Note: I finally got a few of my real life people to read this blog. They told me it wasn't funny. I knew that it wasn't funny because I wasn't trying to be funny. And even if I was, my humor does not translate well to writing. In fact, my humor doesn't translate well to jokes which is why I'm not a comedian. Rather, my humor is basically amusing observations with a self effacing component. But the people want humor, so here it is. Personal finance humor- the worst part is that its all true.
Last year, on Black Friday (you know, the day in which frenzied consumers flood retail establishments to ensure that the effects of gratitude and thanksgiving to God are not long lived), we moved into our house. Last night, as we were sitting on overturned paint buckets and drinking Budweiser on our deck (that has several missing boards), while my son ran around in just a disposable diaper, my husband and I reflected on whether or not we are good neighbors.
We decided we are not. Instead, we are redneck neighbors, and we aren't even going to change that until at least next summer.
Through a series of frugal hacks and poor decisions, you too can be the Redneck Neighbor, and I'll teach you how! You're welcome!
Step One: Put a building in a weird location
This step requires two frugal hacks. First is DIYing, and the second is giving up storage space to have a roommate. We did both successfully!
Within our first month living in this house, we had a roommate move in. He's a great guy, who was in dire need of a place to live when he joined my husband's grad school program in January. In exchange for a few hundred bucks a month and a warning that we were in a home renovation, we had a tenant, so we had to rush to get some storage space (instead of his bedroom).
To quickly solve the problem of too much stuff and not enough house, we built a shed in the flattest part of our yard. Which happens to be against a retaining wall. This requires that the shed face the house rather than the street. Putting the shed on our side yard, facing the street would be logical; on the other hand it would have required digging for days in the frozen ground. So, we just put the shed in the easiest place possible, and the ugliest. I'm thinking that putting a vintage Sinclair's Sign might help us solve the problem of the eyesore.
Step Two: Keep defunct vehicles in your driveway
One thing that a lot of frugalers discuss using a bicycle rather than a car. My hack for forcing bicycle use is to keep your car from functioning, but store it in your yard in case of an emergency. We did this for nearly a month!
After putting up the shed, the front tire of our one and only vehicle went flat. Since I work from home, and my husband bikes to school, we just let it sit for several weeks, without moving. To elucidate the situation, we had a dilapidated vehicle in our yard for nearly a month before we decided to buy a new tire and fix the thing.
*Please note- defunct vehicles are also a part of life in the hood, and therefore do not automatically make you a Redneck. I know because there are about 19 defunct vehicles on my block.
Step Three: Keep yard work to a minimum
We've fixed the car, but mother nature brought spring, which means that our well cultivated weed patch is growing like crazy. We are probably about one step away from being a public nuisance. This is because we bought a reel mower instead of a gas powered mower because I can't turn on a gas mower (I mean because we are frugal and ecologically minded). Unfortunately, we don't grow grass in our yard, we grow clover and these long wispy weeds that easily escape the clutches of the reel mower.
I finally bought a battery powered weed eater, but I only managed to clean up 1/4 of the yard because the battery life appears to drain after dealing with... well 1/4 of our Redneck yard. At least that 1/4 of the yard looks marginally better than the vacant lot next door.
Step Four: Keep stop gap measures in place for months
And then there's our roof: about six square feet are covered in tarp. There was a hole in our roof because (we think) squirrels or raccoons ate through the roof when the former tenants got egged. So my dauntless husband climbed up onto the roof and nailed some tarp over the hole and called it good. That was three months ago. We honestly haven't even sought out roofers, but we will, as soon as we stop being a bunch of rednecks.
Step Five: Trash everywhere, all the time.
This is to say nothing of our trash situation. As part of our renovation projects, we've done rather a lot of cosmetic gutting. Interior doors, closets, nasty curtains, falling apart shelves, curtain rods (steely black), flooring, and the list goes on. Each week, we gut a little more than we can possibly shove into our trash can. And we do a lot of said gutting on Saturday, the day after our trash gets picked up. So you know that there is going to be a pile of housing trash sitting next to our trash can all week long, while we valiantly attempt to keep our kitchen and household operation trash to an extreme minimum, so as to not have to sneak across the street to throw our trash bags in our neighbors trash can (it may have happened more than once).
Are you a redneck neighbor?
I'm a wife, a mom, an employee, and a personal finance nerd who is devoted to spreadsheeting my way through life.