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The American Dream

The American Dream
By Jeff A. Benner

What is the American Dream? Well, I guess that depends on who you ask. For most people it is a big house, two cars and all the toys (ie: boat, motor home, jet skis, etc.) A lot of people are living this dream, but there's just one problem, in most cases, they really don't own all of these "things," the bank does. If they lost their job they wouldn't be able to keep up on the payments and its bye-bye American Dream.

For my family and I, the American dream is a little different, its a nice house, two cars and a canoe (well we don't have the canoe yet, but one day). The difference the normal view of the American Dream and our own is that first, we only buy what we can afford with cash, and secondly, they usually aren't as nice or new. But if I lost my job, nobodies going to take our land, house or cars, (or the canoe when we finally get it).

You might ask, I can't buy land and a house with cash. Believe it or not, there are a lot of houses out there that are dirt cheap, but there is an alternative. Build your own. Of course, if you are going to build a conventional house, it is going to cost about the same as buying a house, with wood being the most expensive component of the house. That is, unless you have all your own wood on your property.

You might think buying land is way out of your budget, especially if you're using cash, and in most places around the country this is true. But there are still places where you can buy land fairly cheap. We purchased two acres in Mississippi for $9,000 and those two acres have about 400 pine trees, also known as "wood," wood for building a house, not just any house, but a log house.

By using our own logs and our own labor, our house is estimated (we're not done yet) to cost about $6,000 (unfurnished). This is not an easy project by any means, but it is very satisfying watching your own house go up, which you built with your own two hands. And when it's all said and done... NO MORTGAGE. I call this the "Real American Dream."