Retire in paradise for $100k

Government control of your life?  Think “Red Dawn” is in our future?  Tired of other people deciding what your kids need to learn in life? Look to this resource for your inspiration to disappear.


First things first, you’re going to need some property. For me, it’s Texas all the way.  I was raised in Texas and as I’ve grown up, the dream of returning has never been lost.  For the sake of this article, I’m getting 20acres in Presidio county.  If you’re unfamiliar with Presidio County, it’s county seat is Marfa, TX.  If your unfamiliar with Marfa, TX that’s good.  I want to keep it that way.

Total: $5000

My (Wonderful) Home:

What could be better than a home you can move with you in case of unforeseen boredom?  Luckily the fine folks at Airstream have been building the best portable homes for over 70 years.  Depending on how many dependents you have, I would recommend something between 27-35 ft long.  There are countless customization options, so get one that suits your needs.

Airstream 28 International Signature Series

28′ International Signature Series & Ocean Breeze

Total: $35000 (Used)


I’m a man who loves fuel.  I know that I should feel guilty about this, but I can’t change the good feelings that come from the fumes on my clothes.  Especially after a day of working in my yard, riding dirtbikes, being on a boat, or just filling up my pickup truck.  You may point to oil as the root of all problems in the world, and that’s fine.  I just like it.  So for my dream, here’s what I’d like (Pre-owned prices):

1- ton 4 door Diesel truck $20,000
1- tractor $6000
2- Adult dirt bikes $4000
2- Childrens dirt bikes $2000

Total: $32,000




For $600, you could get yourself enough solar power each week (about 1KWh) to:

  • run a 20-inch tv for 20 hours, a portable stereo for 100 hours, a laptop computer for 40 hours, or a 12-watt compact-fluorescent light bulb for 80 hours.
  • The 800-watt inverter (with a 2,000-watt surge capacity) will run a small vacuum cleaner, a drill or a small drill press, a sander, a jigsaw or small band saw, but not a large circular saw. It will handle many toasters and coffee makers, but not all. A blender would be child’s play for this inverter, a microwave an impossibility. A hair dryer on low, yes; on high, forget it.

Here’s what the “$600 kit” consists of:

  1. One Uni-Solar 32-watt amorphous-silicon PV module, 12 volts: $180.00
  2. One Morningstar 6-amp charge controller, 12 volts: $40.00
  3. Two Deka 92 amp-hour sealed batteries, 12 volts: ($130.00 each) $260.00
  4. One Aims 800-watt modified sine wave inverter, 12 volts: $65.00

TOTAL: $545.00 (Let’s tripple this for a little more power $1800)

This leaves you with $55 for wire, battery cables, mounting hardware, fuses between components, and the miscellaneous odds and ends that are always needed for any project of moderate complexity.
Wind power comes in many different forms that range from a couple hundred dollars, on up to $20,000.  For sake of this dream, I budget $3000

TOTAL: $3000

Propane Generator:

$7000 — For total power coverage (Diesel or Propane)

$1000 — 1600 Watt Inverter Generator


Average well depth in Presidio county Texas is 404 ft, at $15/ft for digging, you’ll need about $6,000, If you decide you prefer somewhere else less remote, you can possibly find a piece of property that includes a well / septic system.
Cost $6000

Rainwater collection system

Cost: $500


Look to spend between $2000-$6000 for a permanent underground septic system.  The toilets in an Airstream use less water than a conventional home, so you could possible use a holding tank, but that seems pretty gross.  I’d like any feedback on this issue, if you are using an alternative sewage system (that’s legal), let me know.
Cost $4500


 The internet is a necessity for the sanity of many people, but not all.  If you want a connection, it’s possible in several ways.  I have been using the Verizon wireless Mifi2020 and it works great, it’s between 1-3 Mbps and it runs $60/mo.  There are many options out there, but I can only talk of my experience.
Cost: $720/yr

Verizon Wireless MiFi 2200

Verizon Wireless Coverage Map

ATT Wireless Coverage Map


In the (unlikely?) event that we lose access to basic food suppliers, such as Carl’s Jr or Seven 11 let’s think about what we could eat.  In west Texas, there are many deer and other sources of protein, but the land isn’t ideal for gardening.  However, there are certain fruit trees that thrive in this climate, as well as peppers, olives, garlic and some families of beans.  I’ll include some links here in the future, but please let me know if have better understanding in this area.

Overview of a 500sqft garden:

Cost: $1500


There are lots of things to experience in and around Marfa, and Texas such us:

Marfa Lights

Marfa Lights Festival

Presidio County Courthouse




…and in Texas:

And the Grand Total is $98,020



General Links: