Got My Mind on My Money & My Money on My Mind

March 18, 2016

Tonight’s post is a little break from construction updates, and instead a few details about our budget for our tiny house project. I’ve debated going into this only because I get really uncomfortable talking about money. But, we’re sharing everything else about this project, and it’s undeniable that money is a big factor in many of our construction and design decisions. So, I’ll try not to bore you and let’s get to it!

Without knowing anything about building a tiny house, Eric and I decided we were just going to shoot for a certain budget range rather than a hard dollar line. I’m sure this is probably the exact wrong way to go about it, but hey! We like to live on the edge. The range we decided on was between $12 and $14 thousand. We knew there would be certain items we would want to splurge on and other areas we could cut back on costs. For all of our decisions we tried to keep a balanced approach.

Right off the bat, we knew the trailer was going to be our biggest, single-item purchase. The trailer is the foundation of the house, and neither Eric or I were willing to risk anything going wrong. We splurged by having our trailer customized to our exact specifications. There are definitely cheaper ways to get a trailer for a tiny house, but we wanted certain features so we decided to pay for them. You can remind yourself about our trailer in this post.

We knew one splurge down the road would be spray foam insulation. We are actually in the process of getting quotes about this now, but we knew ahead of time that spray foam would be quite a bit more than other types of insulation. However, we feel the benefits are worth the extra cost. I’ll go into all of this in more detail in a later post. I’m really looking forward to the spray foam post (I’m hoping to get some good video), but we’re still a few weeks away from that.

I also knew we were going to splurge on one really weird, random appliance: a bathroom vent. Say what?! That’s right, a bathroom vent. Who would have guessed that I would be so adamant about our bathroom fan, but I put my foot down on this one. It all comes down to three things:

1. Smells 2. Noise 3. Humidity.

Let’s be real here, in a tiny house, any bathroom smells need to be taken care of ASAP because there’s no running to the other side of the house to escape them since the other side of the house is five steps away. Also, if we cook any strong smelling foods we can use the fan to get rid of those smells, too. Basically, any smells need to leave the premises as fast as possible. As far as the noise goes, I hate, HATE hearing a bathroom fan running. I can’t explain why, but that noise gets on my last nerve. Plus, if the fan needs to be running, I don’t want the noise to take over the whole house. And finally, the humidity. In a smaller space, it’s easy for humidity from the shower to cause water damage (and we all know about our paranoia of water damage), so we need a powerful fan to remove the moisture. It took some convincing but I finally got Eric on board, and we went all out on a powerful and super quiet bathroom fan. (What is going on that this is something I’m concerned about? Oy vey.)

I know I’m forgetting other items we splurged on, but the point is that we’ve been careful to pick and choose what’s worth the extra money and what’s not. We know there are areas that we could save money, so we try to really take advantage of those times. Right off the bat we saved money by building the house ourselves. This has been a huge luxury, since hiring a crew would not have been an option for us. Building ourselves was the biggest savings, but there are other ways we try to stay on the low side of costs. We both liked the cedar wood siding, but that was out of the question so instead we used a great composite board siding that we both really love. (Siding post here.) We also scored BIG with our local Meek’s giving us all the AdvanTech Zip System wall and roof sheathing we needed for this house. They saved us around $570! (Read all about it here.) We shop sales and discount sites to find the best deals on items we know we’ll need. For example, just the other day we bought our convection microwave even though we won’t need for months. The convection microwave will take the place of our oven, and they normally run between $400-$600 for the right size we wanted. We got ours for only $209! Of course we could have waited to buy it closer to when everything was finished, but it was on sale so we pounced!

Ok, I’m sure this has been a thrilling read, so I’ll wrap it up with sharing our expenses so far. We have saved every receipt (and I mean every receipt!), and I’ve gone back through to break down each expense into various categories. I will update this along the rest of the way because there is definitely still more to buy, but here is where we’re at at this point.

Here is the budget so far.

Our grand total to date is $8797.24! We are getting so close to the end. Eric is finishing up the electrical wiring, we’re currently getting quotes on spray foam insulation, and soon we’ll be closing in the walls. It seems like some weeks move so slowly, and then some weeks a million changes happen all at once! Keeping our budget in check hasn’t really been a challenge so far, so I’m hoping we can stay on target as we make our way towards the finish line. Thanks for reading, and check back again soon!


1 Comment

  • Reply Hal August 7, 2016 at 7:56 AM

    EM you doing a great job ” at girl” I’m finding your blog most informative I may do the same with my “build” think this will help others. You need to see if you can gets some sponsors, I’m a woodworker and there are several who make some money to off set their time with their blog ” The wood whisperer “, ” Wood an shop “

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