Forty years ago, my father bought a little retirement farm in Wisconsin. The farm included a wonderful old barn and a house that was started back about A.D. 1900.
The house was a standard, two-story farm house. But it was particularly interesting because it was built one room at a time. You could tell because not one of the six ground-floor rooms had a floor that matched the level of any adjacent room’s floor. Each room’s floor was a half or three-quarter’s inch higher or lower than the adjacent room’s floor.
It was apparent that the original farmer had saved his money, bought the land, and then saved more money to build his first room (now, the kitchen). I’m sure that he, his wife and kids all lived in that first 250 ft2 room. Later, as the farmer worked and saved more of his profits, he bought more lumber to build a second room (probably a bedroom). Then he even dug a basement under the third addition (no small feat in that rocky soil). After what may have been five or ten years, the farmer had built a pretty nice, two-story home.
I can imagine how hard that farmer had to work. I can imagine the strain of saving enough of his earnings each year to buy more lumber to add another room. I can also imagine the pride that the farmer, and his wife, and even their kids felt each time the farmer was able to add another room onto their house. There had to be a real sense of accomplishment.
But, most importantly, they had to be delighted that there was no debt.