Driveway Makeover and the Value of Pay as You Go.

We resealed the Small House’s driveway in early September as part of our homes fall makeover and on-going property maintenance. Our roof was re-shingled about the same time. I just love how fresh and new the roof and our home now looks.

I know that roofing is an expensive homestead project but also know that it is one that is worth the effort and money for our homes values and our comfort. I now breathe a huge sigh of relief knowing I won’t be facing any more leaks this winter.

This is a kind of “replay” on our driveway since we tore out the old one and put down a whole new driveway shortly after we first moved to our homestead in October of 2000. The asphalt needs to be resealed about every 6 years or so.

My first priority after moving here (besides a new water heater and paint) was to build and install my new clothesline. It took another year of saving but by then I was able to get a new driveway.


Our bed quilt drying in the sunshine on our clothesline.

Wahing hunting Clothes on line

An easy to build wooden clothesline. I would recommend cementing it in the ground though as it has shifted over time.

When we moved in the Small House the old driveway was a mostly hard packed gravel with a whole lot of grass and weeds mixed in. I don’t have a picture of it from those days but trust me, it was absolutely and totally gross and could not be snow-blown or shoveled.

After getting a quote on redoing it by the driveway company  I called the bank to ask a “what if” question. I asked, “What if I added the cost of having the driveway done and by the driveway company, add that cost to our house loan?”

Fall nice house front blue sky

A fall view of our freshly sealed driveway and 1950’s ranch-style home (old roof).

Long shot USE

Gene is in process of sealing our driveway. You can see our new brown roof in this photograph.

Truthfully that idea had never occurred to me until the bank officer told me at the time of our closing that “Most people added the costs of their home renovations to their mortgage.” As pay-as-you-go-kind of person, that idea had never occurred to me.

I an exercise of exploring options I put in a call to our banker and asked this question. What would the final cost be for a $3,000 driveway over the course of the 30 year loan? When she told me $9,000, I was shocked speechless. After getting over my surprise, I said no, thank you, I’ll pass. I knew then I would wait and save up until I had that money in hand.

Gene front of house mid view

My husband Gene is calking the area between the asphalt and the wood siding to keep the water out.

It took quite a while to save the money needed for this project. But when the commercial driveway company came and took out that old junky drive surface and put down the fresh asphalt I was proud to hand over the cash and I knew that I was getting the best value I could for my money.

I learned about the value of money a long time ago as a young girl when I first began to babysit for neighbors. I think I was paid around twenty-five cents an hour in those days. I’d save and save until I had enough cash to buy clothes, sundries or a new record. I learned very quickly what was worth my time and hard work and what was not.

Later on, after my divorce when my twenty-four-year marriage fell apart,  I read the book, Your Money our Your Life, by author Vicki Robins and learned that every purchase made has more than one cost so plan wisely before you spend. And most recently I’ve discovered another pay as you go guru, Dave Ramsey at Lot of good strategies can be found in both sources and I can recommend them both.

Money is always tight these days but in spite of that challenge, I’m still a pay as you go homesteader. Anything else is simply not sustainable. And as a retiree and a homesteader, it’s all about sustainability for me.

Small House Homesteader, Donna

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