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Thanks ThyPeace, I might take you up on that offer someday... But definitely building an emergency fund.

Manhattan or San Francisco is a very extreme example. Albuquerque probably is significantly less expensive if you want to compare metropolitan areas.

Metropolitan areas are probably more expensive as far as rent etc. but time spent driving also equals money in addition to gas, oil, oil filters, air filters, engine coolant, windshield wipers, windshield wiper fluid, tires, these expenses add up exponentially the more miles you drive per year, and probably equal to more than rent in the city.

Especially if the nature of the rural area requires you to travel around 30,000 miles a year (that's a real world figure for rural livin'). That's the simple truth. And most rural areas are extremely dispersed (Talking western United States, I imagine the eastern side of the country is less rural{at least in comparison to the west})

Rural living was cheaper 50 years ago when people still farmed and produced local goods. Now pretty much all people are dependent on large commercial and international trade of goods. Farmers markets exist, but the farmers will travel the same 6 hours to the nearby city to set up shop, so soo much for that Haha...

As far as moving to a less rural area, There are alternatives to Manhattan or San Francisco. There're places like Prescott, Arizona or Durango, Colorado which are definitely not metro areas, but they have all the amenities that larger urban areas offer. And although they probably cost more than Pie Town, New Mexico or some place tiny, they are not even close to as expensive as a metropolitan area.

I would like to live in a place with at least a population of 1,500 people, so that at least there is a gas station and grocery store. Currently live in a town with 150 population. Remnant of a town that died a long time ago. Literally hundreds of miles from everywhere.

However, every year is a learning experience.

Bulk food is good, but it depends on what you buy. Lettuce for example is a horrible thing to buy bulk. Making the trek to a nearby city sometimes is unpredictable, (need to talk to a bank, or pick up a car part that can't be mailed, or get back to civilization to actually hang with friends and have a life for a couple days Haha).

Figuring out what works and what doesn't takes time (trust me I've thrown away lots of rotten lettuce), and the learning experience takes an investment in money on it's own.

Honestly, the rural area isn't even the problem with my debt... The furlough helped create it, but it's not the real problem. The real factor was my not saving money during my twenties and using it to buy expensive toys and go on trips (thus why it's called a hurricane in my initial post). Having health insurance only works if you pay the deductible... duh, but sounds like Greek to a 20 year old trying to use his (or her) paycheck to just have fun...

So the problem I have is not necessarily finding out that dry milk lasts longer than fresh milk.

What I was needing to know is, if it's advantageous to consolidate debt (as far as better rates being able to reach goals)? or better to attack each open debt one at a time (and avoid compounded interest).

But looking at some of the good advice in the replies. I would say having an emergency fund is what will help avoid a debt situation like this in the future. And debt consolidation can be dangerous because it frees up accounts and allows you to incur more debt before you get out of the consolidation loan. Very good things to consider.

I think I shall make a list of my debt and rank each debt by priority, and eat this elephant, one bite at a time...

Thank you to everyone who's replied thus far...
Fool on,
-Matt
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