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Posts Tagged Money

Taking Tiny Houses To The Next Level

There has been some discussion on our site about Tiny Houses whether or not Tiny House have “arrived”.  I personally think we are there or close enough, but certainly we will keep on growing.  It got me thinking, if there were a few things that I’d like to see in the coming years, what would they be?  Here are the top five things I think would take Tiny Houses to the next level.

1. Tiny House Lending

I think this is pretty self-explanatory; Tiny Houses face many barriers to getting capital to build their Tiny House.  While I am generally against having debt, Tiny Houses often are about the cost of rent for 3 years if you build it yourself, but most don’t have the money all at once.  I’d love to see a 3 and 5 year mortgage option for Tiny Houses.  I wrote more on this here

2. Tiny House insurance Co-Op

I firmly believe that there is a need for a nonprofit insurance company, that doesn’t have shareholders.  The idea that profits should be generated above paying staff and direct costs to the provider is something I take issue with.  So let’s have a nonprofit cooperative insurance group that specifically ties into the tiny house community.  I think much of the success of this will hinge on getting enough people involved and the establishment of plain language building code.  More here

3. Accessible Tiny House Building Code

What if building codes were written in plain English?  What if building codes made special provisions for Tiny Houses?  I have struggled with this one; do we want to bring in a formal building code?  It is a tough call.  I think in order to establish safety standards and open a dialogue with municipalities this is something that will inevitably come, so it might be better if we write the code instead of someone else calling the shots for us.

4. Tiny House Land & Communities

I would that getting land might be one of the largest barriers to Tiny Houses, to put it simply, land is really expensive unless you want to live in rural areas.  I’d love to see some land open up that is near a city and is opened up to Tiny House folks for a small yearly fee.  I have kicked around the idea of purchasing land and opening it to those who want to bring their Tiny House.  I’d charge a reasonable fee; I just need to figure out how to arrange it legally so I can protect myself from liability and squatters.

5. Tiny House Convergence

I would love to see a mass gathering of Tiny Houses and Tiny House people.  I often refer to our community of Tiny Houses people and I think an event like this would bring our close knit community even closer, generate a lot of discussion and make strides in progressing the Tiny House cause.  I would love to see it held where we could make a big splash media wise; just imagine a swarm of Tiny Houses converging on the National Mall in Washington DC one weekend!  The trouble is that we are spread out over a good distance so everyone would have to travel a good distance.

Your Turn!

What things do think need to happen next for Tiny Houses?

 

 

Living On $20,000 A Year

I found this great article on living frugally and thought it was a good read.

Do you avoid a lot of the expenses that many of your peers spend money on, such as technology and meals out?

For the most part, yes. I have a lower-end Android phone because I needed a new phone. I went as cheap as possible. I don’t own a car, I rely on public transportation, and sometimes biking. I have a laptop, because I need it for writing. I do have Internet access because it’s pretty important to get online. My only extra bill is Netflix, and I’m considering getting rid of that. I don’t go out to eat, or just for special occasions. I cook for every meal. I don’t drink coffee. I try to stick with water. I do go out to bars, but not every night. That’s my best way to meet people and experience cities.

What’s your typical meal?

I usually buy a pound of beef and a package of chicken and make easy Mexican dishes. I get some vegetables and mix it all together and throw it on a tortilla. I do a lot of pasta dishes. When I’m working, I usually pack a lunch, I make a sandwich plus chips or cookies to get me through the day. Then I get home and cook a fuller meal. I try to have a good mix [of food] so I don’t get sick. My brother taught me little tricks to take different ingredients around the house, like seasonings, to make a sauce that’s different and more unique, to give yourself different tastes.

What about clothes?

Once or twice a year, I might get a few new things, like an extra pair of jeans or pants, or a couple shirts, but I still have shirts I wore to college, so they’re six or seven years old or older. If a job requires certain clothes, then I’ll buy clothes for that. I maybe get one new pair of shoes a year and make them last as long as possible. I mostly shop at cheaper places, like thrift stores or Salvation Army or Goodwill. Those are good places to hit up.

Read the rest at here

How To Get Started: A Practical Guide Part 3

So we have got you in the right state of mind, got you excited to build your house within minutes.  Yesterday we talked about what basic tools to get and how to learn to use them, it may take a few weeks to complete this step, but we are moving on.  Today we talk about getting your finances in order.

The sad truth is that it will be difficult to get a loan from the banks, your best bet for this is to have a good relationship with your banker/lender and get creative with how you approach it.  There are some easier ways to get loans for the purchase of land (depending on your state), but they often come with 8-9% interest and 20% down.  Of course there a loads of exceptions and variations depending on what bank and where you are.

For many of us we will have to rely on the money we have in hand to finance our construction.   Depending on your choice of house to build you will need as little as $3,000 up to $23,000 if you do the work yourself.  Now you can make your money go a lot further if you scavenge stuff off of craig’s list, ReStore, dump, etc.  When it comes to building your house remember that it is almost always going to be more expensive than you expected, so budget for it; I suggest 15% additional for things that come up.

The other key thing to do is make sure if you are going to start without all the money, think about key steps in the building process that you need to finish.  For example, some people lay their flooring down, then put up the framing, you would be wise to have enough cash on hand to finish sheeting the sides and the roof so that nice brand new floor doesn’t get rained on.

So when I speak of finances I go beyond just affording your house, I want to shift your entire financial life, why?  A few reasons: first to be fiscally sound will mean you can more easily get into your house, next it means that you will be able to overcome any financial hiccups during the process and finally, having all your affairs set means that when you start to live in your home you will also be happier because you no longer have debt, collectors calling you, you have a security blanket for rainy days and reduced stress.  With all of these reasons you will be much happier because there will be no more financial stress and you will enjoy your new house more.

When it comes to finances I subscribe to Dave Ramsey’s approach.  His process  First establish a $1000 emergency fund, start viciously paying down debt you have, establish 3 months living expenses in savings, then and only then, you become stable and able to take on a loan and/or start saving for your Tiny House.

When it comes to your house I can’t stress enough, you need to have your finances in order.  Part of this process is also educating yourself about needs and wants.  To do this we really need to understand how our society places pressure on us to consume things.  Consumption is obviously tied to money, because we need to purchase things in order to consume.  If we are able to reasonably take ourselves out of this culture (to a point), we can reduce our spending instantly.

More on consumer culture tomorrow!

Motivation

The Renter’s Manifesto

One of my favorite new websites is called Mint.com.  Basically it is a financial website that allows you to manage your money, but it also has this amazing blog.  I have now vowed to never rent if can avoid it.  I have been there, done that and found it that the outcome was less than desirable especially compared to that of living in a Tiny House.

The bloggers over at Mint have put out an interesting article about renting, they propose that they are in fact better off renting.  The big assertion they make is that if you are modest renter, who can manage your budget, that it is actually better at building equity.  By paying less than a mortgage, saving the difference and not assuming the risks, you can do better.

What do you all think?

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