My husband's Uncle said it best: "Every time you fill the tank of your car, put an equal amount in savings. That way when you need a new car the money will be there. And, if you do not have enough money to do this, stay home. Every time people go to town they spend money.". Now, my Husband's Uncle was a farmer, so when he was staying home he was working, and most of us need to drive to work. Still the advice was sound, and it directly led to us being able to buy 5.7 acres of rolling land with a creek on it. My own variation was to put a car payment in the bank, even though the pickup was paid off. At that time we had never gone more than 2-4 years without life kicking us in the teeth, and it was not easy to put a car payment in the bank but I did my best. I knew that one of our old cars would die on us at any time, and that we would need the money in order for both of us to have cars to get to our jobs. Only, my old vehicle did not break down in a major and expensive way when I expected it to. And. life did not kick us in the teeth for a few years, either, which was a very pleasant surprise indeed! At 200,000 miles the old Silverado only needed a few hundred dollars for repairs. And, at 250,000 miles it was still running. And, I had tried my darndest to put $150 a month in the bank, to which I had been adding whatever part of the tax returns we could spare, plus the contents of the penny jar. And, we now had $10,000 in there. This was starting to look interesting!!!!!!!!!!! Also, as I had mentioned, for the first time in our married lives life did NOT kick us in the teeth for a while! BUT, bare land needs a higher down payment, and that is *IF* you can find a bank to finance you. (I know now that the smaller local branches will finance a loan, but I did not know this back then ). Still, looking at land made a pleasant weekend diversion, and for the last 3-odd years I had been looking at "for sale" ads plus the odd drive in the country. Many weekends I would load up the car with toys and junk food, get the kids in the car, and we would be gone for 2-3 hours. A McDonalds lunch was often involved. And I found no useable land I could afford. Until I found something that I COULD afford, and DH saw it and pointed out that it lay directly between 2 cities and that it was therefor a good investment and that the value would go up. (DH is a dyed in the wool city boy and he LIKES it that way!) The way I had found the less expensive land was to go on-line. While we did not buy the land advertised, the entire area was inexpensively priced. I ended up driving around and looking at realtors signs. And, this particular parcel had 2 fairly major problems that brought the value down to where we could afford it. The first problem was that they were showing the land to people from a nearby small city, and it would not have piped in water available for the next couple of years. And, people who had had wells dug found out the water quality was very poor and not fit for people to drink. The other problem- which at the time I considered to be a bonus- was that there was a reasonably reliable creek on the property. Hot dog! I could get a pump and pump the water uphill to crops and water troughs and-and-and... OK, the creek was close to the road and I would have to cross it to reach most of the land. Well, I was figuring on a foot bridge that would support a riding lawn mover, or a tiller, and I figured I could deal with the creek. As it turns out the tiny creek becomes a torrent that is 30 feet across when we get a hard rain, but I did not realize that then and that only happens 2-3 times a year. And I *DID* get a bridge that worked: I will explain more later. * SO! The realtor knew what bank was willing to loan on bare land. The bank wanted $6000 down and payments of $160 a month, and I was used to saving $150 a month, so we could do that. And, payments would change according to what the prime interest rate was, and the prime interest rate had been going up for decades. Take it or leave it: the bank did not like loaning on bare land and they offered only the one option, take it or leave it. And taxes were only $150 per year. We took it. THEN our land taxes doubled as the property had sold for more money than they had expected. Oh, OK. Also about that time the prime interest rate dropped and so did our monthly payment. Well that balanced things out! And then life kicked us in the teeth again. Of COURSE it did! The very week we closed on the land I got sick with Multiple Sclerosis, and treatments have only been somewhat successful. I have only been able to do a little bit of what I dreamed to do with the property. I did do some, and I did get a bridge up. I am also getting into permaculture, which deals heavily with perennials. *About the bridge over the little creek: the one that turns into a raging torrent a couple of times a year? I knew I could not build a bridge that was 30+ feet long to bride the creek when the water was high, so instead I built one that would fall apart but be able to be easily put back up. Basically I bought pressure treated 4x4s and drilled holes in the ends of each board. I dropped them over the creek at a narrowish spot and ran heavy chains through the holes at each end, which I then looped around sturdy tree trunks. I secured the chains with carabiners, such as what rock climbers use. The carabbiners cost about $15 each, and the entire bridge cost about $150. When the creek floods some of the 4x4's slide off the bank, but when the creek gets low I just lift them back into position. Or at least I did for some years. That part of the bank is a bit wider now and I really ought to remove the bridge, but I never did get around to it. We are more prosperous now that the kids are grown and the land is almost paid off: we are considering hiring someone to make us a crossing over that creek. That area has since been declared a flood zone, and it is nothing we can handle ourselves.