This was going to be the beginning. July 1st. Our Independence Day. And already we’ve hit a snag. At the end of June, Boyfriend adopted a puppy. The dog seemed fine at first, but within a few days he was exhibiting all the symptoms of a severe parasite infestation and sinus infection. He was so wasted and ill that he had to be hospitalized for several days. He’s on the mend but not entirely out of danger. There will be more tests and more visits to the vet in a couple of weeks.
We had planned to begin setting aside money for our tiny house trailer on July 1st with the goal being to have it paid for in 10 months. Sadly, all of the veterinary bills have set our schedule back by at least a month. Of course, if it hadn’t been the dog, it would have been something else. Car trouble, a visit to the dentist, a leak in the roof, a plumbing emergency, it could have been anything. I know this can’t be a theme in my life alone. You make a few plans, and the gods laugh. “Oh, you thought this was going to happen on schedule? LOL.” If we were easily discouraged by the inevitable setbacks that come up this early in the process, then tiny house living wouldn’t be for us. While we are frustrated, we aren’t about to give up. BF and I have been brainstorming ideas on how to get back to (or at least closer to) our original financial timetable. At the moment, these are my 5 favorites:
- Sell what you can. Almost everyone moving into a tiny house plans on downsizing. Well, why not do a little trimming now? Old formal wear, excess furniture, collectibles, technology, and anything else you aren’t using now and don’t plan to take with you could bring in some much needed cash. Sell your belongings on Ebay, Craigslist, or go all out and have a yard sale.
- Work one day a week. If you think your schedule (and your sanity) can take it, try picking up a part time job. Offer to work one day a week when most people need time off (the holidays, start of school, etc.). You can leave when you’re financially caught up, or you can stay and keep working to fund the rest of your tiny house/rv/skoolie/humble abode build. An even more flexible option is to use work-on-demand apps like Uber, Task Rabbit, or Wag! that allow you to choose your own hours.
- Tighten the budget. While I know most of us don’t have the ability to take large chunks of money out of our grocery fund, taking $5 or $10 out of this and that is completely doable. Commit to spending $10 less on food per month, rent a movie instead of going to the theater, and cancel any unused memberships that do nothing but drain your bank account. In short: go through your budget, and eliminate any needless spending. This may not leave you with much excess cash, but every little bit helps.
- Flip furniture. Perfect for those who love DIY projects. If you’re willing to make a small initial investment, this one could bring some nice returns. Visit garage sales, thrift stores, and flea markets to find gently used furniture. Clean it up, give it a new coat of paint or stain, and sell it. You may even find something worth far more than what you paid for it.
- Round up your purchases. You have to be a good bookkeeper for this one, but it’s a very passive way to save a little money. Every time you record a purchase in your check register, round the amount up to the nearest dollar, five dollars, ten dollars, or whatever you like. For example, if I went to Lowe’s and bought nails for $5.74, I would write $6.00 in my register, giving me a savings of $0.26. It’s not a fast way to save money, but you might be surprised what you can accrue over time.
These are definitely some of the safest ideas we came up with (invest everything we have in cryptocurrency? It could work.), but being willing to try plan B when I’m discouraged is half the battle for me (happily it’s a battle I usually win after a nice long pitty party). And I can’t lie. I’m discouraged. My fear is that we’ll end up letting life as it is now get in the way, that every summer we’ll say, “next year.” Luckily, fear is a great motivator, and a wasted life is the most terrifying prospect of all. So, we keep going. One step at a time. Every once in a while we’re taking one step forward and two steps back. The defeats have a way of sticking out. But I have faith that one day, much sooner than I realize, we’ll glance over our shoulders at this road we’re on and see that we’re much closer to the destination than to the starting point. I look forward to that.