When I started researching tiny homes in 2011, there was not a ton of information out there about cost. Other than a handful of awesome DIYers who managed to build their own for less than $20,000, I didn’t have a lot to go on.
I recently started thinking about what I wanted our tiny house budget to be and settled on $50,000. I know what you’re thinking – aren’t tiny houses supposed to be cheap? Well no, actually, because:
a) prices per square foot are higher, the smaller the house is and;
b) many tiny house dwellers opt to spend more on their homes to get exactly what they want.
For us, we haven’t decided if we will buy, build or a combo of both. This is reflected in our higher budget number. We aren’t planning a ton of high end finishes for our tiny house, but if we choose to buy, labor is a budget killer!
The number breakdown below is based on my own research into costs as well as an estimate from Jenna of Tiny House Giant Journey. Her breakdown was super helpful for things I hadn’t originally remembered, like a water heater. No cold showers for me thank you!
Our Tiny House Budget
For my math inclined readers, you probably noticed the breakdown only adds to $35,725, which is $14,275 below our budget. Why the difference? Again, since we aren’t sure what percentage of the house we will build ourselves, I left a healthy labor cost buffer.
In some cases, the above numbers do include labor (like the floor as well as the roof). In other cases, they don’t, like the trades (plumbing & electrical). These numbers also don’t include tool costs. The tools needed for the build will either be generously shared by my handy family members or in the costs of labor if we buy rather than build.
These numbers are not set in stone and I plan on updating them with actual, real world costs when we start building.
Saving for Our Tiny House
The next obvious question is, how do you plan on playing for this Brittany? Well, dear reader, I’m glad you asked! Unlike traditional homes or RV’s, tiny homes don’t normally qualify for traditional mortgages. Most banks don’t even know what to do with them.
While this is beginning to change, and the situation might be different when we are ready to build, I want to pay cash for as much of the build as possible. I don’t want to say that going into debt isn’t an option for our tiny house, but I do want to avoid it all costs.
I’ve slowly been stashing money away over the past year or so and am happy to report I have $5000 in my tiny house savings fund.
I’m 10% of the way there! I can almost afford the tiny house trailer! I think if I visualize what parts of the tiny house I can buy with what I have saved, it will be easier for me to reach $50,000.
To keep myself accountable, I’m going to share regular savings updates! Which sounds boring, I know. But as any personal finance blogger will tell you – you’ve got to know your numbers!