic.   This lifestyle is not for the faint of heart.  There are many struggles, but in the long run it is a very satisfying life.  And, that is the point of Jack's podcast tagline, "Helping you live a better life, if times get tough, or even if they don't." Many of us believe times are going to get tough, more difficult than many have lived through to date. We can do it! There are many in the blogsphere as well as podcasters who can help. Youtube is a valuable tool for learning new skills. The first step is like any other change, making the decision to create a self reliant lifestyle. I'm certainly glad we did, as it has served us well!


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