(855) 321-7473

M-F 9am-4pm Eastern

Tiny House Financial Freedom

The Tiny House Lifestyle as a Path to Financial Freedom 

By Tobias RobertsRise Writer
Mar 5, 2019

The average mortgage debt in the United States has risen to over $200,000 dollars, and at least 5 percent of all homeowners are currently behind on their mortgage payments. For Savannah Bergeron, this reality was one of the reasons that she chose to move herself and her two boys into a tiny house that she could afford without taking on an enormous amount of debt. 

RISE recently sat down to talk with Savannah and Jennifer McCarthy, who is the owner and founder of Teacup Tiny Homes, a company that builds tiny homes in Lethbridge, Alberta (about a two-hour drive from Calgary, Canada) in a controlled and safe indoor environment. After having lived in a tiny home for several years, Savannah currently works as Sales Representative works for Teacup Tiny Homes, and together with the company, is currently designing a new tiny home that she plans to move into in the coming year. 

Tiny House Exterior
Tiny House Exterior

The Economic Motive 

When asked why, Savannah tells us, “I officially made the decision to have a tiny home built in late 2016 as I was going through some major lifestyle changes at the time.” I have always been minimal in my material possessions and was becoming increasingly intrigued in the tiny home lifestyle. I started researching in 2015, and by the time I was financially ready, I made the decision for myself and my two boys to jump into this inspiring life.” 

From an economic perspective, Savannah found that “the purchasing process with this current tiny home was a lot different…as compared to a regularly priced home. My ex-partner and I worked together and purchased this home with savings…and we paid cash for the home, leaving me mortgage-free.” While almost seven out of ten tiny house homeowners have no mortgage, there are alternative financing strategies worth exploring. 

Jennifer McCarthy, the owner of Teacup Tiny Homes, believes that “tiny home living helps people financially in almost every avenue of their lives! For starters, their home will cost less than a conventional home built with the same quality materials. Secondly, tiny homes are much more efficient, it takes fewer materials to build, and uses very little energy to run. This results in low utility bills and lowers the overall cost of living.” 

Tiny House patio
Tiny House Exterior

Jennifer decided to found a tiny home building company because “we saw mortgage rules changing, building codes changing, the cost of building materials (was rising) substantially, and the cost of homes was skyrocketing, while the average buyer could no longer get approved for a mortgage on a 1,000 square foot home.” Following from this analysis of current trends in the real estate market, she found that “there is a serious need in the market for smaller housing options and a diversity of dwellings to ensure that home buyers can choose what is right for them.” 

The reduced square footage of a tiny home also reduces the consumer impulse to purchase unnecessary “stuff” to fill up a home. “Have you ever thought about the amount of money you spend on things you don’t need?” Jennifer questions. “With a tiny home, there is no room, therefore the items do not get purchased and that money stays in the homeowner’s pocket.” 

“A similar comparison can be made with food,” she says. “The lack of space to store large amounts of food that ultimately could go to waste, can make homeowners much more aware of what they are purchasing…thus helping to eliminate waste. For all of these reasons, this allows tiny home owners to spend less, save more or experience more of what they truly want to do in their life!” 

Other Benefits of Tiny House Living 

Savannah admits that the tiny house lifestyle is one of the best financial decisions she has ever made and has allowed her and her family to experience a degree of financial freedom that wouldn’t be possible if she were tied down to a 30-year mortgage. However, her main motivation for choosing the tiny house lifestyle goes beyond the financial and economic considerations.

Tiny House staircase
Tiny House Living

She currently lives in her tiny house together with her two boys who are 6 and 15 years old, and finding ways to bring her family closer (both literally and figuratively) was a major factor in moving into her tiny home. “The biggest reason I chose to build and live in a tiny home was that in our previous home, which was 2,800 square feet, we were so separated physically and emotionally disconnected. Living in this tiny home, we know more about each other and are closer emotionally as a family.” 

While some people might be led to think that sharing 400 square feet with a child and a teenager might cause distress, Savannah has found that sharing space has led her family to “respect each other’s boundaries and spaces as our own.” 

Tiny House kitchen
Tiny House Kitchen

“My favorite part of my tiny home in my kitchen,” Savannah says. It has more space than I could have thought possible in a tiny home, and there is room for my son to do his crafts…while I’m prepping food. This space creates a great deal of bonding between myself and my boys.” 

She is currently in the process of selling her first tiny home because “now that I have lived in a tiny home for two years, I have learned a great deal about my needs as well as (those of) my two boys. I am currently selling my current tiny home and planning a rebuild with Teacup Tiny Homes only because we have learned a great deal as we grow as a family of what our needs are and other features that we don’t need.”

A Few Challenges 

While living in her tiny home has certainly given Savannah and her boys a unique opportunity to grow together as a family, there have also been some challenges along the way. For Savannah, “the biggest challenge I’ve encountered living in this current tiny home hasn’t been the home itself, but rather finding the ideal location to place it.”  

She has found that many counties and regional building codes and zoning laws are rigid with tiny home regulations as they fall in a gray area around codes. While this has been a challenge for her and her family, she urges people to be patient and push forward with any necessary permits that county governments might require. 

Jennifer urges people interested in tiny house living to remember that “your home is a very personal place. When going from a standard-sized home to a small one, the home must be customized or personalized to your needs. The end experience is the most important. For anyone thinking of going tiny, take the time to analyze what you truly need, what you want, and what you are willing to compromise or add later. Function is key!”

Tiny House on wheels
Enjoy the ride!

Despite some of the challenges, Savannah thinks that is important to enjoy every single step of the process that eventually leads to tiny home ownership. “There is so much digging deep within this process,” she says. “From minimizing your current materials, to planning your needs within the home, to reflecting on what’s really important to you, to the journey of a lifestyle change: enjoy it all and soak it up!”

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a product endorsement however Rise does reserve the right to recommend relevant products based on the articles content to provide a more comprehensive experience for the reader.Last Modified: 2021-07-10T06:06:49+0000
Tobias Roberts

Article by:

Tobias Roberts

Tobias runs an agroecology farm and a natural building collective in the mountains of El Salvador. He specializes in earthen construction methods and uses permaculture design methods to integrate structures into the sustainability of the landscape.