Frugal savers go from tent dwellers to homeowners

Odd News

Couple Roy and Katie Appleget decided to make a long term move into the woods and live out of tents with the goal of doing more with less to eventually purchase a home. As reported by WQAD News 8, they moved from Sioux Falls, South Dakota to a campground in Farmington, Iowa in March 2013,” …out of desperation," and "frustration.” The two documented the highs and lows of their experiences in their blog, “The Middle Class Chronicle.”

The Applegets' two tents that were their home for over 7 months. (WQAD)

Roy, an Iowa prison guard and his wife decided to change how they dealt with the money they earned. “Let’s keep our money instead of giving it to someone else. Let’s pay cash.” The newlyweds went from monthly bills totaling around $1000 to paying less than $200 for rent, water, gas and electric. It is a financial savings that they’re happy about and write in their blog, “We aren’t chipping in to pay the bonus of Alliant Energy’s CEO.”

The Middle Class Chronicle (

Roy said to the audience of WQAD’s original story, “Are we crazy or are you crazy? How much of your check is going to rent or interest to a bank?”

The "home-free" yard. (WQAD)

While the Applegets now sympathize even more with the experiences of the homeless, they are clear that they chose their lifestyle. “We are not homeless, we are home-free,” said Roy in May adding, “We’re not trying to do anything except do things the right way.” Though Katie admits that the ‘right way’ has not come without having to make hard decisions, “You need to decide what’s important to you. Are you able to pack up your life, throw it into storage and say goodbye?”

The kitchen tent setup (WQAD)

The Applegets endured flooding, insect bites, and theft of some of their property, but all the sacrifices allowed them to save more than $10,000 and make a cash down payment on a 3-bedroom house in Burlington, Iowa. After living in tents for over 7 months Katie said, “That is what we wanted, and we were able to supersede our goal.”

Roy and Katie Appleget's new home. (WQAD)

The home they bought in November was a dream for her, “I wanted this deck and the big backyard. Like I said, I can put a big garden back here.” Roy said it’s a big change from their daily camping experience, “Stay warm, take a shower for free instead of dropping quarters in a machine. It’s pretty great.”

Katie Appleget hugs the refrigerator in her new home. (WQAD)

Katie revealed, “When we bought the house, I hugged my refrigerator. I loved it so much!” Katie and Roy will no doubt continue their thrifty practices as they plan on paying off their home in just six years. “If you want it that much, you can do it. We proved it.” Katie said. Roy added, “Decide to do it. Cut the corners.”

More info: WQAD, The Middle Class Chronicle