When we began building our tiny house, we had to make some crucial decisions on where we needed to spend our money and where we wanted to spend our money. To make these decisions, we had to consider what resources we had available, what resources we didn’t, and our overall skill sets before the build. Here are five money saving tips while building a tiny house:
Borrowing tools is an easy way to save money, because you won’t be purchasing all of the tools you may need. Some tools are required for certain projects, but unfortunately, you may only need them once (think plumbing supplies). For that reason, if you’ve got family or friends that may have a few of these tools, it can be extremely helpful to borrow some of these to save some money.
If you’re feeling extra generous, you can even take those friends out to dinner to say thanks once you’ve returned the tools. By doing that, you’ll still only spend about 5% of what it would have cost you to purchase all those tools outright.
If you’re starting your tiny house company or currently own a business, head over to your local hardware store and sign up for a Manufacturer’s Account. When we were building our home, we used a Lowe’s Manufacturer’s account to purchase our material which saved us 10% on each purchase. That’s 10% on almost the entire project!
If you don’t have an account available to you personally, see if there is a family or friend who has an account there and work out an arrangement with them to join their account at least for larger purchases.
There are a lot of thoughts and stipulations in the community regarding building with reclaimed material. When we built our house, we had a rule of thumb that went something like this: “If it has bugs or will be used for structural purposes—Hard Pass.”
Otherwise, we embraced our reclaimed finds! We built our home on a large working cattle farm, so we were able to find quality left over lumber, metal scraps, and other material. We also used tons of pallet wood to cover our ceiling which we received from a friend who owns a gutter business. Materials get expensive—use as much “free” stuff as you can reclaim!
The concept of buying on sale is a simple one—buy what you need when it is on sale! To accomplish this feat, however, requires a lot of planning. If you have the capacity, think ahead a few weeks or months and see if you can’t wait to make that purchase.
We made a lot of our purchases around Labor Day last year as well as the after holiday sales. We were able to save up to 50% on some of our big purchases like flooring, refrigerator, and a bathtub.
During a DIY build, a cost that can sneak up on you is the number of person hours that you likely aren’t calculating. The saying that time is money becomes extremely relevant when your projected “Six-month project” turns into a twelve-month project.
Although there is a sense of pride in building a home yourself, be sure to ask for help on the things where friends and family can lend a hand. Installing the frame of your walls, hanging siding, painting the exterior, installing insulation, painting the interior, etc.—all of these things are helpful with a few extra set of hands.
Building a tiny house is such an exciting project to take on, but it does take time and money. By following some of these tips and tricks, you can cut your costs down and save time while doing.
Thanks for reading!
Wandering Tiny (Sam, Erica, and Auggie)