This is the story of a single father who wanted to simplify his life after divorce by living in a tiny house with zero debt so that he wouldn’t have to stress about money and be able to spend more quality time with his daughter.
So he converted a shed into his very own debt-free tiny home and has been living in it for over three years. He was even featured on HGTV! You can enjoy a video tour of his tiny home plus enjoy an interview with him below thanks to the folks at Our Journey to Bliss.
Are you interested in living off the grid? It can be challenging to provide for your own needs for energy, water and other resources, but for John Wells, it’s preferable to the challenge of working a traditional job so he can buy those resources from someone else.
John has received plenty of press, from Lloyd Kahn’s“Tiny Homes, Simple Shelter” to a 2011 New York Times Profile, for moving from upstate New York to the Texas desert to build an off-grid, 128-square foot home, and then blogging about it daily for years. I visited him personally to understand more about how he made that transition, and what makes an off-grid life work.
John felt the land he bought in Southwest Texas was so cheap that his off-grid experiment didn’t agree with him, he could quit without losing much. Living in a little house works for him partially because most of his life takes place outside. When his bills and mortgage were more than he could handle in New York, he rented his house to summer vacationers and moved into a travel trailer in his backyard. That experience helped him see home as a small place to relax after a day of activity.
If you’re dreaming of a lifestyle change, but aren’t sure where to start, you’ll want to check out our eCourse. We’re Hari and Karl Berzins of TinyHouseFamily.com. We designed and built our tiny house and have lived here for almost four years while continuing to build our mortgage-free homestead. Our course has helped almost two hundred people get started on their own path to debt-free living and several folks have already reached their goals.
So often we get questions like—“Where do I even begin?” That’s what we do in the course. We begin. You begin. Every single day. All the tiny details of how we achieved mortgage-freedom are woven throughout the course—but our story only gives context to the tasks and lessons—it’s all about you and your plan—how are you going to achieve mortgage-freedom?
I had this sense that we needed to tell the whole story the real, trudging-through-mud-and-celebrating-the-milestones story—I needed to share the practices of self-care that make-up the bedrock below the foundation of our homestead, our true money story, our budgeting and saving, our downsizing, land search, and ultimately how we designed and built our legal tiny house. And so we did. And I’m glad we did, because we get notes like this:
Daniel Bond, a self-employed electrician, found it impossible to get approved for a mortgage. So he and his partner decided they would turn a double decker bus into their very own mortgage-free two bedroom home.
Inside it has everything a normal house has. A kitchen, lounge, bar, bathroom, and two bedrooms! And best of all, it’s debt-free. No mortgage? No problem.
Better yet, it’s on wheels, too. So if they ever have a major life change, they can just drive wherever they want or need to go.
Many of you know the story of this guy already. And how he built his own debt-free tiny solar cabin in only two weeks for only $2k in cash. It’s certainly in inspiring story.
It was after a divorce and sudden illness that he found himself homeless. But he had inherited a small piece of land from a family member’s old homestead.
So eventually he set up camp on the lot with an older camper and his truck. Then, while working part-time, he started clearing the land, saving up the cash, and designing his 14′ by 14′ cabin of almost 400 sq. ft. including the loft space.
How This Man Built a Tiny Solar Cabin for $2k in 2 Weeks
Building a Mortgage-free Tiny House by the Seat of My Pants – Part 2 – by Shirley Loomis
Arriving at my tiny house daily was so much more pleasant once the outside was complete. It looked like I was working on something real, no longer just a picture in my mind’s eye. An added benefit of having the exterior complete was that I could work inside with an added degree of warmth and protection from the elements.
Prior to tackling the inside I looked at a lot of layouts I had seen published in books and online, examined my own existing furniture, considering how I might be able to repurpose it for use inside my tiny house. Being a book hound my bookcases were definitely something that would be put to use. As you look at your space, always keep in mind how you live, the kinds of things you like to do, how you make your living, and what you readily have on hand that you can tailor to meet your needs.
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