Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

A Renewed Perspective

6506783.cmsI wanted to share a renewed perspective on why I – along with many of you – am attracted to living in tiny houses.  The last week has been an emotional roller coaster for me, I was called in to my boss’s office to find out I was being laid off.  This was  a huge surprise considering I had just finished up glowing performance review, but there I was, being told I had 30 days before my last pay check.

So obviously my mind was reeling with things like: How will I pay my bills? What if I get sick?  I still have to finish my tiny house, where will that money come from?  It was a nightmare week to say the least.

simplicityNow as I write this I am happy to say I was able to pull some contacts of mine to land a new job in a few short days, a miracle by any standard.  The worry of not having a way to earn a living was very scary, it meant sleepless nights, it meant trimming my budget and worrying over bills.  The event was a nightmare and yet at the same time I was lucky when considering how many people are looking for jobs and have faced layoffs.

So the perspective I gained out of this experience was this.  How would have this experience been different if I had my tiny house finished?  If we were to say this story happened next year it would have been a lot different.  By that time my house would have been done, my car loan a thing of the past, my bills would be reduced down to $450 monthly expenses and I’d have roughly $10,000 in the bank; enough to last me almost two years!

So what this shows us is that tiny houses bring not only a sense of home, a sense of responsibility to our environment, to a simpler way of living, but it brings security from the ups and downs of life.  Not having a mortgage is a huge deal, it changes the game when it comes to your monthly finances and to weathering the tough times in life.  I am constantly reminded of a song lyric that goes:

“There is no dollar sign on peace of mind, this I have come to know”

15 Comments
  1. Awesome outcome, Ryan! I’m almost ready to build, but a job change has to come first. I have some leads on that, but the real problem is, where am I going to park this thing? I live in a western suburb of Phoenix, and there are ordinances against anyone living in a “travel trailer” in someone’s back yard. It leaves buying a small, expensive lot, or living in a trailer park. Thinking about moving toward the eastern mountains where land is cheap, but job and family are here. A LOT to consider when getting ready to reduce your footprint. I have several designs created for my tiny house; hybrids of many that I’ve looked at. Gotta sort out this parking thing or there’s no point in building it.

    • Kent, I also have the ‘where to park it issue’ with Phoenix. I previously lived in Youngtown. Please share any ideas you find. I have a dual axle trailer in my backyard and cash enough to build a tiny home…but need to know where I can place it before starting. Spending $500 monthly to put it in a RV lot really defeats the purpose for me. Employment is a non issue for me.

  2. Wow. Close call. That proves not only the value of a tiny house but the value of staying connected and having a good network. Glad to hear you landed a job so quick.

  3. “A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.”
    Henry David Thoreau
    I have often wondered why some tiny house dreamers take such a long time planning and planning when in reality a few evenings of drawing plans and a month of real effort would have them living under a covered roof,with insulated walls,in a trailer mounted tiny house.It is at that point that all the other decisions can be made as one lives in the space.
    Pick up the hammer and get building.The sooner the better!
    Robert
    TheTinyBungalow

  4. Sorry to hear about the bad news….but bad-turned-good. It pays to be prepared, think ahead, and have good friends, as you have. Same thing happened to me in ’05, but I smiled the whole time my boss canned me (after reviews so high I was paid two huge bonuses), because I was already planning on quitting and had a job lined up already.

  5. Thank you for this well written article. You nailed it on the head. This, more than any other reason, is my interest in tiny houses. With an unstable job market, and so often finding the majority of what I do make going towards a roof overhead,(and a rental at that) the sheer waste, frustration and uncertainty would be greatly relieved in a tiny house. I can’t control the economy, and often my earning potential, no matter how hard I work. But a paid for tiny house, no matter how crappy my current pay, would resolve one of life’s main necessities. Shelter.
    With everything else often out of my control, at least this one simple thing would be under my control- and this basic need met.
    And that would relieve the greatest stresser of all.

  6. Dear Ryan,

    We too know the agony of losing ones method of earning an income, I understand. This is why we ended up living on a boat with our 9 year old daughter. while it was painful it was also wonderful and brought on a great closeness for our family. Today we are back on land and have benefited greatly in so many ways. I believe it really showed us allot about what is really important. God Bless !

  7. Question to whomever would like to answer. If one would like to move into a tiny house but doesn’t have a place to put it AND needs to stay relatively close to work, what do you suggest? Mentally, I am almost ready, but I do need to keep working and lack a space to park a tiny house. All encouragement welcome.
    PS To Ryan, good luck with everything!
    Thank You

    • So I’d chime in and say Robert is correct in the fact that you can legally build such a house, but you cannot legally live in it. The distinction is an important one and comes into play when you start looking at things like utilities etc. In a few weeks I am releasing an ebook on this topic that spells out a lot of this stuff and answers your question directly.

      • How did you find a deal like that?? that is the challenge is see it, if you dont want to pay the same rent for an apartment to just park in an rv park, you have to find someone with land willing to let you park your tiny house. Im a full time student online and see this as a great way to live comfortably within small means…

    • Hello Vicky,

      I wish I had a better answer, but I think its going to come down to networking. You’ll likely need to find someone that you’ve known for a long time who you can trust, who also happens to have some space in their yard or driveway. If I had extra space I wouldn’t mind letting someone use my space for $100 a month.

      This is a long shot and will probably sound crazy but you could approach some business owners who might be able to help you. For example if you agreed to buy all of your wood from a certain lumber yard, they might let you build in their back lot.

      If you give us a few additional details of your situation someone here might be able to help you more concretely. Where you live, what you’d like to build, places you’ve considered, financial constraints, work/build schedule.

  8. Ryan, sorry to hear about the work stress. That can take a lot out of a person and deflate one’s energy for other projects. I’m glad you’re forging ahead!

    For Vicky,
    We also have the rule that you can build a tiny house, as long as you don’t officially “live” in it. However, “camping” for 364 days a year is not against the law ;)

  9. I’m glad to hear that things worked out for you. I completely agree with this post and wrote about a similar topic over at my own blog yesterday (http://www.120squarefeet.com/2013/02/time-our-most-valuable-posession.html)

  10. What a stressful week! I’m so glad to hear a positive end to that post! The unexpected is bound to happen and once your home is complete you’ll definitely be able to feel more secure. Ever since we finished LaCa there’s been so much less stress in our lives. It’s amazing what an impact a tiny space can have on your entire life and I look forward to seeing yours completed. It’s going to afford you so much flexibility to pursue your passions rather than money to pay bills and events such as being laid-off will look more like opportunities than disasters!

  11. Good article outlining a major reason why tiny house people want a tiny house. Who needs the stress of paying for shelter in this economy? I’m glad for you, Ryan, that something worked out so quickly (like you said, a miracle.)

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