One of the most daunting tasks for planning tiny is how you will come up with the money to build your tiny house. At least, it is for me anyway since my husband and I are working our way out from underneath thousands of dollars of debt and live paycheck to paycheck. We’re not letting that stop us from our dream of living a tiny lifestyle though.
If you’re like us, you may be needing to figure out a way to build your tiny home without having the money already on hand. Below is a list of actionable steps we’ve taken to help save, or make, the money we need for our future tiny house on wheels.
Pick the methods that will work for you and dive in whole-heartedly. If you do, you’ll start seeing improvements to your build fund. Be warned though, seeing that savings account grow will just make want to work even harder.
Eliminate your daily trip to Starbucks, don’t go out to eat as often, wait at least a day before purchasing anything new, pinch pennies, etc. The thing about clichés is they exist for a reason. They’re tried and true. Doing any, or especially all, of these things will help you save money you didn’t realize you had available to save in the first place.
Facebook Garage Sale Groups
You may or may not already know that garage sales have gone virtual. Do a quick search on Facebook for your city (and county) along with the words, “garage sale” or “yard sale.” For example, if you live in Little Rock, Arkansas search, “Little Rock Garage Sale” or “Pulaski County Garage Sale.”
You’ll probably get a few different results and once you join one or two, more will be suggested to you. Join as many as you can that apply.
Use these sites to sell your old items to bring in some extra money but also to buy things you need.
There isn’t a room in my house that doesn’t have something from one of these sites. I purchased our couch, a huge sectional that was in near perfect condition and probably cost over a thousand dollars new, for $100! You can find kitchen appliances, electronics, clothes, décor, vehicles, you name it.
Using things like the Facebook garage sale groups, Craigslist, Offer Up, and local auctions, you can save a ton of money finding old furniture and refinishing it so that it works for you instead of buying new. I’ve been able to snatch up benches and end tables for $10. With a quick coat of paint, they look brand new and like I paid closer to $75-100 for them.
If you’ve never held a paint brush in your hand before, don’t worry. There are an unbelievable amount of video tutorials and blog posts out there to help you. It just takes a quick Google search for “how to refinish furniture.”
Another tip, don’t buy new cans of paint. Check the sites I mentioned above and the “Oops” paint at hardware stores and Wal-mart. This is paint they made for someone but was brought back because they didn’t like the result. It’s usually heavily discounted.
Habit for Humanity Restores
Besides using the sites above to also find good deals on materials for you build, check to see if there is Habitat for Humanity Restore near you. They usually have amazing deals on doors, windows, sinks, furniture, just about anything you need for a home. It won’t all work for a tiny house but should still be worth the trip.
If you have a place you can store the materials, you can buy items as the deals come up and when it comes time to begin the actual build you won’t feel as much of a financial burden.
In addition to my full-time corporate job, I have a few side hustles going. A side hustle is basically anything that brings in a little extra income.
I use the money I earn from them to either reinvest in the hustles to expand the business or put towards our debt/savings. None of this money gets used for anything else.
Here’s what I currently do that might be worth taking a look at for yourself.
- Freelance writing/editing: Individuals and companies pay me to write or edit their blog posts, website copy, press releases, social media posts, etc. (Side note: I was not paid to write this article. Saving for a tiny house is something I am passionate about so I jumped at the chance to offer a bit of help to others.)
- Virtual Assistant work: Most of my work experience has been administrative so I offer myself as an assistant to individuals or companies that don’t have the time to handle more tedious tasks likes managing emails, invoicing clients, scheduling appointments, making travel arrangements, etc.
- User Testing: This website gives you certain tasks to do for their clients on your computer or smartphone and records your screen and voice while doing those tasks. It helps their clients get direct feedback regarding their website, app, or service. It pays $10 per test and they vary in the time it takes to complete them. I’ve had some take just a few minutes and others take half an hour. There are more users than tests available and you won’t qualify for every test so you’re certainly not going to get rich but it’s easy and every extra bit helps.
- Refinishing furniture: I mentioned earlier that you can save yourself some money by buying old items and refinishing them so they work for you. I not only do this for the items that come into my home, but I do it for other people as well for a fee.
There is a wealth of knowledge about each of these types of side hustles, and a whole host of others, online. Start exploring the options to see if any would work for you. Beware of the scams though!
Don’t Make Yourself Miserable
I’ve said it on my blog a number of times and I will continue to say it every time the topic of money comes up. Don’t feel guilty for occasionally spending some! I’m a firm believer in not living for the future. Plan for it the best you can but never count on it.
If you beat yourself up every time you spend money or constantly deny yourself the things that bring you joy, you won’t stick with it.
This is why, even though we’re trying to pay off our debt and save money for build, I’m still not afraid to take a weekend trip out of town to stay with my best friend. I don’t feel bad paying for Netflix because it’s my way to decompress at the end of a frustrating day at my corporate job. I don’t feel guilty for occasionally going out to dinner or a movie with my husband because we take our relationship very seriously and believe you should never stop dating your spouse.
If I didn’t spend the relatively little amount of money to do these things, I would be absolutely miserable. What’s the point of being miserable for years, hoping one day you’ll be able to live your life the way you want? That day is not guaranteed to arrive so you might as well have a little fun now.
The key is to find balance.
Spend just enough on the things that really matter and cut out everything else. This balance has helped my relationship become stronger, gotten us closer to our goals, saved my sanity, and helped keep me motivated.
Is saving money difficult? Yes. Is saving enough money to technically build a house an incredibly daunting task? You bet. Is it possible if you’re willing to get creative and work hard? Absolutely!
Are there any methods I didn’t cover that have worked out well for you so far? Leave a comment and let us know your success story!
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