So the secret is out- I'm a freak all the way across the board. Not only do I disdain the standard American diet and purposefully (happily!) drive a 27 year old car, now I'm advocating a radical plan financially. You thought "No corn syrup" was nutty, wait until you hear this one: "No mortgage".
I hope to sell our over-sized, over-mortgaged house in the spring and downsize radically into something we can afford to actually own, rather than rent from the bank until just before we die. The plan goes in phases: first build a very small cabin on bare land (like 16 x 20) for cash. As soon as the house sells, move all of our belongings except for the bare minimum into storage and move us into the cabin for the summer. Take the equity from the house sale and build like crazy, knowing there will be another infusion of cash in early October. If it becomes obvious that we're not going to have the house done and habitable before Christmas, then we can move into a rental for the winter & continue to build the following summer.
Why would anyone want to do this to themselves? Simple answer: Freedom. Security. As an example to my kids.
Right now, HM works 14 days at a time. 3 days for the government, 1.5 days for insurance and 401K , and 5.5 days for the house payment. We only get to really live on 30% of his earnings. There's little I can do about the government or insurance parts but we can free ourselves from servitude to JP Morgan Chase. We can build something on a smaller, more human scale and similarly reduce our contribution to the borough's tax account. We can spend less to heat a smaller home, have fewer electrical gee-gaws to power, be free of neighborhood covenants restricting chickens, live closer to friends and church, and let boys and dogs romp freely with other boys and dogs. We can say 'yes' to things like trips outside, musical instruments, visits to Kodiak, h2Oasis, and museum memberships. A few years of hassle, hard work, and sacrifice will buy us 20+ years of freedom and limitless peace of mind - not to mention a retirement where my go-to cookbook isn't "101 Ways with Alpo".