Curious about tiny house living? Great! I love sharing all about our life.
I can tell you exactly what our life costs living in a low-cost region of Pennsylvania. Use this as a guide, but know that it can cost more or less to live in a tiny house elsewhere. There are far more creative people than us who figured out ways of building houses for under $10,000 and live cheaply or for free.
What is it like to live in a “tiny” house?
You’re in luck. I just wrote an entire post about how our life changed when we downsized to the 500 sq ft house we live in today.
How much did our tiny house cost?
500 sq ft house: $47,000
Paved parking pad: $3,000
Site prep/house’s foundation: $13,850
New water meter: $1,012
Land + taxes + title company fee: $4,300
Our house cost just under $100 per square foot. However, to permanently place the house on a foundation, we needed to buy land and then have the land prepped. Check out the small house construction series, which details everything we had to do to make this happen.
There are tiny house plans you can use to build your own, but it would have taken us over a year to build even the smallest house because of the limited time we had available. That’s why we elected to purchase a manufactured house instead. It costs more, but we saved time.
How much does it cost to live in a tiny house?
Hot summers and cold winters in Lancaster County, PA mean that our electricity bill fluctuates wildly. For January through September 2017, here are our averages…
Electric bill is an average of $110/month ($1,320/year)
Water and sewer bills average $56 per month ($672/year)
Garbage is $180/year
Home insurance is $323/year
Taxes are estimated to be $2,300
Overall, our house-related expenses are about $4,795 for the year or about $400/month.
What are the “hidden expenses” for living in a tiny house?
What we haven’t done a great job of is keep track of the things that pop up. For example, our asphalt driveway developed a few cracks, so we needed to patch it; I think this was about $10. The reason for the crack was the tree next to the driveway, so we had that tree removed; at the same time, we had branches trimmed that grew over the property line and grazed our roof. Tree removal and trimming was $375. We painted the fence and the decking on our front porch; paint was about $35 per can and the job required 3 cans. Cleaning supplies and other general maintenance items that any house would require are excluded. Since the house is new, only two years old, there is very little work to be done.
How much time is required for cleaning?
Each day, we sweep the floor and tidy up a bit, so about 5 minutes.
Each week, we spend about 30 minutes cleaning top to bottom.
Overall, we spend about 30 hours cleaning each year.
How do I get started on the path to downsizing?
Whether you think tiny living is for you or you’re just looking to downsize, the process starts with “stuff.” Clearing out old stuff you never used from your closet, basement, attic, and garage would be a great place to start because you might be able to sell some of this stuff you aren’t using.
Once you start the process of clearing out the clutter from your home, it can be helpful to clear the clutter from your mind. It was so easy for us to get stuck in assuming that we “needed” stuff. We took our “stuff” layer by layer until we got down to what we really needed. Taking it slow was necessary in order to make the mental shifts necessary to let go of clutter.