Home / Blog / I built a 'budget friendly' tiny home for only $19,000 but you can do it for even cheaper

I built a 'budget friendly' tiny home for only $19,000 but you can do it for even cheaper

May 28, 2023May 28, 2023

AN influencer has shared how he built a budget friendly tiny home for just $19,000.

Americans are looking for any way possible to curb their expenses, even going as far as to live in tiny homes built smaller than the average one bedroom apartment.

These spaces, which are usually made from sheds or RVs, often offer everything you’d want in your home but at a fraction of the cost.

TikToker Johnny (@JohnnyMountainMan_) regularly creates content on shipping containers turned tiny homes.

Recently, he shared how he created his own tiny home for $19,000, but there's a way to get it for even cheaper.

The home in question is a geodesic dome.

The circular home has plenty of space for a living room, two lounge chairs, a dresser, and a bed.

Johnny built the entire home over the span of three months, and he ended up paying far less than if he was responsible for a traditional mortgage.

As Johnny outlines, he first had to cover expenses for the deck foundation.

The foundation is 20 feet by 20 and completely made of wooden blocks.

Because the foundation was built during the pandemic, Johnny spent more than usual due to the lumber price hike.

He ended spending $3,661. This would be significantly less now.

Still, building the dome tent kit itself was quite more expensive.

For the four season insulation, all steel frame, glass entry door, and more, Johnny paid a total of $8,890.

The tent kit also included a recuperation fan, panorama window, plus a skylight.

The tiny home dome also holds a mini-kitchen.

Johnny said all he did was add in some Ikea cabinets with storage and kitchen accessories for a total of $1,500.

The bedroom features a full panorama window letting in tons of natural light.

In this room, Johnny purchased some furniture and a queen bed for $550.

The vinyl flooring also took a hefty chunk of change from Johnny's wallet, costing a total of $950.

And of course, every home needs a toilet.

Johnny's compost toilet was priced at $1,025.

Also near the bathroom, Johnny had to pay for $350 fresh water tanks plus a 20 gallon hot water tank for $150. Plumbing was an extra $550 to add on as well.

Finally, Johnny had to get his kitchen together, which meant spending a total of $2,029 on a wood stove with an oven.

That brought the entire tiny home project's cost to be $19,605 over the span of three months.

Tiny homes are increasingly gaining traction across the country, and as the trend continues, several influencers have shared a behind-the-scenes look at what it's like to live in one.

One couple bought an $89,000 tiny home on wheels – while the price was hefty, the space now pays for their entire mortgage.

Couple Kristina and Steph, who run the TikTok account @OpenHouseAustin, purchased the small-scale house for $89,000, but they could entirely finance it with an RV loan.

The tiny home came with a small deck, fridge, microwave, and stove.

The less than 400 square-foot space also boasts a bedroom, a bathroom, and a loft space.

This puts it far smaller than the average one-bedroom apartment in the United States.

According to the National Multifamily Housing Council, a typical American one-bedroom apartment measures at 757 square-feet.

A family of four also lives in a tiny home across the country for just $36,000.

@TheTravelingTitans on TikTok, have detailed their lifestyle "living outside the box" with two children.

Parents Sam and Blake said the whole family is able to travel while living out of their RV, and the choice has saved them from having to make any monthly mortgage payments.

The Heartland Travel Trailer RV includes nearly everything a family of four could want.

The unit is listed as capable of sleeping eight to 10 people and comes with a queen master bed and a set of full-size bunks.

The family can also enjoy the unit's electric awning, gas/electric water heater, TV, Wi-Fi, outdoor speakers, and LED ceiling lights.

The RV unit even comes with a spacious living room area, with a fully enclosed couch and TV.

"They watch TV," Sam said. "They have multiple TVs."

Divorced mom Jill Kanto also thought a smaller home could give her family financial security.

After acquiring a $25,000 loan from her mother, Jill purchased a 238-square-foot tiny house.

"It took me about two weeks to [click] the submit button because I was so afraid of taking this on and not being able to finish it or just coming out with a terrible end product," she said.

She then used the website Nextdoor to find the plot of land to place her new home on.

Today, she has no regrets, as the family's utility bills have been reduced by almost 70 percent and quality of life has never been better.

While tiny homes are a great way to lower your rent and mortgage expenses, there are certain zoning laws you should be aware of before you dive into the unorthodox way of life.

Depending on where you live, your state might prohibit small homes from existing on another house's plot of land.

And even if you own an RV tiny home, you might not be able to keep it in one location for more than a specific period of time.

College graduate Brianna O'Brien said her plan to save money by moving into a tiny house on her parents' land in New Hampshire ended with her receiving an eviction.

She bought the cozy RV home off Facebook Marketplace in September 2018 for just $29,000.

Brianna hoped to get the home properly zoned with her local zoning board, but it quickly became a complicated ordeal.

So, instead, she parked it on her family's property, hidden mostly by bushes.

But six months later, she received an eviction notice.

A neighbor had spotted the house and alerted the zoning board, who told Brianna that her tiny home didn't adhere to local zoning codes.

Local governments tend to view tiny houses as RVs, so they cannot be parked legally in most places for more than a short period of time.

Zoning boards regularly decide that tiny homes decrease property values, which is partly why they’ve failed to become prevalent across the United States.

You can find tiny homes nearly anywhere today, including at Walmart, which offers a unit for just $3,300.

Plus, see another one available for around $20,000 at The Home Depot.