Part of running a great blog – I think – is the ability to connect with your audience; being able to know what information they want and what they don’t. Well, I take that back. That isn’t the reason for all blogs. In fact, most blogs are more for the writer than the audience. But Tiny r(E)volution is not that blog. We are all about making a reference point for anyone and everyone interested or piqued by tiny houses. So to that end I try to listen attentively to what folks say as well as analyze what they are reading and what they aren’t. Very recently I realized that almost no one was really going to our page ‘The Plan.‘ It has been static in fact for about 11 months. I mean, it was our initial idea of how things would roll. Now that I look back it I chuckle at how naive and simpleton we were at that stage. To think that we would design our tiny house during Step 1 and that that design would be carried out through the remaining 19 steps. HA! Heck, we are on version 7.0 of our tiny house even know while we build. So I thought it would be fun to take a look back at that page at points and talk about how things REALLY happen when building a tiny house.

In step 2…well, let me let you read it:

2. Rough out a budget

We certainly are no strangers to living life on a shoestring. Both of us have traveled the country and the world with little more than a laptop and a backpack and much of my time living in New York was done so on less than $5/day (oh, that includes rent). As I explained in our manifesto part of our decision to move into a Tiny House was to avoid the bondage often caused by ‘the American Dream’ or ‘the American Mortgage Nightmare’ – whatever you prefer to call it. To that end we knew that second hand items, recycled and upcycled building supplies, and the labor of our friends and family, would be our saving graces. Our goal is to build for $10k or less. According to RealEstateabc.com, the median home price in July 2010 was between $159,000 (in the South) to $244,300 (in the Northeast). That puts us well below what it would cost to purchase a stationary home anywhere in the US. Our goal: part deux – if you will – is to also have much of the $10k paid for by the time we move in; no mortgages, no overhead payments, no loose ends.

We thought that we would come in around $10k for the build and even after buying our trailer we felt confident in this number. But now we are a seven months into our build and our budget stands at about $8200. That figure doesn’t include the $5400 of sponsored materials and products included in our home. We were so blessed to partner with such great companies as EcoFoil, LP Building Products, Mechanix Wear, Ethel Gloves, Gulf Coast Supply & Manufacturing, ClimateRight, Green Building Supply, SpaceSavers, and Rockler Woodworking and Hardware. So in total we are sitting at about $13,500 or so in liquid investment. That doesn’t count the labor at all. Best I can tell we have about 580 man hours invested. It has been no easy feat on any level.
The good news though is that we have successfully stuck with ‘part deux’ (see above) in that we have paid cash-on-the-barrel without anything other than a few short term store credit solutions.
All in all, I think we are doing well. I look forward to analyzing more of our initial plan and comparing it to how things have really worked out. In the meantime though, we have some more man hours to cough up. I leave you with a few photos of our work last night. It was the first time we plugged in an extension cord and ran some lights to work beyond sundown. Appropriate too since we were putting in the electrical outlets and light switches!

Where you are on your building project? Are you on budget? Did you think things would run in a different way than they have?