One of my old co-workers bought a house several years ago. It was well out of his price range, but finding funding back then was easy, and he ended up really stretching to cover his monthly payments, taxes and insurance. I never met a harder worker, and not only that, a guy willing to make wild sacrifices to make ends meet. Every day I would see him in the lunchroom eating microwaved oatmeal for lunch, and I knew it was to save money. Faced with eating that stuff every day, there's no question -- I would have torched my house for the insurance money and moved into a shack somewhere in the desert.