Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Tiny House Force Multipliers: Taking Life To The Next Level

I’ve been doing some thinking about tiny houses and my path to them.  A little bit ago I realized that there were some key things I did that I realized may have actually taken the good of my tiny house and brought it to the next level: They acted as a force multiplier.  What is a force multiplier?Untitled-1It’s crazy to think that things could get even better while living in a tiny house! But when we look at tiny house force multipliers we can really take tiny houses to the next level with some tweaks.  Here are five things I’ve come to realize will take your living in a tiny house – or even just those who are living tiny, but not yet in a tiny house – to the next level and change the trajectory of your life so profoundly it will amaze you.

1.  Become Totally Debt Free

This seems obvious and its easier said than done, but living debt free does a lot to for you in terms of financial freedom, reducing stress, and opening up opportunities for yourself.  What is more, when you’re not paying off debt, not only do you not have that money sink, but you can then leverage those funds in better ways.  The opportunity cost here is huge, check out this post.

I also feel the need to clarify that when I say debt free, I mean totally debt free; too often I hear people say “we’re debt free” only to later her about a car payment or student loan. No!  That’s not debt free!  All forms of debt are essentially shackles placed upon you and thus inhibit your ability to live life on your own terms.  For those of you who do have debt, of any kind, make a plan and get rid of it; the only thing that’s worse than debt is being convinced that there is “good debt” or doing nothing about it.

2. Shift To A Location Independent Career

Having a location independent career is essentially having a way to earn a living without having to be physically in one spot all the time.  Basically you can earn a living working remotely, not having to be cooped up in a cubical 9-5 five days a week.  This has been something that from day one I have always wanted to incorporate into my tiny life and since starting this journey have only recently (early 2013) been able to achieve.

Untitled-1I knew that not having to be in an office would make a huge difference, but now that I have been living this life (see this post), I am beginning to think that it actually has had a larger impact than even moving into a tiny house.

Earning a living in this manner has done two main things for me: 1) I can work from interesting places that best for me  2) Since I don’t have to be in an office, my income is not tied to time spent in a chair, but to how productive I am.  This means that I can travel and work from wherever and when I do work, I work as long as it takes to get my tasks done.  This often means that I can buckle down, be efficient, then be done and since I can work from awesome places I can then get up and go explore the places I travel to for the rest of the time.

3.  Built In Resiliency

Resiliency is the ability to respond to changes and shocks to your life and bounce back quickly.  Today in America we are very reliant upon external systems to handle a lot of what we need to do; Things like our food system, our power grid, how most people weather tough times via credit cards, etc.  I will try not to go too deep into this because how large of a topic it is, but read this post to learn more about it.  Suffice to say, I feel like its important for us to plan to stand on our own two feet and to be able to weather the ups and downs in life.  If we plan for those rainy days we extricate ourselves from putting out fires or living crisis to crisis and enter into a place of stability where we can be our best selves.


There is a good part of the world that lives crisis to crisis and for those who are well off, they typically live big purchase to big purchase. It is no wonder that things are like this because 75% of Americans live pay check to pay check.  Try to understand what that must do on your health, your relationships, your quality of life, your well being when most people barley can come up for air.

Some examples of this for me have been having money set aside for a rainy day.  Opting to have solar panels and a generator.  Having a garden and extra seeds.  Living in a tiny house that I can move to different locations easily.

4. Diversified Income

This is the next major step I’m trying to incorporate into my life.   It’s one that I think will help me boost my resiliency and bring a lot of positives into my life.  Basically my goal is to develop a way to earn a living in addition to the one I already make.  I want this income to be in a different sector, a different way of making money, and have its strong points be the weak points of my other income.  The idea here is if I can earn an additional income unique from my first, they are less likely to both fail or slump at the same time.  Basically when it comes to earning a living, I don’t want all my eggs in one basket.  I have some ideas on how I’m going to do this and am looking forward to pulling the trigger soon.

5. Building A Rainy Day Plan

Here’s the truth, in life, there are going to be bad days and even a few horrible days.  Some will be annoying, but a good night sleep will fix it, others will be catastrophic: illness, job loss, death of loved one, divorce, etc.  In either case you really only need two things: the support of loved ones and time to work through it.  So we know these things are going to happen, so why don’t we plan for it?


For me a rainy day plan means: have money in the bank so I can live without working for at least a year, have food tucked away for 3 months, have health insurance and I am moving quickly to being debt free.  What this means is if something really bad happens I can just take the time to work through it, do what is best for me at that moment.  I don’t have to worry about work, how I’m going to put food on the table, or pay my bills; I can just deal with that situation, with that grief, with that problem.  In these times you’re best hope is to minimize what you have to worry about and maintain or boost what is most comforting to you.


Your Turn!

  • How can you take the good in your life and take it up a notch?
  • What do you do to weather the bad times and not worry in the good times?
  1. I have a question for you and your readers: do you think it makes more sense to build a tiny house while in debt or pay off the debt first?

    • Well I paid for my tiny house first then living in it has freed up income so that I can pay things off. I am not debt free yet but I’m on the road to becoming debt free.

    • We are going to pay off our debt first because we don’t have the extra money to buy/build our tiny house.

    • Going tiny will allow us to pay off our debt. Between student loans, consumer debt, and car loans it’s going to take years to pay it all off with our current living costs. By downsizing in both size and cost of living we will be able to pay off this HUGE debt much more quickly. Ideally I would love to be out of debt first…but it just doesn’t make sense to keep living at this cost.

  2. I agree with Maggie, the money that I will be saving month to month by living in my small house-can’t go tiny in town where for health reasons I need to be- will free up enough money monthly to be debt free within 2 years, except for my car payment, which will take another yr or so beyond that, but it has the lowest interest rate and the longest warranty.

  3. Depends on how much debt and your credit rating. I would think you would need to “count the cost.”
    If you have heavy debt I would go to Credit Counselors of America or other credit agency that has been in existence thirty years, before all the credit scams started. A case work will negotiate with your creditors so you can avoid bankruptcy. They can get you some really good rates with low monthly payments. Once that is done, built a tiny house out of scrap. In the long run, you will be debt free and, if you need to make a change, sell your little house something more to your liking.
    If you are not in heavy debt, then lay out your financial picture on paper, with and without the tiny house. If you need to get a personal loan for the TH, you need a good credit rating. You might be better to pay 10 bucks over the minimum due to your creditors to get your credit rating up quickly. Set aside everything you can and begin locating plans, materials, etc. to start your tiny house. One thing is certain. You will be able to pay off the debts faster if you don’t have housing costs. Just be sure to find a place to park a tiny house so you have an idea of the lot costs, etc.. Where you live depends on how easy it will be to find a place to live. If you live in Oregon or Washington, you are fortunate indeed as these states are tiny house friendly. In Florida, it is a battle. We can’t even buy TH insurance here.

  4. I’m useing the tiny house life to retire early. I don’t have debt issues, never really have. But I wanted to be able to retire at 50. I have a pension that pays at 50 but not at the max level. So I sold my house to my daughter. Moved into an apartment. Cut my living expenses to the bone, and am putting $1000 a month towards parts and pieces of a tiny house. Already have the trailer. Electrical and Plumbing supplies next month. Doors and windows the month after that. May 1st the building will begin and my lease ends July 1st…..I’m shooting for $12000 total but even if I have to put a little on a CC, after I’m not even paying rent that will go away quick. Then June 2016 I turn 50….Giving away and selling a 4 bedroom house worth of STUFF was cathardic and freeing.

  5. I read through these ‘directives’ and well, no offense… I snickered. This is because i have four school age children. It makes all things happen much more slowly, much more expensively, and much more anchored to location… Than when i was single.

    In many ways, my life is more magical, dynamic and multifaceted than it was when i was single. But i have more profound dependencies… And yes, much more STUFF than i did when i was single. Still, the goal of simplifying life and catalyzing the essentials is so important. It just looks very different from the single life.

    When the kids move out, i expect to do a re-downsize… Of course. Cant wait!

    Saving up to live work free for a year? Nearly impossible with four kids.

  6. Suggestion: If you want to continue to work as a writer, proofread your articles BEFORE publishing them–I quit reading this one about half the way through due to the large and the irritating number of errors of syntax and grammar…

  7. I, too, am a member of the Grammar Police, but you’ve got to quit being so sensitive and critical. Blogs are spontaneous, as compared to websites and hard copy, where you’d expect (demand) error free content. Lighten up and enjoy the blog for what it is; it’s all about concept, not perfection.

  8. Cal 20 Sailor,
    My mother said if you can’t help, and don’t have anything better to offer, zip it!
    If everyone was perfect, then we would not have the benefit of this person’s experience; we would just be listening to your negative sarcasm. I will take the positive attitude, “syntax and spelling errors” anyday!

  9. I WAS going to email about the errors I had found as well, but I would NEVER be as rude about it as that other person was.

    Normally I send an email about where I found the error, (including webpage address and what the error is), so that it can be rectified. I find people are quite happy to fix things when politely advised of it without everyone seeing my email letting the author know about it. I expect that not everyone who writes a blog has a Masters in English, is an English Instructor, or has a natural ability to spot errors. If Cal 20 sailor wishes to not follow the blog, that is his choice, but I am sure the rest of us are here for content and not perfect spelling.

    Disclaimer… English is my second language. If you find some errors in how I write, please keep them! I am sure I will make more! 🙂

    That is why I privately let the authors know about the errors when I can. If they want to fix them, (they usually do), they can more easily do so if we tell them!

    • Great approach and great attitude!

    • LOL! I actually edit for two academic presses and for an online content mill, and some of the folks with master’s degrees or PhDs are among the worst offenders. Particularly with the content mill, I’ve come across people with a wealth of information on a topic but with poor writing skills, and it would be a shame to lose access to their knowledge and wisdom because of their lack of skill with grammar, punctuation or spelling.

  10. If I wait until I am debt free I may never start building my tiny house.

    • Thomas, I hear you. I am thinking of the formula of two months’ expenses in savings, then divvy up any extra between debt repayment and a tiny house fund.

  11. I got debt free first, including paying for a little bit of land, but it’s taking a long time to save enough to build even the most basic shell. Luckily I have a reasonably inexpensive housing option or it would take even longer. In the meantime I’m much happier to be debt free. As other people have pointed out it really depends on your individual circumstances and how comfortable you are with debt. You need to look carefully at the numbers and run several scenarios.

  12. First, great article and perspective. Everyone of course has their opinion on how they want to handle their debt. I too have young kids (two boys, two girls) and lots of material possessions that come with said kids, but my wife and I have made some major progress in downsizing and becoming debt free. We developed a three year plan and started reducing our monthly burn with a solid budget, and we also consolidated our revolving debt using LendingClub, which was liberating. Craigslist, garage sales or flee markets has become our first stop for buying, and when we are done with it or don’t need the same.

    Lastly, I have to shout at the grammar police, OMG! I am trying to learn about tiny houses and share my experiences, as I am sure others are. Go find another blog, so we do not have to read and sludge through your anal concerns. Really? Go find a book club.

  13. Down the road, after I have eliminated the odd trinket or two, (or five tons worth, whichever comes last), I will be able to fit into a tiny house. I have no debt, but I also have not enough money coming in to pay expenses, (until I get a job), and am burning through my savings. When they say it is a good thing to have an emergency fund, I am the first to say, “OH YA BABY!!! Emergency fund FTW!!!”.

    With a part time job at a fast food joint, I could cover my expenses in full. Unfortunately that will not be enough to replenish my emergency fund. It will it not allow me to build up a “Build a Tiny House Fund” nor buy a property to park it on as well. I watch my dad, owning his own home, minimal expenses and decent health easily manage to do what he wants with his finances. My present pension covers my food and rent and nothing else. When he passes, the family home will be fixed up and sold. Yes, I could move there, but who wants to move from the west coast, (aka paradise), to “Been there done that, got the t-shirt, but dropped it in the winter, and it shattered in the -38 celcius cold!”. If I did not have rent to pay by owning a tiny house I would be in a similar situation as he is. So, it is time to get an income, get a secondary passive income, and build while I still have some strength left in these grumpy bones of mine, while they are still only grumpy!

Leave a Reply