Shortly before Katrina hit I eliminated all of my unsecured debt. At the moment we have just the mortgage and two car payments (aside from utilities and insurance payments.) We put a 48 month plan into action. Every month we ‘bank’ a percentage of our income, roughly $1,000 USD a month. At the moment it’s going into the safe and we are entering month 3 and are at $2,000 and right on track. Our car payments will be done before the 48 months are up and 100% of that will then also be going towards our new home/retreat. We are moving out west. Where, we don’t know yet. Your reviews have been very informative thusfar, timely as well. God has brought us this far, and I trust he’ll place us in the right location.
My request is this: A review of different home styles for a home / retreat. Patriotpages did an awesome job on standard ranch style houses, so I’m covered if we wind up getting a ‘standard house’. I’ve read quite a bit about ‘earth homes’ that are covered on all sides except the front. I love the idea of not needing A/C in the summer and a temp of no less than 50 degrees in the winter without heating (especially if trees aren’t as plentiful in your AO). The other advantage of being basically tornado proof really makes it appealing. The limited view from the home is a minus and a plus on a defensive side. I’ve been mentally thinking about how that would play out…
If we have 48 months left (I’m beginning to wonder) I hope to move into a new home (if Earth style, if not brick or cinder block) with 4-5 bedrooms with a full basement and all the goodies… if we can make it another full 12 months beyond that, I plan on it being completely off the grid from day one. Otherwise all we’ll have is electric service on grid and the rest off grid. As things shape up over the next two years, I might buy my property early and put a trailer or small 600 square foot cabin type thing on it ‘just in case’.
I don’t know what you have planned after the State by State run-downs, but I thought that might be an idea. [JWR Adds: Stay tuned. I’ll be making detailed suggestions on specific retreat locales soon after I finish my “19 Western States” review series.]
As an aside, I’ve ordered from botac.com a few times in the past… they always make it right, even if it takes them a month or two. I tell anyone ordering from them “If you need it on time, then buy elsewhere. If you can wait a few months, buy from them.”
FWIW, A guy on AssaultWeb.net  ordered the Level 3/4 [body armor] plates from them last week and got them in under 7 days. Good deal as well, $150 shipped per plate. In Christ and Liberty, – Dr. Buckaroo Banzai, The Banzai Institute
JWR Replies: I plan to write a series of blog posts on retreat architecture options, probably early this winter. In preparation for writing that series, I would appreciate e-mails from SurvivalBlog readers, helping to round out my knowledge. Sometimes dozens of bits of anecdotal information can build a fine and comprehensive “big picture” view of a subject. BTW, I plan to cover everything from double-wide trailers to Monolithic dome homes .