(this was originally published on my Facebook page today)
Hi everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve updated my blog and Facebook page with a personal post, so I thought you guys might like an update. I’m not known for my brevity… 😉
In 2014, I discovered tiny houses, and fell in love with the idea of building my own, It seemed like a great alternative to buying a home that was far too large for my needs, and that I might not ever be able to comfortably afford alone. So, I began studying everything about building tiny houses, and started figuring out how I could make that dream happen for myself.
In order for me to comfortably afford a tiny house, I’d need to pay off some debt first. Unlike most debt payoff stories I hear about, I don’t have a partner to split bills with, or who would let me use my income to pay off debt while both us of live off of their salary. In order to drastically cut expenses I moved in with a couple of friends, and then with my uncle and cousin. The money that was going toward rent started going toward paying off my consumer debt. (Side note: I’m paying the minimums on my student loans, and will continue to do so until my tiny house is complete and paid for.) I am so VERY lucky to have friends and family who are supportive of my dream, and are helping me make it happen.
Four years later, and I am still paying off the debt, and now have about a year and a half to go before I’m (commercial, not student loan) debt free! So, I’m getting there, albeit far more slowly than I’d like.
Most days, I feel content chipping away at the debt, and am proud of myself for sticking with it. Other days, it’s hard to look at others’ tiny houses and be happy for them because it’s taking me SO LONG to achieve my own goal. And some days, it’s hard to answer questions about how my own tiny house plans are coming because I hate saying I don’t have one yet. I feel guilty about that frustration sometimes, because I know people are excited for me and excited about their own plans. But I won’t lie – some days, it is REALLY hard to be a good sport.
In the meantime, I’m filling my spare time volunteering by:
— helping others build their tiny houses in the DFW (Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas) area (seven builds so far!)
— helping people answer questions about their own tiny house dreams and ideas online (Tiny House People is a GREAT worldwide group of folks!)
— helping people talk to their cities about passing ordinances to allow tiny homes (shout out to Terry Lantrip of Lake Dallas Tiny Home Village!), and
— co-organizing Meetup events and festivals with the DFW Tiny House Enthusiasts with our amazing founder, Beth Ann Norrgard.
Meeting and spending time with my tiny house friends (and other aspiring tiny house dwellers!) helps keep me focused, and I am so grateful for their enthusiasm and encouragement. My motto for the last decade or so of my life is “SHOW UP.” Doesn’t matter what you do or don’t know. Just show up, be willing to help, and not only do you get to learn a lot, you also get to make a lot of new friends along the way.
I still keep a Pinterest board (link in the comments) full of ideas for my soon-to-be tiny house, and am narrowing down all the things that I’ll need, and doing some pre-construction design/planning that will make my build go more smoothly when it gets down to go-time. I have made a handful of purchases already, when I see good deals. I have my couch, ceiling fan, kitchen sink, washer/dryer combo, mattress, and medicine cabinet already. In that way, I feel like I’m making progress, even though it’s not complete just yet.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, in about a year and a half, I should be financially ready to start building my tiny house. I don’t have a designated build spot, but I’ll likely be parking the finished product in the Lake Dallas Tiny Home Village – which I’m very excited about!
So, that’s where things stand right now. Not a whole lot of exciting updates, but it had been a while since I checked in, so I figured you guys might like to know where things are.
I also wanted to acknowledge those of you who may also be struggling with how slowly you’re achieving your goals. It’s not all HGTV, done-in-eight-days over here, folks. 😉 Some dreams take more time and persistence (and a few breaks in between) to accomplish. But if it’s something you really want… just keep going, and reach out for support when you need it!