Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Tiny House Living


Anja Wilcenski

The newest trend in the housing market is tiny houses. A tiny house is a home under 500 square feet that can be on wheels or permanent and can come in all shapes and sizes. Consumers of the tiny house movement are increasing the demand for tiny homes so they can downsize the space they live in, to live a simpler life, be free of debt and live greener. In the beginning of the tiny house movement, the consumer had to build their own tiny home but because of increasing demand, small businesses have been started to actually build the house to the consumer’s design. Often times there will be a set design that can be customized to suit the buyers needs and wants for the house.

These houses use half the materials and are much easier to be fitted with solar panels or other green technology. The consumer will leave a smaller carbon footprint by only taking up an average of 186 square feet in total. By reducing construction and material cost, most people use reclaimed wood, recycled materials and refurbished furniture. Standard American homes are about 2500 square feet, and it takes 7 logging trucks to build the house while it usually takes less than one logging truck to build a tiny house. Often times most standard American homes cost an average of $300,000 compared to the completely customized tiny house at around $25,000. In addition to the differences in building costs, consumers are taking advantage of the opportunity cost by living simply in the tiny house community. With rising home prices, staggering student loan debt and an uncertain job market, people do not want to increase their debt and want  more money in people’s pockets as Aldo Lavaggi has discovered. Lavaggi works as a folk musician with a humble yearly salary being $40,000 dollars a year, his total home expenses being about $900 dollars. He is able to pursue his passion instead of being overwhelmed with debt.

The biggest economic benefit of the tiny house movement is to people’s finances. Average Americans spend between ⅓ and ½ of their income for housing alone. This works out to approximately 15 years of work just to pay for your home. This is one of the reasons more than ¾ of Americans live from payday to payday. Members of the tiny house community do not live this way. Almost 70% of tiny home owners do not have a mortgage.

As tiny houses become a norm, more and more people are turning to living in these. It’s often stated by tiny home owners is that they are able to do more things and get out more. It creates more opportunity to explore. It can also mean that people can live in areas that they normally can’t when in single family homes. Spreading people out and preventing overcrowding and reducing pollution. When people live smaller and simpler, they lead much busier lives outside the home.

A side benefit of tiny living is the reduction in consumerism. By having less space, consumers must think about how much they can store in their home and make sure they are only keeping the essentials. Money that would have gone to extra things for the home is now being saved.


Glinski, Nina. “Tiny Houses Big With U.S.Owners Seeking Economic Freedom”. Bloomberg business.  9 July 2014. Web. 20 Oct 2015

Gabriella. “Why Tiny Houses Can Save The Earth”.  Tiny Living. 26 Oct 2014. Web. 20 Oct 2015.

The Tiny Life “What is the Tiny House Movement”


  1. I'm really glad you chose to discuss this topic because I personally love the idea of tiny houses. I think it gives homeowners a lot of options to travel or use their money in other ways. Not everyone feels the need to have a huge home especially in their earlier years when they don't have children yet or don't plan on having any at all. I would much rather have a smaller house and get to travel more than having a huge house and not have enough money to do other things. Great topic!

  2. Hey Anja, I thought this was an informative post on a key issue for everyone in life. Eventually everyone from Pewaukee will end up owning their own homes, and they will have to choose the size that fits their budget. While reading your post I thought to myself what do these people do for fun? I wish you would have elaborated more on the lifestyle of one of these tiny house residents. Thank you
    -Tyler Hull12/2/15

  3. I’m glad that this tiny home thing is trending with so many people, and I hope that it continues to trend. Lots of people are living simpler, reducing their overwhelming debt, and helping the environment using green technology, which is great. I was surprised to see that it takes approximately 15 years of work to just pay for the average house in America. If you really look at it, people are making good decisions when it comes to downsizing their homes to tiny houses. People who are joining the tiny house movement probably live much different day-to-day lives than people who live in the more standard homes because their space is so small compared to others’ spaces.

  4. The creation of tiny houses has sparked an interesting movement for minimalist thinkers. While it is more affordable and energy efficient, I can definitely see that there is a trade off to living in a tiny house compared to a normal sized house. Downsizing might not be ideal for people who are claustrophobic. If tiny houses were able to expand and create more collapsible empty space, I think more people would be willing to sacrifice the comfort of a normal home. The fact that these homes can be mobile attracts consumers as well -- especially those who enjoy travelling. Overall, tiny houses benefit society by saving the environment, but could become more popular if the crowded space issue was resolved.

  5. I really liked the post. Before, when I heard about tiny housings I just thought that they where really cute, I never really though about them in an economic way, but it totally makes sense! looking at the benefits of living in a tiny house it is only natural that people start subsidizing normal sized homes for tiny homes, after all one or two people living on a large house can feel kind of lonely. It wouldn't really surprise me if the demand for these houses increases. Thanks for the post.
    -Danna P.

  6. I think this is a really good idea for bigger cities with a lot of people. You can have more people in an area and it doesn't have to be extremely expensive. Right now in big cities most people pay a fortune in rent. If they start paying for tiny house communities more people will be able to live there and they can have more money to spend on luxury things like better food or clothing putting more money into businesses and not into the housing market.

  7. I've always been fascinated by tiny homes ever since they started growing more popular in America, and knowing all these facts such as 70% of people don't have a mortgage or it creates less of a carbon footprint on the earth is really convincing to me to want to live in a tiny home! I feel like in the future the demand for these homes will only increase, especially for people who are already struggling to pay bills as it is.

  8. I never realized that this movement made such a huge impact on America. I also didn't realize that more and more people are moving into tiny houses. I think it is a great idea if you do not feel you need a huge home to be happy. If you like to live simpler and smaller, a tiny house is perfect to do this. If you have a tiny house, also, you can put your expenses that you would usually pay on a mortgage with a big house to other expenses like traveling, food, and anything else they person wants to spend money on. My question is where are these houses specifically built? Can they be built anywhere in the country or are there specific areas for them? If the house is on wheels, where can you put the house in the meantime? Do you have to pay to "park" your house on a piece of land? I feel like this would add to the beginning cost of $25,000.

  9. I really like this new movement of the tiny houses. I feel as if everyone is trying to be more into the city, which is a big thing now a days but it's so expensive. I love how the tiny house is more greener and more simple. I feel a simple tiny house is something to start out with or end with. I myself think to live in a small house. But The reason being it's more cheaper is there is possibly not enough stores in walking distances or buses, like the city you can go out anytime.

  10. I feel as though the option of living in a tiny house, would solve a lot of people problems with deficits. Due to the problems of people who take out loans or mortgages on their house is they find themselves in severe amounts of debt. Tiny houses execute the debt by allowing for a more "bare bones" way of living. It seems like the right thing to do to secure a safe and carefree life,but ask yourself if you can live without,the many materialistic things that seem to be essential in today's technological lifestyle.

  11. I really like this article due to the fact that my family just moved to a smaller home due to some of these reasons. I never considered what you had mentioned about being more resourceful with our items and how it reduces the use of capital. When thinking of it that way, it makes sense that it would save money. It would be interesting if you compared prices of smaller and larger homes and why they differ so much in price. Overall, great job!

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