Why live in a massive mansion that requires a lot of upkeep when you can keep things simple in a tiny home? Luke Thill from Iowa was only 12 years old when he started thinking about getting a piece of the tiny-home pie. The best part of all was that he was going to embark on this journey by making his own little home all by himself.
Not Just Any Kid
For most youngsters, the summer vacation is usually the best part of the year since they get to fill their time with anything that does not include schoolwork. Luke Thill was no ordinary youngster, though, and found that he could get a lot out of his summer vacation than most of the kids around his age.
In any case, after a few days of summer vacation, the whole hype of waking up late and continuously playing video games wears off, and the boredom starts to kick in. That was not the case with little Luke, though, who took to YouTube to get some inspo for something to fill his time with proactively.
DIY Project for a Tiny Home
As the tween scrolled through YouTube in search of a summer vacation project, he was almost instantly drawn to all the content that he stumbled upon of all the tutorials on "Tiny House DIY (Do It Yourself)." He saw what felt like hundreds of video tutorials of crafty people building their own tiny homes, which seemingly supported all the demands of ordinary or large-sized houses.
While the concept of building his own tiny house seemed impossible and intimidating at first, the more he saw it, the more he realized that it was something that he could get himself into. Thanks to the help of all these YouTube tutorials, Luke was determined to build his own very tiny home all by himself.
Plan of Action
As much as it was a tiny home, it was far from a tiny project. Thill was going to require a lot of special equipment and supplies to get started on this project, so he turned to his parents. He made sure that his parents were on board with, firstly, letting him embark on this summer project and, secondly, helping him out with things in whatever ways were needed.
The 12-year-old at the time pitched a concept to them that was pretty tough to refuse. He made a deal with his parents that instead of spending his summer days like a couch potato playing video games, he would instead be proactively working on his tiny house project. His parents agreed to the deal and maintained that they would assist with certain parts of the project, but he would still need to work in order to fund the project.
Financing the Project
Thill was excited to get started on his new project, but building a tiny home costs money, and money doesn't grow on trees. How was a 12-year-old going to find the funds to build his own little DIY house? The tween started working odd jobs here and there in his local neighborhood to get some funds for his project. Between mowing lawns, washing cars, and taking out the trash, Luke took on as many odd jobs as he could.
News soon spread about the youngster's project, and most of his neighbors were impressed and curious about the project. As he learned from all the tutorials online, being environmentally friendly was also part of the DIY tiny home lifestyle. So not only was Luke going to need to be a hard-working little kid, but he was also going to need a savvy side to use as many recycled items as possible.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
The more Luke immersed himself in the idea of building his own tiny home, the more he fell in love with the concept. Another thing he learned in his tutorials was that the main purpose of a tiny home lifestyle is to practice minimalism and simple living, using only essential items to get by. Furthermore, a little house had a much smaller carbon footprint on the environment, considering that most of the building materials were recycled.
He realized how much junk and unnecessary clutter one collects when living in a big house. This became even more clear to him since he was cleaning out other people's garbage on the side. Along with the many things he found that he could repurpose, he even found an old front door lying in a heap of trash, which was in a perfectly good condition.
A Little Help Needed
It became apparent to everyone in the neighborhood, including Luke's parents, that Luke proved to be a hard-working young chap. Not only did the youngster offer his services in exchange for money, but he also offered to do random jobs to get help for his tiny house project. Ultimately, the YouTube tutorials were helpful, but there were a lot of tasks that he couldn't do by himself.
For instance, setting up electrical wires in his tiny home was, firstly, no simple task, and secondly, most definitely not suitable for a 12-year-old kiddo. Fortunately for Luke, he had a neighbor who agreed to help him wire the entire little house in exchange for Luke cleaning out his garbage. Little by little, this little house project started to make some noise.
Almost everyone in Luke's neighborhood had caught steam of his not-so-tiny, tiny house project, and they kept checking in for updates. Those who found out about it were utterly fascinated, and he soon found himself having to answer the same questions on multiple occasions. This pushed Luke to think of ways to keep everyone in the loop without needing to repeat the same things over and over again.
Of course, the easiest thing to do was to start documenting the project, so Luke thought of creating his own YouTube channel. Thanks to all the tutorials he had already watched on the topic, he was already familiar with the documenting and vlogging process that needed to be carried out. Like this, he could keep everyone in the know, and not too long after, he gained a pretty big following.
Catching Local Media's Attention
By now, Luke had pretty much gathered just about everything that was needed to get his tiny home project started. However, when the summer vacation was done, it was time for the kiddo to head back to school. One day, in the middle of a school day, Luke got a call that most students fear — the principal wanted to see Luke in his office, and he had no idea what for.
On his way to the principal's office, he couldn't help but think of all the reasons that he had been called over or what he was in trouble for. To Lukes's relief, the principal told him that his YouTube channel had caught the local media's attention. Coincidently, one of the reporters was a dear friend of the school's principal and asked if Luke would agree to an interview on his project.
By this point, Luke had come quite a long way in the process and had already gathered pretty much all that was needed for the undertaking. Thanks to his odd jobs and hard work around his neighborhood, the tween managed to rake in about $1,500. A hefty amount for a 12-year-old! The community was rather impressed with this kiddo's determination.
Amongst his eager followers and all the media attention to his tiny house project, it was now time to take things one step further. Luke did a lot of research, and he had the required materials and tools ready to go, so he felt like it was time to get started on the actual construction of the tiny house. That, however, did not mean that it all went down without a few bumps in the road.
The First Hitch
Luke was quite particular about not just wanting any regular tiny house but rather a remarkably designed living space. He paid extra close attention to every detail of the plan, and that included the countertops. After he landed on a particular tutorial, he tried to mimic the idea, but it didn't exactly go as smoothly as he would have liked.
He tried to put his DIY skills to use to create a stunning countertop with glaze and broken pieces of glass. In his attempt to create something special, he carefully arranged the glass pieces and poured the liquid over the arrangement, only to have the glaze leak through the mold. So, instead of one step forward, he took two steps back and had to spend that whole day cleaning up the huge mess.
Luke tried not to get discouraged, regardless of the slight setbacks along the way. There were actually several aspects of the project that didn't go as planned. For instance, Luke was set on having everything that a regular house had for his tiny home, like a kitchen and bathroom.
Sadly, though, installing a fully functioning bathroom facility proved to be a heck of a challenge that the youngster just couldn't tackle. He considered several different options for the plumbing, but unfortunately, they all proved to be too much effort. Eventually, he settled on the idea of just using the bathroom of his folk's house.
Sleep in the Tiny Home
Several weeks of construction had passed, and Thill decided it was time to take his little project for a spin. The little house did not have an AC system installed, so he wanted to see if sleeping there was possible. By this time, it was in the peak of the winter season, so he feared that it could be too cold to get a good night's rest.
He didn't have much furniture in his little home yet, but he did have a bed. So Luke spent the night in his tiny home for the first time, and since luck was on his side, he actually slept like a log. In fact, he even said that it was so warm that he had to open the window in the middle of the night to get some fresh air. Finally, his due diligence and hard work had paid off!
Being the tiny house that it was, many people found it difficult to believe that fitting in all the necessities that a normal house would have was even possible. But Luke was one step ahead of that and had already thought of it all. His tiny home included a tiny living area, a tiny dining area, a tiny kitchen, and even a tiny separate bedroom.
The living and dining areas were made to be in the same space, but there was a fold-down table to distinguish each space's purpose. The upstairs area was reserved for the bedroom, so Luke had full privacy upstairs. Besides having a bathroom, Luke pretty much had everything else that he needed to be at ease in his tiny home.
The small home measured up to around 89 square feet, and since Luke had limited space, he made sure to make the most out of every last inch. The kitchen was equipped with a small fridge and even a small electric stove top. Thill also kitted the walls out with floor linoleum to make it seem extra cozy.
After the glaze and glass project, which didn't go as planned, he decided to repurpose the mold as a storage place. He even had multiple plug outlets, all fully functioning, thanks to his electrician neighbor who lent his helping hand. The boy finally got his own private and comfortable mancave that he could escape to whenever he felt like getting away.
His little home really came together as the ultimate dream. The lounge was pretty much kitted out with everything that Luke wanted. A TV was set up with a comfy couch, and despite the small size of it all, he could not have been happier with the outcomes. Inch by inch, Luke's project was all coming together pleasingly, and he started spending more and more time in his own tiny, humble abode.
At the same time, Luke was still a schoolboy and didn't plan on entirely vacating his folk's home just yet. This was especially true since he didn't have a bathroom in his tiny home, but his parents did permit him to sleep in his own house a few nights a week. Several months went by, and Luke turned 13, and this was when his project took another surprising turn.
As one can imagine, the talk of Luke's tiny home spread far and wide, and despite the fact that Luke was so young, he made the front page of both journals, the "Telegraph Herald" and the local Iowan "Des Moines Register." Each broadcaster wrote an excellent piece on Luke and his accomplishment of making his very own tiny home at such a young age.
Audiences were blown away by the teen's success story. The news traveled even further, and ABC's show "Good Morning America" also wanted a piece of the story, so they traveled to Iowa just so that they could get a tour of Luke's tiny home. There was no doubt that this kid was impressive, and it was now out in the media for all to see.
An Awe-Inspiring Teenager
By now, a lot of people, as well as media reporters, were curious to find out why Luke wanted to build a tiny house in the first place. The teen's answer was quite mature for his young age. He declared that he "wanted to have a house without a huge mortgage." That was an impressive answer, considering he was only 13 years old at the time.
Besides being a cheaper option, Luke added that around 75% of the house was built from recycled materials. The construction of the home put less of a burden on the environment than most homes, and that was the biggest bonus for Luke. He asserted that if everyone lived more simple lives, then in general, their lives would be far less stressful.
Resolving the AC Issue
As the seasons went on, summer came back around, and the need to have a functioning AC became more of a priority. Most know how hectically hot and humid the summer in Iowa can get, so Luke devised a plan. He was aware that the 15-amp electrical system that was currently installed wouldn't be enough to successfully power an entire AC system.
Luckily, Luke was an innovative chap, and he knew just what to do. He purchased furnace filters for a measly $2 and sprayed them with water. He then placed them next to the windows and the fan so that every time the air passed through the damp filter, it cooled the air down. Essentially, this was an improvised evaporating cooler that used evaporation to lower the temperature.
Tiny House? Tiny Mess
Anyone knows that an ordinary-sized home is not easy to maintain as a proper clean-up can take up to several hours. Lucky for Luke, his tiny house with its tiny spaces was a lot more easy to keep clean and tidy. Living in a small-sized house is ideal for those who hate cleaning and keeping things tidy, and Thill regarded himself as one of those lucky ones.
Every couple of days, Luke would do a little clean-up for his little home. He shared a vlog on YouTube of the whole process, in which he admitted that it usually only takes him about 15 minutes to get his tiny home to a spick and span level, clean and tidy. Many of his subscribers commented how jealous they were that it was such a breeze for him to clean his house.
Tiny House Party
While the concept of throwing a party in a tiny house seemed great, a lot of Luke's followers wondered if it was even possible to entertain and have people over in such a small space. Having a tiny house, however, does not mean that you can't have your loved ones over. Luke added that he loved to host his friends and family at his tiny, humble abode.
Admittingly, he said that cooking was a tad tricky in his little kitchen since smoke quickly filled the small kitchen space. Nevertheless, he did learn how to cook "camper stew burritos" and often hosted his loved ones so that they could get a taste. Of course, he couldn't invite a whole boatload of people over at once, but when the weather was nice, it was easy to have all his guests sit outside.
While the 13-year-old certainly made a big impression with his tiny house, it was the first time that he had ever built something of this kind. Understandably, he had some regrets about a few choices he made along the way of building his own tiny house, but he regarded all of them as lessons to learn from.
For instance, the glaze spill and the lack of a bathroom. He also admitted that one of the light fixtures that he installed was too large and, therefore, easy for people to knock their heads on. He also added that the paneling was done too fast, and that resulted in a scruffy end result. Nonetheless, he was still super proud and chuffed of his overall project.
One Step Further
Thill's family members were, of course, highly inspired by his epic project. His brother Cole was so inspired that he decided to follow in his older brother's footsteps and ended up building his own DIY teardrop camper. The design was very close to Luke's tiny house, except it was built with wheels. The Thills also documented this whole project on YouTube.
It was clear that these boys were ready to travel. Their mom also got involved and purchased an already-built 1972 Forester Kayot camper van, which needed some upkeep. The Thill brothers planned to give the house on wheels a complete makeover, and not surprisingly, they documented the whole process to upload onto their YouTube channel.
As time passed by, the Thill family worked on so many DIY projects together that they made their very own DIY empire. By this point, Luke claimed that his first tiny home project was just a practice round, and now that he knew everything there was to know, he could go one step further and build something even better.
This time around, though, Luke claimed that he wanted to build something a bit more permanent. The hard-working teen planned to build an even bigger tiny house that he could kit out with furniture and live in. This meant that he needed a fully functioning bathroom and to rectify all the setbacks from his first project.
Thill's Newfound Fame
Every year, the little city of Dubuque in Iowa hosts an event called "Movers, Shakers & Newsmakers," in which they award extraordinary people for their exceptional projects. To Luke's surprise, he was chosen as one of the top 10 most fascinating people. His achievements were raved about by many of his followers.
Seeing as Luke was only around 12 and 13 years old when he started to build his own tiny home, he received a lot of media attention and praise for this outstanding feat. The little celebrity was all the "talk of the town" and even landed himself an invite to a fancy dinner party. He was probably the youngest one to attend the event, but certainly one of the most awe-inspiring.
Luke was so accustomed to getting good feedback from his YouTube channel. But as most know, the internet is a harsh platform where all sorts of naysayers like to naysay. Despite Luke's young age, this did not stop the unforgiving trolls from sharing their negative views and opinions.
One of the comments left by a naysayer claimed that it was utterly impossible for a person of Luke's age to pull off a project of that caliber all by himself. The commenter stated that he definitely got a lot of help from others. Thankfully, Thill's dedicated fans rushed to defend him and stood by the youngster's side.
Luke's YouTube Channel
As of recently, Luke has over 80 thousand subscribers on his YouTube channel. He also has over 170 vlog entries posted. In a recent video, the teenager claimed that he had his eyes on a "piece of land to purchase for a certain build." He added that he is still doing some research on how to "best complete that project."
Furthermore, he stated that he has some plans in the pipeline for another DIY build in the future, but this time around, it will not be a tiny house. In fact, he is going to go for the opposite and will build something much bigger.
Where Is Luke Now?
Luke is currently in school to become a paramedic and recently finished his National Registry test to get an Emergency Medical Care license. Thill is currently also working on the side to save up money for all his future building projects. Reportedly, he is trying to plan what he wants to do with the future that lies ahead.
The last video that was posted to Luke's channel was filmed while he was out with his brother and a bunch of their pals on a winter camping trip. Of course, the friends all camped in the Thill brother's DIY creations. They took the teardrop on wheels, which has since been "winterized" by adding covers and winter wheel covers.
Where Is Tiny House Now?
In the same video, Luke gave viewers a peek into his first tiny house project that gave him his claim to fame. He has since also "winterized" this creation of his and has converted it into a storage space for "a lot of the activities" that he does. In the video, one can see that his dirt bike is currently being kept on the first floor of the tiny house.
He ensured viewers that it was still a well-used space. Luke said that his viewers can expect more upcoming videos soon about the land that he wants to purchase and the projects that he is going to do on the land. At least we know that Luke isn't slowing down with the DIY project anytime soon.
Luke's Final Thoughts
Despite what anyone thought, Luke steered his attention to the bigger picture. He not only learned a lot about DIY construction projects while making his own tiny home, but he also realized the true value of the Tiny Home movement, which he was now a part of. Thanks to this, Luke now found that his priorities had changed a lot as a teenager.
He is more focused on minimal living, which means that he isn't going to be gathering a lot of things. Besides that, he was also more environmentally aware after all the things he learned from his project. He believed that if everyone lived with the bare minimum, AKA only the things they truly needed, they would live much happier lives.
Gone are the days of mega-mansions and luxury lifestyles. With the rise of housing costs and an increasing need to "go green", people are turning to new housing styles. These can include anything from the Instagram glorified "van life" lifestyle to DIY homes on self-sustaining hilltops.
While many of these options are low-cost, they do still require a bit of cash. Whether it be over the price of conversions, construction, or upkeep, it's best to find out what these alternative lifestyles actually look like, and if they are worth the cost for you.
Project Van Life
This is by far the most popular form of alternative living that appeals to anyone from hardcore nomadic hippies to rich hipsters on a break from city life. The US is currently seeing a home revolution with folks across the nation converting old Sprinter vans into mobile homes. It's cheap to buy and you can obviously travel anywhere.
Of course, the sky is the limit in terms of luxuries and amenities, but for the basics, it can cost as little as $3,000 to buy and build your own vehicle. Things can get steep but it's still a whole lot cheaper than buying an actual house.
Not everybody wants to rough it. You can't blame them. If you can afford to, then why not. These luxury vans that have some of the luxuries of a home can start at around $15,000. If you like, you can even get a van for about $100,000 and feel like you never really left home but can still wake up to wherever you want.
The legendary Volkswagen or a brand new Sprinter can cost between $25,000 to $60,000,. That's us the van itself, never mind random additions and upkeep.
What Comes After The Purchase?
Once you've made the initial purchase, you'll be surprised that there are things that you need to add, like a toilet and sink. Yup, only occasionally do vans include primary things like toiles and insulation. Generally, those are all add ons. You can also go to town on what type of flooring you want, the cabinet designed and bed frame (if at all.) alternatively, a hammock and minibar or cooler can work just as well.
If you want to go cheap, you can put around $1,000 into basic amenities. It may not be the most aesthetic thing in the world and if this is for you Insta-lifestyle, you should probably rethink it, but this is a version of van life that works for many.
Anything Is Possible
If you want to get a serious bougie van with fancy showers, designer cabinets and lighting fixtures, then these things can cost a pretty penny. Prepare to fork out anything between 20-50 thousand dollars
It's important to take into account the amount of time it takes to convert a basic van into a luxury home. It's certainly a consideration before commencing such a project. Think about time.
The more you install, the more the upkeep and maintenance costs go up. Of course, that's not the only thing. Gas, car insurance, camping, parking fees, and speeding tickets are ongoing considerations. And that's just the driving-related expenses!
Van registration is also a costly affair. That can cost around $1,200 monthly. Think about whether or not these ongoing are affordable while you're on the road.
House Or Van?
No matter the costs and your personal range, the van is still ultimately cheaper than owning a home. In fact, for around the same money, you can build two, even three vans. The downside? A house's value increases over time, while van's value decreases. With a van though, you can always change your environment.
The van-life's social media appeal can also make for a lucrative business. Social media influencers make quite a killing over their Instagram-worthy lifestyle. You can't always do that in traditional homes. Then there is personal richness versus material richness. You pick what works for you!
You Gotta Be Frugal
If you're on the road, you're going to be spending money. Many sources claim that it's impossible to do van life for under $20,000. That number just depends on what you're willing to compromise.
Building the cheapest van possible can always work for some. You also have the option of adding as you go. It all depends on how long you plan to be away and what you want to use.
If buying and accessorizing is not the route you want to go, you can also get resourceful and start building your own thing. There are endless resources when it comes to van building. Create your own kitchen and living room spaces. It can be 100% unique.
Alternatively, you can just opt for pre-built structures and go from there. There are so many ways to live out of a van.
Forget The Vans
There is certainly more than one way to live cheaply and alternatively. These days you can pretty much create whatever home you want from today's technology and resources. The options are endless. Flip whatever you like to a home on wheels and cruise away into a dreamlike reality.
Depending on how many people you're traveling with, you can also pick bigger options like a school bus for example. The work required to convert a school bus into a mobile home might be a little more, but done properly, it can be totally worth it.
It Can Be Super Financially Savvy
It's possible that the idea of living out of a school bus sounds like any baby-boomer's nightmare, but you would be surprised as to just how pro-green and economical this can be. It's not that different to van life, it's just much bigger.
This may like the costs a little more but you can fit in more amenities. If you choose this route, how much money do you really need? Here's the breakdown.
What Do You Get Out of It?
Converting a school bus into a home can be great. It's almost as spacious as an actual house, well, a smaller house. You can be totally nomadic if you like, but at the same time move around as much as you wish.
Building and refurbishing will take more time to finish but don't worry, it's totally worth it. A big question however is, do they last?
School busses are built to survive just about anything. They are meant to transport kids after all. Whatever money you put into your school bus home will be well worth it as you are less likely to suffer from constant road-side breakdowns.
The cost to buy a bus is roughly the same as a van, sometimes even lower. The asking price starts at around $3,000 and can go up to $10,000. You can find a perfectly good one even for $2,500 after a good amount of research. But where do you start?
Find the best deal at your local bus dealership, online auctions, or even Craigslist. Don't rush the process. You can definitely pick up a good deal with a little bit of research.
It's crucial to check out the vehicle's maintenance records before purchase. Don't be too concerned about mileage as you're likely to replace a lot.
The Building Costs
All in all, it can cost about $30,000 to convert a bus into a home. That estimate is made of both the initial purchase as well as all the building materials and tool required to reconstruct the bus.
Of course, one can always do it for less than that. You might want to use some elbow grease and say goodbye to hired laborers to save a buck here and there.
More Space = More Time and Money
Like with anything, the more work something requires, the longer it takes. Converting us is going to take longer than a van, simply because it's bigger. Think carefully if you have the time and the money to convert a bus over a van.
It requires time-consuming planning and research. You have more options to consider when designing and refurbishing a bigger space. Try to create a blueprint of the interior and work according to that. Consider how you would like to space things too.
Adapting To A New Lifestyle
When living in a bigger space you can install virtually anything you like. A large bus can accommodate a real bed, dining room take, and various appliances. These furnishing costs can start getting pretty hefty and might make you start to wonder why you opted for a mobile life to begin with.
You may also have to upgrade some things for "the off the grid living." Sometimes less is more.
The Bathroom Dilemma
If you're not into outdoor plumbing, take comfort in the fact that a fully converted school bus can contain a shower, sink, and toilet. These certainly do add more to the price tag. If it's too much, you can always just stop over and use nature.
Another option, if you find yourself settling into one spot for a longer period of time, you can try a compostable toilet. That can cost about a thousand dollars. This system requires no septic tanks or sewer lines. This might be more suitable for more permanent housing situations.
Convenience Versus Hardwork
Whatever your preference, whether it be luxury conversion, or a "just the basics" home on wheels, in the end, you get you what you pay for, so it's important to be satisfied with whatever type of effort you choose to expend. Living luxury has a price, but it may save you a lot of hassle when you're on the road. The basic option may give you a little extra cash in your pocket, but requires some compromises
It just comes down to what kind of person you are and what kind of trip you want in the end. You could settle for one option and instantly regret it. Conversely, you could also totally surprise yourself.
Location, Location, Location
Living in a small home is all good and well. Until you realize that sometimes, you can't just plonk down on whatever piece of land you want. Sometimes you have to pay for it. A big cost factor is deciding where to place your actual home.
This price range will be a big determining factor of how much you end up spending on the whole setup. Land prices, surrounding areas, etc. These are major considerations and obviously, some areas are much cheaper than others. It might be important to ask yourself: Could your tiny home be a potential deal-breaker?
Camp or Rent
When living in a tiny home, you need to think about whether or not you suitable for road life or not. You can either buy a piece of land, rent a spot and park and RV or even rent property to place your miniature home.
Costs vary depending on what you choose, and of course, certain comforts play into it too. Ask yourself how permanently you want to live in certain areas or if you want to keep moving. Keep in mind tiny homes are a big way to cut costs and lessen environmental damage.
It's not as pricey as you think it is to buy land. There are certain spots that you snatch up for as little as $100. It all depends on where and how big. Consider what's more important, owning land, or living in a good location. If you're lucky, you can have both.
Building your home on a reasonably priced piece of land can come to about $100,000, that's for both that land and the home.
If you think that living in an RV might be for you then you will be happy to know that is a very popular option. It can come with quite the price tag though and in some cases can be the equivalent of paying rent for an apartment.
Prices can range between $500 and $1,500. Still, these costs are pretty much all-inclusive, so you're covered for water, electricity, Wi-Fi, and trash. While the cost may be similar to an apartment, at least you will have more privacy and will feel like you have owned your own home detached from others.
A World of Tiny Homes
When choosing the type of off-the-grid-life, you want, you will discover that there is a world of housing options out there that's not just busses, vans, or RVs. People seeking new types of living situations are coming up with amazing new designs, some even pretty high end.
These small homes allow for a simple life with fewer materials. It's even spawned an entire architectural and social movement that explores creative and resourceful ways of living. Is this option more suited for you? Let's find out!
What You Get
Building a complete tiny house on wheels can cost around $60,000. That's quite a lot of money but bear in mind that it includes a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. Like a van or a bus, unfortunately, its value deprecates love time, but the land it's on can actually increase in value over time.
It's important to investigate just what type of land works for you and more importantly, where.
Live Like a Hermit
Renting land in a secluded area (and not an RV park) are generally cheaper. There are some major trade-offs to consider though. Your utilities aren't going to be part of some all-inclusive package like it would be with an RV parking spot.
If you find a good secluded spot, expect to pay as little as $200 month.
Jazz Up Your Tiny House
There so many ways to live "tiny." Choose a spot in the city, or in the woods. You can even "pimp it out" with jacuzzis or designer and custom made features. These expenses add up but they do make for comfortable living.
What are your goals for building a tiny home? is it to be environmentally conscience? Is it to be mobile? Or is to simply save some money. Whatever your choice, it's easier to navigate what you want.
There are countless designs and styles available for you to choose form. From mobile homes like a caravan, busses, vans, and RVs to shipping containers and houses made out of junk. The price range differs for every option and each one provides a different kind of life style.
What type of lifestyle appeals to you most? Can you build it yourself, or do you need a professional? Do you prefer to be environmentally friendly? These are the kind of questions that will help you determine what you are looking for. Still not sure what's out there? Keep reading to find out more alternative living.
Forget Land, Try Water
When living tiny, we tend to think this only revolves around road-life or abandoned little plots of land in the middle of nowhere. Takin to the sea or any other body of water is just as freeing. The cost can be as low as $12,000.
Living on the water is the ultimate way to see the world. You can set sail whenever you like. Sure it requires a little more effort and know-how than driving, but it's totally possible. Try life on a canal boat and even liv in big cities. It's far cheaper than getting a mortgage or paying rent in an expensive city center.
For about a thousand dollars you turn some old shipping containers into a full-fledged home In fact, the whole housing system has become quite a trendy alternative and some rather artistic designs have begun to pop up.
These hunks of corrugated steel have even begun housing communities of artists. Check out Container City, a peaceful cottage community in London.
Forget about bricks. Civilizations have been living in tents for thousands of years and they were just fine. Why shouldn't we try it out, even if it's temporary? Folks have been opting for tents and even building communities on beach fronts.
Okay, granted, it can be pretty risky, and sometimes you can be kicked right off. It's cheap but it might not be the best option for long term living.
The Straw Bale Home
Taking the countryside life a step further, the straw bale home is also becoming an incredibly trendy option. Hay actually doubles as a great insulator so this will do well in colder environments.
You might want to reinforce it with slightly sturdier materials lest a wolf comes to huff and puff and blow your house down.
The Hobbit House
A method of housing that has been around for centuries has recently made a comeback. The house in a hill or earth berm is essentially a house underground that is built into a natural hill. While the front entrance is exposed the rest of the structure is basically housed by the ground itself.
The earth berm is cozy and safe and comfortably off the grid. The only downside is, its quite complex to construct. Perfect for hobbits!
The Earth-Bag Home
Who thought you could build your house out of rice. That's right. Bags of rice or feed-bags filled with soil or dirt are good substitutes for bricks. These sturdy bags can be a perfect wall for a home and you could do it yourself.
It's a great way to use alternative materials. You can also make some pretty cool designs this way.
Recycle Your Bottles
The perfect option if you want to repurpose waste. The recycled bottle house might not be for everyone but it's a great way to save money and be environmentally friendly. It also has the potential to look super artistic.
if you want to take your recycling to the next level and have the patience, then build your house out of bottles. With a little time and effort, you can have your own home at virtually no cost.
The Geodesic Dome
These energy-efficient homes are super unique look like they're straight form the future. You might also be surprised that super easy to build. A Geodesic home can be as little as a few thousand dollars.
These funky domes will make you feel like you're living in a sci-fi film. They're stylish, incredibly designed, and are perfect for a minimalistic lifestyle.
Free Spirit Spheres
For the free spirits out there, because its in the name. This tiny house takes living tiny to a whole new level. A round tree-house that swings from the trees, you might be less inclined to entertain. But who needs that when being in your house is an adventure in of itself.
Aside from being super fun and unique, the Free Spirit Sphere house is inexpensive as it is an alternative.
Tree-House For Grown-Ups
Did you ever think that your childhood fantasy could come true as an adult? This might seem completely far-fetched, but there are people who are actually living in some pretty awesome treehouses out there.
It's inexpensive and probably the best way to immerse yourself right int nature. Be careful when you build it though, this isn't some after school hangout for kids.
Introducing the cob house. The most eco-friendly type of house that exists. It's also just terribly adorable to look at. The interior is also wonderful and looks kind of dream-like with its rounded curves and smooth walls.
Of course, it's also one of the cheaper housing options and you can totally do it yourself. With its sand and clay mixture, you will leave no carbon footprint. Expect to pay a few thousand dollars for the whole thing.
This sustainable home is known as the Earthship. It's not as dramatic as it sounds, even though it sounds like it could come straight out of Star Trek. It is perfect for those who are seeking an alternative lifestyle and don't know quite where to begin.
You can also enjoy the amazing selection of designs. They are architecturally mind-blowing.
Hemp Concrete House
Have you ever heard of a house built out of hemp? Did you even think it was possible? Apparently it is! If you can make wallets and bags out of hemp, it looks like you can build a house too. The hemp concrete is super sturdy and, as you may have guessed, completely environmentally friendly.
If you're eager about investigating non-traditional materials to build your home, this might be a viable option. This is not only for tiny houses. You can build a pretty substantial and large house with these materials.
While yurts are traditionally used in Mongolian, Siberian, or even Turkish communities, these kinds of homes have been taking hold in the west for quite some time. The collapsible tent is made out of animal skin or felt and is surprisingly firm and sturdy.
They are extremely inexpensive homes and decorated properly can be quite beautiful. If it gets a little cold, you can always insulate it.
Living in nontraditional housing can get rather isolated. Often you're on the road or in a secluded area in the middle of nowhere, not surrounded by many people. But it shouldn't have to be! Seeing as it's becoming so popular, many people have taken the liberty of creating communities in these alternative settings.
Often situated in outer city limits or deep in forests, people who would like to purchase large plots of land, combine their money and resources, and live together. This way the burden is shared by all.
Another form of community living, a Baugruppen is a little more specific in terms of who actually resides there. Generally, these communities are created out of common interests or a need of wanting to have a specific type of society.
These types of communities also tend to be a lot of hands-on and everyone looks out for each other. It works only if everyone is strictly in on it.
The Box-Car Home
Looking for more creative ways to create your perfect living situation? The box-car home is another idea that belongs to the ongoing list of non-traditional houses.
This Alaskan inspired housing method is extremely beautifully designed and amazingly cheap to do so. You can really go to town on creativity with these things, both interior and exterior wise.
Who thought this was even an option. These houses are constructed out reinforced styrofoam and can really survive most types of harsh weather.
People have turned these little houses into some seriously gorgeous homes too.
African Prefab House
For a house on a budget, the African Prefab House method is the way to go if you're trying to do some serious saving. The design may not be as artsy as other alternative houses out there, but it will certainly make for a nice and modest home.
The housing style is particularly popular across South Africa, so it may be slightly harder to come by in other countries. Still, if you can get your hands on those materials, you sure will have an adorable house.
Here's a method that involves a lot of time and a lot of passion. Buying and fixing up broken up old houses is a fantastic way to create the home of your dreams with existing foundations. And if you want to discover your inner designer, it's also the perfect route to go.
It's also a great starter home for a newly married couple and the perfect way to embark on a team project together. The appreciation value will also skyrocket over a few years, so bear that in mind.
The Pallet Home
Pallets just lie around unused all over the place. So some people have taken the liberty of actually repurposing them, and what better way to do that to actually build yourself a nature house from scratch. It costs next to nothing.
If you have a piece of land and a little money, a simple pallet house is ideal. It might not be the most permanent situation but if you're saving up for something bigger then this might be perfect.
Live In An Outbuilding
For less than $10,000 you can have a beautiful little outbuilding or cabin in the woods. The prefabricated materials are easy to assemble and available even on roadside highways.
Find your perfect little secluded spot for your home and reside in peace.
This is trend is growing increasingly popular in Germany. Take Nicolette Stewart, for example, who, in 2005 moved to Germany after quitting her office job. There she moved into a "wagenplatz" (trailer park) where she lived out of an old caravan.
She replaced the rotten boards, cleaned it up, installed some insulation and appliances, and voila, it became home. This sounds like a dream to many. What's even more incredible is that anyone can do it. If you have an appetite for the adventure of course.
Living in a Truck
Just like living in a wagon, bus, van, or RV, a truck is also a perfect option for living on the road super comfortably. A truck can accommodate as much as a small apartment can so you can cruise in total luxury.
They're chunky things to drive, so keep that in mind. It's the kind of thing you park and chill in for a few weeks, even months.
Living in a Storage Unit
It's certainly no permanent solution to living, but if you find yourself in a temporary housing crisis, this might be the perfect option. Sure, you might encounter some legal issues and be subject to eviction and complaints but if you get lucky and can stick it out, this is a super cheap option for decent housing.
You can save money on the side and eventually move out to a bigger and better place. Who knows, maybe you'll get comfortable and stay a little longer.
Homeless By Choice
Who needs vehicles, cabins, or little prefabricated huts when you can just hit the roads and take shelter anywhere! Living nomadically can be an adventure if you're careful of course. It's possible to find dwellings all over the place.
Just pack your sleeping bag and even yourself a trip. Food might be a little harder to come by. You might be an expert forager by the time you're done.
Seeking The New Norm
Whatever route or method you choose for your alternative lifestyle, make sure that effort and the costs fit exactly with your intentions.
Whether it be on the road in a simple van, hiding out in a picturesque village, or even just heading off by foot, the alternative lifestyle is definitely a cheap yet enriching experience that can work for anyone.