You may have watched HGTV and seen some of the tiny houses featured, you may have seen cute lil tiny houses posted on Pinterest, or maybe you came across the luxury tiny houses on YouTube. Whatever it was that grabbed your attention about the tiny house movement, you may have gotten excited about the idea of turning to minimalism, and owning your very own tiny house.
But I Can’t Afford $50,000 cash
While $50,000, $30,000, and even $20,000 to build a tiny dream house all your own may be doable for some, it may not be the case for you. It may be taking everything you have just to keep your bills paid and food on the table every month. If you’re willing to accept that you have to tweak your vision just a little to build your little dream component by component, Its doable for you too. It will have to happen over time, while your neighbors look on stuck between disbelief and amazement, but you can definitely have your tiny house dream.
It starts with a plot of land
This plot, as you can see, is located in Kansas City, MO. and is priced at $950. If you were to speak with the real estate professional and find out that this plot is suitable for the placement of a prefab modular home (including no restrictions due to zoning laws, community by-laws, etc.) you could purchase this plot. Including a nearly 5% state tax on the sale and another 5% for closing costs, you’ll spend just over $1,000 ($1,045).
I still need the actual house
Now, if you were to purchase this, or a similar, modular office trailer from Ebay, you’ll pay $1,693 plus the nearly 5% sales tax in MO. This brings your total purchase to roughly $1777.65 give or take. This particular company also offers delivery of the home to your new site for $8/mile within a 100-mile radius. Using this scenario in which I have created, the total charge for delivery would be around $100. This brings our running total for the plot, the trailer, and delivery to $2,922.65. Not too bad so far.
You’ll need to prepare your plot
Now we are going to need a slab on that pretty little plot upon which to sit this trailer. A basic 4″ slab to sit under this 720 square foot building is estimated to cost you anywhere between $3,450 and $4,200. That’s your biggest expense so far, but it HAS to be done. This brings your running total to $5,378. For many individuals working full-time jobs year round with a dependent child, your income tax return should yield at least this much (Even more with multiple dependent children.) That’s enough to cover this very basic set up.
Still not ready yet
This includes no electricity or water hook-up. Remember earlier when I said it will take some creativity and a good bit of elbow grease on your part? Well here comes that part now. Instead of going with pricey plumbing put in by a contractor and tied into the city utilities, you can choose to live off-grid (at least temporarily) with some very simple plumbing done by you. Now imagine if we took the trailer above, and created this floor plan inside of it.
All you need to do is make a run to home depot for your necessary PVC piping and connectors. You’ll be running drainage pipes from your kitchen sink, through your kitchen cabinets, through the bathroom wall to where pipes from the bathroom sink and tub will intersect with it. Then run the pipe out of the bathroom wall into a drainage or irrigation system. You can use the resulting gray water to keep your backyard and garden watered. It could easily be run like this
You can also build your own composting toilet. There are multiple videos on YouTube showing not only how to build one, but how to use it. If you have never looked into this option before, I believe you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Here is one I really liked, but look through several videos to get a good idea of the many possibilities. You can create a look and feel all your own.
For the cheapest possible off-grid set-up check out THIS article. Keep in mind that there are many different alternatives out there for any of these products listed. There are also many different creative ways to be more effective and deliberate in your alternative living. Look around, familiarize yourself with what’s out there, then make the best decisions for you.
Finishing The Inside Of Your House
With your necessities taken care of, it leaves you completely tapped out financially. How are you going to furnish, paint, and decorate your new rent/mortgage and utility bill free home? Remember you’ve freed up some money from your paychecks, and finishing your home needn’t be expensive as you may think. Two of your greatest allies are Craigslist and Offer Up. Both sites offer dirt cheap or totally free used gems. You just have to be patient and diligent. For instance, since we have such a small living room, we should only be looking for a small sofa or loveseat, a tv stand, and maybe a coffee table.
The sofa/chair set and coffee table are both free, and the tv stand is $30 all on Craigslist.
On To The Kitchen
Do a quick search in Craigslist’s “Free” section as it often has free kitchen cabinets. They don’t have to be your dream cabinets, refrigerator, or shelving but you can work on them yourself to get a look you’re happy with. Here are some freebies I found on Craigslist.
You can also think more in terms of repurposing. Take an old buffet or dresser and turn it into a kitchen island. Use bookshelves as kitchen storage. Here are some creative ideas found on Pinterest.
On to the bathroom
Amazon for the shower, Offer Up for the tub, and Craigslist for the vanity brings our total for the bathroom to $180.
The bedrooms are easiest, so I won’t even bother walking you through furnishing those. there are countless possibilities, ways, and means to make this dream a reality for you. You just have to be dedicated to finding a way that works with your current budget, then build on it over time. With all you’ve seen thus far, if you just use a little creative thinking, put in a little work to do some sanding and painting/staining, in no time at all your beast will become a beauty getting you one step closer to your dreams.