This is where my budget information will go, including goal costs as well as ACTUAL costs.

Rough goal… 12-14 months rent @ $800 per month brings costs [hopefully] between $9,600 and $11,200.  This is a learning process and I am working on getting items donated/sponsored and I really have no idea where my budget will come in at.  This is just my starting goal.

Actual Money Spent:

$20 11-17-11 – ‘Go House Go’ book from (PAD) Portland Alternative Dwellings, for details on connecting the trailer and the house as well as moisture barrier information.

$500 11-19-11 – 24’ flatbed goose-neck trailer with 5’ dovetail, 8’ wide.

$66.13 11-19-11 – Insulated work clothes and gloves

FREE 12-2-11 – Windows (2) 4’x6” sliding, (1) 3’x3’ picture (2) diffused picture 1’x5’, (1) 4’x4’ single hung, (2) 2’x3’ sliders

$375 12-11-11 – Under-floor radiant heat system

$15 12-11-11 – Shower basin

$30.00 12-23-11 – Leaf springs

$178.62 12-24-11 – Triple axle hanging kit

$52.98 12-26-11 – Jack stands

$17.89 12-26-11 – Concrete block

$56.26 12-28-11 – new blades for porta-band and saws-all

$68.90 1-11-12 – Fee for cutting axle

$194.43 1-22-12 – 2x4s and 2x8s for floor

$38.29 1-23-12 – 30’ All-thread, 150 nuts, 150 washers and 150 lock washers

$146.50 2-15-12 – Steel or loft frame

$40.00 2-17-12 – (40) Pallets

$29.12 2-20-12 – 20’ more all-thread, 100 washers, 100 lock-washers and 100 nuts

Free 2-22-12 – ~250 s.f of foam filled radiant barrier

$1,000.00 2-22-12 – (192) 2’x8’, 2” thick pieces of rigid insulation

$14.48 2-24-12 – Joist hangers and OSB clips for foundation

$73.00 2-26-12 – (4) 2x8s, (5) 2×6, foil tape, primer, 3 cans of ‘great stuff’, blade

$23.04 3-4-12 – 3 cans of ‘Great Stuff’ and a new drill bit

$12.11 3-4-12 – 50 more nuts, washers and lock washers

$21.00 3-4-12 – Welding rod

$70.00 3-12-12 – Exterior doors

$300.00 3-12-12 – 2x4s 10′ (81), 2x4s 8′ (84), 2x6s 14′ (21), 5/8″ plywood (17), 5/8″ OSB (7), nail plates, wire, electrical boxes, electrical hangers

$12.16 3-18-12 – Drill bit

$57.64 3-25-12 – ‘Great Stuff’, caulk, screws

$6.87 4-7-12 – Drill bits

$256.62 4-12-12 – hurricane ties, (25) 3/8″ sheathing, handgun nails.

Free 5-4-12 – Leftover lighting/outlet receptacles

$30.97 5-4-12 – Black and Decker Wiring book (highly recommended), lighting receptacles

$105.28 5-5-12 – Electrical panel and circuits

$21.55 5-5-12 – 2x4x12′ studs (for interior walls), wire staples and wing nuts.

$27.94 5-10-12 – nails, great stuff and breathing masks

$3.95 5-11-12 – knife to cut insulation

$26.64 5-12-12 – Light box covers and outlets

$26.10 5-18-12 – Caulking and finish nails

$10.43 5-20-12 – Joist hangers

$97.14 5-29-12 – Roof sheathing and trim boards

$188.68 6-1-12 – Pre-hanging doors

$79.47 6-3-12 – Roof felt, shims, two cans of great stuff (window), stain sample, door handle

$81.98 6-4-12 – Paint, window trim boards, brushes

$49.53 6-6-12 – window flashing, two more cans for great stuff (window)

$9.73 6-6-12 – roofing nails and staples

$2,000.00 – Composting Toilet

$45.00 – 7.7.12 – Kitchen Sink

 $317.97 – 6.17.12 – Fridge

$104.32 – 6.19.12 -Switches and outlets

$12.72 – 6.19.12 – Plumbing elbows

$46.60 – 6-28-12 – I am not sure what this is for… I found this hare on my account… I’m guessing plumbing related because of the time.

$11.63 – 7.3.12 – Plumbing valve

$7.93 – 7.5.12 – Wood Putty

$701.83 – 7.5.12 – TPO roofing and roofing glue

$37.24 – 7.12.12 – Elastomeric paint and brushes

$12.54– 7.24.12 – Brushes, electrical boxes and utility knives

$207.95 – 7.29.12 – Rain gutter [planter] parts, trim boards paint

$7.50 – 8.8.12 – White duct tape

+$420.00+  – Sale of some excess insulation

+$324.00+ – Sale of some excess insulation

$27.97 – 9.9.12 – Electrical tools

$6.97 – 9.9.12 – Electrical tools

$83.79 – 9.16.12 – Exterior electrical hookups and a secondary fuse box

$101.21 – 9-30-12 – deck boards, trim boards, caulk, eye-hooks and chord

+$550.00 – 9-30-12 – Money from the sale of the insulation

$579.09 – 10-2-12 – All plumbing supplies including a $203 bathroom sink and $53 shower drain

$26.10 – 9-29-12 – Flashing for roof

$45.56 – 10-01-12 – Shower head

$23.74 – 10-04-12 – 2×2 window trim and paint

$23.29 – 10-10-12 – Screws

$354.06 – 10-25-12 – Drywall, screws, corner metal, nails, mud, paper tape

$21.15 – 10-26-12 -Batt insulation

$16.92 – 10-27-12 – Keyhole saw, compass

$9.67 – 10-31-12 – Caulk x4

$73.98 – 11-18-12 – Hardie Backer Board for shower

$31.78 – 11-18-12 – Finish nails

$88.06 – 11.23.12 – Drywall mud, thin-set for the shower, sanding blocks

$10.99 – 12-08-12 – Hardie Backer Board

$4.22 – 12-9-12 – Plastic Hopper

$139.80 – 11-24-12 – Hardi Backer Board, masks, trowl, thinset

$24.11 – 12-12-12 – 3 more boxes of mud

-$100.00 12-12-12 – sale of insulation

$518.21 – 12-13-12 – floor and shower tile

$80.93 -12-23-12 – Window trim (poplar/pine)

$23.47 -12-23-12 – Paint

$47.60 -12-23-12 – Paint

$148.84 -12-28-12 – Steel for Dresser and Kitchen + grinding wheel

$23.28 – 1-1-13 – Light bulbs

$58.27 – 1-1-13 – Light Fixture (bathroom)

$53.38 – 1-1-13 – Craft stones for the shower floor

$55.52 – 3-22-13 – 1x2s for millwork and hinges

$74.14 – 3-23-13 – (2) porch lights

$228.71 – 3-23-13 – 11/32″ fir plywood for millwork

$11.83 – 3-24-13 – 3/4″ Screws for millwork

$20.73 – 3-30-13 – paint and concrete board fasteners

$25.75 – 3-30-13 – Epoxy and clamps

$40.06 – 3-31-13 – Trimboard

$101.74 – 4-8-13 – Concrete backerboard for floor

$28.82 – 4-8-13 – seeds and twine for trellis

$124.92 – 4-10-13 – ceiling fan and mortar

-$25.62 – 4-10-13 – return screws and mortar

$37.88 – 4-10-13 – tile spacers and eye screws for trellis

$886.00 – 4-16-13 – Washer Dryer

$359.98 – 4-16-13 – tankless hot water heater

$170.80 – 5-7-13 – Plumbing fixtures

$51.80 – 5.15.13 – Water heater vent pipe extenders

Total = $11,416.16

Estimated Savings from Sponsors



  1. Great idea to show your budget, I have ours on a spreadsheet. If I can figure out how to add another page, I might borrow your idea and add that to my blog. Okay to borrow your idea?

    1. Borrow anything you like! I have added you under my ‘tinyhousers’ link, I hope that’s ok. I am going to enjoy combing through your blog!

  2. hello and greetings- finding your project interesting. – Love the idea of radient floor heating- I am drawn to the rain screen idea- are the planters for ivy a gray water system? the rain screen will also help keep the house cool in summer by shading the house. the climate you expect to live in your house on wheels also really affects the design- are there such things as co-op camp grounds for tiny homes? Have a communal. laundry/bathhouse building- well interesting to look at your progress- did you really break your back?

    1. Hi Curt! I’m so glad you find my site interesting, I’m sorry for being so pokey getting back to you, big week! I’m glad the systems I am using are intriguing. The ivy set-up is only a grey water system in the fact that I have located them (intentionally) where they will be watered by the roof run-off, in theory I won’t have to water them. I am collecting my grey water from my sinks and showers for use in my garden though, that is a little more in depth grey water system. My thoughts with the plants on the house and the rain-screen was that it will lessen the cooling load by basically keeping it in shade constantly. I am not aware of any co-ops but that is a stellar idea! There are a couple people locally (Boise Idaho) that I know who are looking into the idea, and I know Jay Shafer (formally of Tumbleweed Tiny Homes) has some ideas on the boards for his new company (Four Lights). I am sure there are others, Boneyard Studios is trying to do something like that I suppose but not quite the same, I like your idea much better! I am actually looking into how to go about doing a tiny house development, turns out there is quite a bit to it and they are so specialized that I am not sure how viable it really is. That and it seems like a lot of people build them to in part get away from people makes me wonder if it is really viable… I hope it is!
      Thank you so much for your questions and your kind words, I did actually break my back, in two places… not fun though the foot almost sucks worse, sometimes I just really want to go for a run but I cant! Life goes on… some day soon I will be able to 🙂

  3. I love your design sooooooooo much, I’m going to be building a house similar looking (I like the idea of box for more room) And the vine idea is perfect for this style too because it rounds off the corners making it seem less industrial. How did you snag a tripple axel trailer so cheap? How did you go about getting sponsors? Just e-mailing companies?

    1. I apologize Cameron, this comment slipped through the cracks! I just lucked out on the trailer. As far as sponsors it is surprisingly easy, I wrote a little thing on it a bit ago here, basically just be confident and persistent! Thank you for the kind words and dropping me a line, I am sorry to be so pokey getting back!

  4. Thanks for the reply getting my trailer this week! Thinking about starting one of these for adding sponsors thank you so much great advice!

    1. CONGRATULATIONS! That is awesome news!
      Definitely do! and when you do, send me the link so I can put you on my tiny houses list and follow along! 🙂

    1. Yes sir! Budget was a main issue, I was very fortunate to get some amazing deals from some local people who liked the project. It came in at the upper end of my initial budget but it came in under budget with appliances!

  5. LOVE this tiny house. My husband and I are planning on moving to my brothers property in Napa in the next year and this is the first affordable tiny home that we actually both like….beautiful. Thanks for the inspiration, we will be ‘visiting’ here often.

    ps. Did I miss how much you paid for the stove….and more importantly where you got it?

    1. Hi Maureen!
      Thank you, I am glad to be a good middle point of reference for you and your husband, that is great to be able to hit both sides! 🙂 Thanks for the kind words! The stove was a freebie from a friend who had a camper he was demoing, he let me pick through it for anything I wanted, the stove ended up being the only thing I used but it works great! I have had others tell me they can buy them online at recycled RV shops (I didn’t know there was such a thing!) and also on Craigslist. Totally worth poking around for! 🙂

  6. Hi, I have a question about your budget–is the $5,900 on top of the $11,400? Was most of your lumber donated?


    1. that is on top of the 11,400, I think if someone were to build this exact house using all purchased materials (not free pallets for siding, not donated/discounted materials) it would be around 22k-25k. My lumber was essentially donated, it was left overs from a job site that I asked about, all of it cost me ~ $300. Killer deal!

  7. I love your idea, but mostly that you did it! I lived in a converted school bus for 3 years. While there I hatched a plan to convert a semi-truck trailer (45′) into a home (higher ceilings!), with many of the things you’ve done. Composting toilet, gray-water, radiant floor heat. plenty windows, demand hot-water, propane stove… I thought I could do it all for about $30,000! I’ll get your E-book.

    1. Thank you Freed, your ideas let me know how the semi conversion goes! I keep thinking someone needs to do that!

  8. Macy,

    Let me start by saying your the bomb… You took your vision and made it a reality. I was wondering during your journey did you have any doubters/ or doubt your self? Also what made you use a third axel on your tiny house?

    1. Thank you Aja! I had doubts daily and often for a time, it wasnt until I had been living here a couple months before I let my guard down. There is a lot that goes into this process but it is very rewarding! And there are plenty of external doubters! Everywhere unfortunately. I was lucky enough to have bee published online by Yahoo and EVERYONE has an opinion, the good and the bad come out, http://minimotives.com/2014/03/05/things-that-have-been-said-about-me/, you just have to be secure and confident and focused. It helped me to look at this as an educational experience both for me and them’ I think I have changed a mind or two about the validity of having less instead of more, not that it’s right for them or anyone, its nice to know you just open some eyes. The axle was only because I put a very heavy floor system in, I wanted to make certain the trailer could handle it!

  9. Okay more questions lol. How much does it weigh? Have you moved it much? How much is it costing you to live in it per month now? Oh and about your barn door I really like it. I think if you were to put a soft sealing gasket material around the inside edge and get a good small industrial vent fan you could turn it on and have the door become snugged up against the outside wall creating a seal from the negative pressure. Would also create white noise and evacuate any ummm fumes shall we say. Then when the fan gets cut off the seal released and the door is free to slide again. Just a thought. Having a degree in Industrial Technology and Design this has my brain on overload!

    1. Not positive on weight, the scales were closed but the driver estimated 15k #, about 6k of that is my floor system. I’ve just moved once, about 25 miles. My monthly costs are 200 for the lot and an absolute max of 50 bucks in utilities (propane and electric. There are ways to seal the door, I’m not too concerned about it, the toilet is vented outside so there are never any smells it is slatted though, I think for your idea to work it needs to be a solid door (mine is reclaimed hardwood floor!) Lovely idea though, you should do it!! 🙂

  10. Hey Macy

    You are amazing! My jaw simply dropped at the magnificent work you have done. You are an sinpiration to us all, I must say you are living my dream.

    How big is the trailer and do yu have any pictures of the built itself before all the greatness we all see now?

    I would definitly go off the grid with this one…..Simply Amazing!!! I want to build my own..



    1. Just saw the timeline pictures, jump the gun there…But damn im stunned!!!You are the real deal all the way down to the foot injury…..

  11. I was VERY curious to see your budget breakdown, especially when thinking the cost of the trailer would be at LEAST half of that. I have no idea how you managed to get a trailer for $500. What a steal! Great job. Realistically, without a deal like that and over $5K is sponsorship savings, we’re talking more like $20K for the average THOW diy-er, right? Not to say we couldn’t cut costs in one form or another, just that not all of us might not be so lucky as you!

    I LOVE your tiny. Thank you so much for the great blog, pictures, etc.! I really hope we can make our THOW dream come true.

    1. Realistically, all things new, not salvaging anything I estimate my exact house would be 22-23k, you can certainly find as many great deals/sponsors if you wanted to put the time into it. It has been quoted out at 55k to have built for you (paying for labor costs). Thank you so much for the kind words!

      1. Thanks for the input! We want to salvage as much as we can, just like you did! I will have to look into a sponsor, I never thought plain ol’ me could do that!

  12. Your was best on the list awsome cabin and thrift y to boot.I have purchased 6 small one acre parcels for my grand kids and was wondering if you have any advise or ideas on how to save additional money by what ever you can think of doing 6 homes. We’re there any other things you thought of latter and said I wish I did, or I should have done type ideas. Any thoughts appreciated also. I have some lots left (3) that I will sell if you know anyone looking for northern California mountain lots very remote fell free to have them contact me they are only 5k each and I can finance them.

    Thank you

  13. Just saw your plans, that’s great. When I get ready to go I will get the middle full set, great fair prices! You probably are looking at same area as me. I only buy them in unit 3 and unit 4 that way you have maintained roads year round and most likely power. I am going solar and small:) if you want one of my lots seriously I would sell one to you for a 4-5 and take a full set of your plans as a down payment and finance balance for 90.00 per month till paid. If your interested.

    Thanks again Steve
    ps if I can attach a pic of land I would but don’t en a place to do that…..

    1. I would love to see a picture, you can email me at mizacy@gmail.com! I was actually wondering about the roads, in that area that is the biggest concern for me, I like accessibility and mountains this way get some snow!

  14. Hi Macy, You are a truly remarkable woman and beautiful to boot. I am considering building a few tiny homes and am wondering, How many square feet are there in your home?

    1. Hi Mike, thanks, it is currently 196 s.f., we have an addition in the near future that will bring it to 232 s.f. since we have another little one on the way!

  15. Hello! I love what you were able to do with your home, family and in general life. I’m a 23 year old part-time college student who works full-time in sacramento. Since watching your video of you home and seeing your blog it’s inspired me to follow my dreams and try to build my own tiny home. I have so many questions though. Like how do you get sponsors? I was thinking of buying land in oregon and setting my tiny home on it but I’m still learning about building codes and zoning laws. If you know anything that could help me I would really appreciate it.

    1. All of my best tips for finding good deals are here, http://minimotives.com/2013/01/30/sponsorships-a-how-to/! Andrew Odom has a book about how to get corporate sponsorships, if you google that I am sure he will come up if that is what youre looking for. The laws change every day it seems, Oregon is very progressive, the legal issues around tiny houses are all very regional, I would say pick a place and then see what they require of you, then you’ll have a better understanding if it is doable. Most people who live tiny rent the land simply because they may be asked to move… land is a large investment you dont get to use if youre asked to move and arent fully legal. There are places like tinyhouseparking.com and a facebook group tiny house hosting that are great for helping with this! Hope that helps!

  16. Hi! My wife and I are just finishing building a teardrop trailer. The next thing we are thinking about is building a Tiny Home. We were really considering turning it into a business and building Tiny Homes for sale. I grew up building houses so we have the chops, but I wanted to ask you if you felt that there was a market for such things? We see Tumbleweed homes and some others…but just wanted to ask someone directly, who has lived the Tiny Life, what you thought of that? We currently reside in Los Angeles, CA and are tired of the city life and thinking of movie back to Washington State to do this. Any thoughts or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Jack!
      There are a good many builders out there now building tiny houses, I think because there is a market for them. You can find the competition if you look places like tinyhousemap.com, Washington does have a lot of competition it seems but if you have a good business plan I think you could make it. I will be honest and say that I don’t envy the builders out there, there is a huge demand, not a whole lot of help for financing at the moment, the legal issues are a road block for many potential clients and builders’ time seems to be eaten up with questions to the point it would be tough to make a living trying to find time to work. If you’re passionate it is workable but it is taxing, I’m sure, I have heard as much from other builders. I DO think one of the holes in the market currently is shells. there are more companies starting up to address this but there are a lot of people who are looking for dried in shells that they can save cost on and finish out themselves. Hopefully those opinions (take all those with a grain of salt, even mine!) help somewhat! 🙂

  17. I love the idea of a tiny house development! I think if advertised, Boise is a place where something like that could take off and do well. I live in Boise now, renting a house, but I’ve been thinking about going tiny for about a year. If the development becomes a more real possibility I may know a couple other people who would be interested. I sincerely hope it does become a thing! 🙂 your house is amazing and jyour site is super informative! Keep it up! 🙂

      1. Just joined! I’ll talk to a couple friends who might be interested enough to get into it and invite them. 🙂 thank you!

  18. Macy, thank you so much for your commitment to the tiny house community. I have been running numbers for my budget and realize a trailer can be one of the biggest costs. And I’m considering my options for being resourceful with that cost. If I do not purchase new, what should I look for in a refurbished trailer? Or if refurbished is not a smart route, what should I look for in a trailer I might find for sale somewhere? Thanks in advance!

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