Saturday, January 23, 2010

Double Wide Skillet, Single Wide Budget

I've always identified as white trash.

Not that it's bad. I always thought it was kind of cool. Not the trashy
behavior, I mean. The whole laid back, no frills, genuine kind of people.
I mean, I'm sure I fit into the box of trashy....but we'll not go into that
here. Wait until I know you a little better.

When I moved into "The Park", I have to admit that I wasn't thrilled.
I'd kind of started out my life on the bottom and kind of wanted something
better when I was older. Living in a mobile home was always associated
with being trashy and poor and dirty. I've changed my opinion NOW,
six years later, and now have formed new opinions but that comes with
saddling up my big girl britches and grown up somewhat.

I have a point. I just go the roundabout way of getting to it.

Living in a mobile home park, you learn a few things. It's not
like buying a home. It's like buying a really big car you can live
in. The longer you live in it, it decreases in value, just like a car.
And if you sign a contract to buy a mobile home in a park, using
the owner as a bank, you might have a balloon payment in a couple
years for the remainder of the down payment they didn't get all
of up front. And, no lenders will loan for less than 10 grand
and even if you get someone who MIGHT lend you the money, they
won't lend against a "car" that's decreasing in value. With that said,
we were doing really well when we signed to buy our mobile home. We
thought we'd be sitting pretty, have it paid off in three years and
be able to move into a stick built home and use the money we paid for
the mobile home outright for a down payment.

Right. Didn't happen that way.

We could not get a loan for our balloon payment. We negotiated a
deal with the mobile home manager and owner to make double payments
on the mobile until it was paid off to save our butts from losing
the mobile. (Which wasn't put in our name the whole six years we'd
been paying on it, but that's a whole other can of worms. Lesson to
you, read your paperwork well. Pay a lawyer to help you if you can.
And if you ever buy a mobile, make sure it's not in a Park.)

Long story short, our budget for everything changed. No more date
nights. No more paid babysitters. No more extras. And our food budget
was cut in half. everyone else, it was cut back in a third
when the economy tanked. And it SUCKS.

But....does it really?

So, back to this whole white trash way of thinking. I was raised on
welfare with a savvy parent who tried the best to make sure my sister
and I were fed well on a small budget. And he sure could stretch food
to make it work for whatever was needed. Sure, it was "trashy" but it
was healthy, too. You don't need a TON of money to eat well. It's really
all about the mindset that you can have a double-wide skillet on a
single-wide budget. And it. can. be. done. You'll find yourself buying
marked down meat, buying at discount grocery stores and perusing day
old bread racks. If you have no clue how to do this, no sweat.
I am pretty danged good at what I do. And I don't mind showing you. And,
it might turn out that you have a thing or two to learn me, too. Shoot,
as long as someone's getting something out of this, I'm a happy girl.

Who knows, you might have a little extra money at the end of the month
to live it up and go thriftin'. Or buy a latte that someone else makes.
Or whatever makes your skirt fly up.

Let's all have fun and keep a sense of humor in the kitchen.