He’s Justin, she’s Shelsie, our toddler is Ollie, and Justin’s oldest son is Josh and we are the Choo Choo Tiny House Family. This whole process started years ago. It started before we’d even thought about building a house. It started when we started going to college. It started when we took out our first student loans. Like many American’s we took out student loans when we were younger and are now paying for it….literally and figuratively. We both got into debt and tried living humbly but even so we found ourselves constantly wondering what to do about the looming debt.
We sat down and had a real conversation about where we were and where we wanted to be. We decided the best place to start was deciding where we wanted to be in 5-6 years. We wanted:
- To have our own plot of land eventually
- To be debt free
- To have enough in savings to start building the home we have wanted
- To give our growing son a great example about how to live life
We knew that we’d need to cut expenses even more. Our rent and utilities average about $1,200/month altogether. Not horrible but not great either. We’d both seen tiny houses before but still weren’t convinced it was the right path for us. We looked at mobile homes and found that to buy one you’d still have to rent a lot and usually you’d then be living in low income areas where we weren’t to fond of moving to. In fact with mobile homes we’d end up spending more than our eventual plan. We looked at RV’s but the only ones in our savings price range of 8-10 thousand dollars were older and we’d read about the big problems that come with an aging RV…a.k.a. dollar signs. Then we took a hard look at the Tiny House idea. But we knew that in order for a Tiny House to work for us it had to have:
- Enough room for two adults, a toddler, and Justin’s older son who comes over about once a month
- A large kitchen since Shelsie is a chef and we do a lot of cooking
- Modern conveniences since we are both techies and are not able to live off grid just yet
- RV hook ups since we live in Florida where living outside of an RV park in a Tiny House is technically illegal
With the above in mind we settled on a set of plans from Tiny Home Builders for a 24′ Tiny House. Justin customized it heavily and crafted a loft for us and a downstairs room for our toddler. The living room has a large flat screen tv and the full size couch has built in storage while also being a big enough space for Justin’s oldest son to sleep in when he comes over once a month. The living room is positioned next to a large kitchen (with propane stove/oven, apartment size fridge, sink and plenty of counter space) so that we can always be near one another while cooking and living. The bathroom has a large Soaking Tub/Shower, sink, and a regular flush toilet. We used rolled bat insulation to keep costs down and a small and cheap 5,000 BTU AC unit to keep us cool in the Florida heat.
We moved the Choo Choo Tiny House to a local RV park that is a fantastic and beautiful spot. They include everything other than electricity (including lots of pot luck dinners ;). Total monthly costs will dropped to around $520/month. Best of all, once we save up enough to build a land based house we’ll be able to move the house to a small plot of land we want to buy up in north Alabama as a small vacation spot.
Hopefully the blog posts, plans, training resources, or trailer options help you in your quest to do something similar to the Choo Choo Tiny House Family!