Building our Nest Egg and Starting Small: The Bespin Tiny House

Building our Nest Egg and Starting Small: The Bespin Tiny House

BESPIN TINY HOUSE: BUILDING OUR NEST EGG 

A guest post by Maggie & Seth Campbell

 

The American Dream: the idea that a better life can be obtained with more money.

We seek out higher paying jobs so we can afford bigger living spaces and more possessions to fill them.

The temptation to live beyond our means grows stronger with every “low-interest” credit card offer in the mail. It’s no wonder that one in three American’s are being chased by a debt collector – we live in a buy-now-pay-later society. And boy, do we pay.

By now, you’ve probably heard that living in a cost-efficient tiny house is increasing in public favor.

Could you be a part of this growing trend?

What if you could live debt-free on your current monthly income (or less)?

Is it possible to stop working over 40 hours a week and living paycheck-to-paycheck to support a home you spend so little time in?

We think so.

In just 8 months, we've already raised over 25% of our goal - and we're just warming up.

 

SET YOUR INTENTIONS

For many people, building a tiny house is just a pipe dream. When the idea of building our house first came to us, we spoke about it in terms like “If we ever hit the lottery . . .” or “If we could find higher paying jobs. . . .”

As per usual, we had just enough money in the bank to pay our bills for that month. It wasn’t until we took a hard look at the cost of living in a house too large for our needs (1000 square feet) that we realized we didn’t need to earn more; we just needed to have less.

Seven Steps to Simple: The No-BS Guide to Letting Go

Seven Steps to Simple: The No-BS Guide to Letting Go

You know you want to downsize. Heck - you NEED to downsize if you’re thinking about living in a tiny or small home!

And beyond that, no matter how many square feet you're gonna live in (because let's be honest that's not what matters), downsizing feels good. It saves you money. It gives you more time for your hobbies, family, friends, travel. More dollars in your pocket. Less stress. All that good stuff.

You know that downsizing will allow you to save more money, live the life you want to live, and have the time and financial freedom.

Maybe you’ve tried to “get organized” and “de-clutter” before. It probably felt pretty good…at first. But a few days later, your home looks the same as it did before. And the progress you’re making is slow-going. You’re stuck. You’re not sure why - because you’ve read the books and the blogs but nothing really works. 

Well, today I've got seven steps to help you let go.

Tiny Home Builders Hands-On Tiny House Workshop Recap + Review

Have you ever been to a tiny house live workshop? Are you planning to attend one?

Well today's post will give you some of the details about what those weekend tiny house workshops are like!

Specifically, Matt and I help Dan Louche of Tiny Home Builders teach his hands-on tiny house building workshop in Atlanta, GA. We've taught and spoken at more than 25 tiny house events and workshops all over the country, and we especially LOVE Dan's workshops.

The Tiny Home Builders' workshops are the right combination of hands-on building experience (yes, you get to use all the power tools!) and super educational trainings on everything from electrical, plumbing, how to choose a trailer, and off grid systems and sustainable design (my specialty!). It's part classroom, part workshop, and it's really effective to learn about something in depth via the presentations, then actually go over the the tiny house you're building and try it out yourself. (Plus there's a fully-built tiny house on site).

Some people attend the workshop to learn about the "systems" and more complex elements, others to get the confidence to use power tools (for many people it's their first time using power tools or swinging hammers!), and others come to network and meet like-minded friends.

How to Deal with Building Codes and Zoning Laws: Tiny Homes and Trailers

How to Deal with Building Codes and Zoning Laws: Tiny Homes and Trailers

Minimum square footage.

Composting toilets and solar showers. 

RV and trailer by-laws.

NIMBY (not in my back yard!).

Living “off the grid”. 

These are just a handful of the things we need to talk about when we talk about “building codes” and “zoning laws” as they apply to living in a tiny home or trailer. 

I literally get emails and questions about this every day, but until now I have been very hesitant to write a full response on this blog.

Why?

Building codes and zoning laws are such a hard topic to talk about because they literally differ from town to town. There is no one rule I could say that would be true for all (or even a handful) of places.

I wish it were easier, but it all comes down to talking with your local building inspector and talking through the process with them. Ultimately, that person will decide. It's good to form a relationship with them and be upfront about your plans and ideas. If you go about it in an open and honest way, they are much more likely to say yes and approve your home. 

I get this question a lot, so I've done my best to put together some guidelines. That being said, it's the one thing that is nearly impossible to answer! (Figures!)...

Which is Better For You: Tiny House or Camper? 5 Questions to Help you Decide

Which is Better For You: Tiny House or Camper? 5 Questions to Help you Decide

The other day I got an email from a curious reader of this blog. Karen wanted to know:

"I was wondering your opinion on is a tiny house better or a camper? I could buy a camper now, but if I want to build a tiny house I will need to save up for a few years since I want to build it debt free. Thank you for your blog and support I always enjoy seeing something from you in my email."

Oooh, I thought, I get this question a lot. Both from clients, people I work with, and readers. So I’m addressing it head-on today. 

To start, I don’t necessarily think a tiny house or a little camper is “better” than the other - but they’re definitely different and are suited to different people with different needs and lifestyles. Today I'll give you a framework for thinking about this question yourself.

Obviously I went with a camper over a tiny house on wheels.

I chose this option for a few reasons...

"Go places, Meet People, Do Things" Guest Post by Carolyn Morton

"Go places, Meet People, Do Things" Guest Post by Carolyn Morton

Today's post is a guest article from Carolyn Morton, one of the Tiny Transition and Downsizing students from "across the pond" (yes, we have quite a few international classmates!). Tiny Transition and Downsizing, the 8-week class that fundamentally changes your relationship with stuff and helps you de-clutter, downsize, and clear out your home and mind, starts today (yay!) and you can join the course by registering here.

Carolyn's story really illuminates the way we go deep in the course. It's so much more than just "de-cluttering tips" and "organizing" (in fact, we banish organizing!). Carolyn mentioned to me earlier, "The post indicates what an unexpectedly life-shifting experience the course has been for me".

I'll let Carolyn take it from here!

When Mariah asked 'how was it for you?' I wanted to share my thoughts and see if they resonate with other 'Tiny Transitioners'. I've been surprised at how significant your messages (the lessons) have been.

I certainly didn't expect that the American cheerleader-style of encouragement and celebration would have such an impact (not with my British reserve and engorged cynical gland).

The kindness of strangers is often the most affecting and whilst we're strangers we share similarities; not only the course or our desire to simplify but, I sense that many of us are adjusting to loss, coping with change and wondering how we got here …

"Stop Dreaming, Start DOING: My (honest) Journey Towards a Tiny Home" a guest post by Jennifer Baxter

"Stop Dreaming, Start DOING: My (honest) Journey Towards  a Tiny Home" a guest post by Jennifer Baxter

Today we have an AWESOME guest post from a Tiny Transition + Downsizing student named Jennifer, who is having her tiny house built right now and is making tons of progress towards downsizing and getting excited to move in! In this post Jennifer explains why she was inspired to build a tiny home, the events that made her realize she couldn't wait forever, and the hardest (and easiest) parts of her downsizing journey.

In the Tiny Transition + Downsizing E-Course, the practical weekly lessons and private student-only forum allow you to make progress at your own pace within a group of like-minded friends on the same journey. I've been told that the group is a catalyst for lifelong change. That's because we not only go through how to eliminate all sorts of crap from your life and space, but because we fundamentally change your relationship with "stuff". It has the cascading effect of positively influencing every area of your life. When you join, you get 8 weeks of practical lessons and challenges (lifetime access), guided step by step help, lifetime access to the private class forum, accountability, support and motivation from me and your classmates, and the tools you need to simplify your home and life. 

You can learn more about Tiny Transition and Downsizing and register here. Class starts March 1st!

I'll let Jennifer take it over from here!

I am building a tiny house because my friend doesn’t have cable TV.  Well… that might be skipping a couple of steps.  But my curiosity and excitement for tiny houses can be traced back to a random (or maybe not) night spent pet-sitting at a friend’s house in spring of 2014.

Since they don’t have cable, I ended up surfing Netflix to find something to watch.  While scrolling through the documentary section, I saw a movie called “TINY: A Story About Living Small.”  The description explained that it followed a young man and his girlfriend as they built a tiny house on a flatbed trailer.  It sounded interesting enough so I thought I’d give it a go.  I had never even heard of tiny houses beforehand.  But by the time the 66 minutes was up, my heart and mind were racing.  How had I not known about this??

"Wife After Death: Navigating Grief, One Campfire at a Time" Guest Post by Ginny McKinney

 "Wife After Death: Navigating Grief, One Campfire at a Time" Guest Post by Ginny McKinney

Today I'm excited to share a guest post with you by Ginny McKinney. Ginny completed the Tiny Transition + Downsizing E-Course a few months ago (which is now open for registration for the session beginning on March 1st!) and I've asked her to share her story because it is downright brave, inspiring and fearless. When Ginny sent me an email update about where she's at now - I just knew I had to share her inspiring story with you.

If you want to join my 8-week downsizing bootcamp and join a lifetime group of friends and comrades on a similar journey towards simple living (either in a tiny house, camper, cabin, or even downsizing in place) - you should join us for the March 1st session of Tiny Transition + Downsizing.

I want to thank Ginny for taking the time to share her story with you today. I hope you find it as incredible as I do. Please note, this guest post does involve grief, death, and recovery.

I'll let Ginny take it from here.

The morning dawned with the typical bluebird skies of Colorado. Mr. Virgo and I had been knee deep in negotiations as to how we were going to spend our looming retirement years. We finally settled on getting a travel trailer and to start practicing early. Why wait for retirement to have some fun, right?

We had a leisurely breakfast then headed out to go trailer shopping. It was a lovely drive. We discussed the merits of different size campers and floor plans. We definitely wanted something big enough to take the kids and grandkids with us. We held hands and planned. It was a perfect day. 

Until... We were standing in the fourth trailer, trying to decide which one we liked best, when my sweetheart suffered a massive heart attack and died. He was 62. In a moment, the life I knew, the life we had planned, was just...gone. The next few days...ok, the next YEAR, was a blur. I went to stay with my kids for a few weeks. It was spring break and my older daughter said, "Mom, we're all yours today. What do you want to do?" There was only one thing TO do. We went out and bought a travel trailer!

How to Save Money on Solar Power for Your Tiny House, Camper, or RV

How to Save Money on Solar Power for Your Tiny House, Camper, or RV

PS - TinyCamp, the learning community for people ready to live a tiny life, is now open for registration until February 10th. TinyCamp is 3 months of community, live calls, support, expert guidance, resources and more. So if you need help designing your PV system, or your tiny home, trailer, or RV, and you have lots of questions about this kind of thing - TinyCamp is the place to get answers and personalized help for your unique situation!

If you’re thinking about using a photovoltaic solar power system for your tiny home, trailer, camper, or van, this post is for you.

I have given many presentations and talks about simple solar power (I've spoken at more than 25 tiny house workshops and events in the last 2 years),  and I get the SAME question every single time. Everyone wants to know...

A Watershed Moment: How to Get Un-Stuck from Stuff

A Watershed Moment: How to Get Un-Stuck from Stuff

Today I'm happy to share with you a letter/note I received from one of my Tiny Transition classmates, Jack Daniel. Jack has thrown himself into downsizing and simplifying - and has caught the tiny living bug as a result (he went to a workshop last year "just to see what it was about" and now he'll be attending another one I'll be teaching next spring).

Jack wrote me this post as a letter - and has kindly given me the green light to share it here. This letter warmed my heart - that sounds cheesy but it honestly made me tear up. It's beyond sweet and touching - it's just amazing to hear about the transformation that is possible when you have the right support and community to back you up.

I enjoyed having Jack in the class at least twice as much as he loved the course and community, so the feeling's mutual.

Tiny Transition + Downsizing is now open for registration for the class starting on January 4th. I hope you join us.

Thank you Jack for this letter. Thank you.

 

Dear Mariah,

One of my all-time favorite old-school reference sources, The American Heritage College Dictionary, defines WATERSHED as:

A critical point that marks a division or change of course; a turning point.

I am pretty sure that Im not the only person who thinks that the eight weeks our class spent together in your Tiny Transition and Downsizing E-Course qualifies as a definite watershed event for us.