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20 Ways to Save- Even if You Don't Live in a Tiny House

Yes I did just dump the change from my change bowl on the table for this photo! 

Yes I did just dump the change from my change bowl on the table for this photo! 


Before we built our tiny house we knew we needed to cut back in order to save more. We didn't use all of these tricks to save money but if you read this list then hopefully you will think of your own inventive ways to save! 

1. Join the DARK SIDE

Cut your electric bill by embracing the darkness on a regular basis. True story- I had my electricity cut when I moved into my first place. It took two weeks to get it back on and in the mean time I loved lighting candles, walking to the grocery store every day and spending more time out and about! If you make it fun and track your dark days with your electric bill you are bound to be surprised at how much money you can save. I should also mention this helps with mindfulness. No internet, phone recharging or Netflix binge watching can occur with no electricity. 

2. Stockpile free anything

Either you have done this or thought about doing this, but seriously if you take free napkins, ketchup packs or mini soaps and lotions make sure that you actually use the items! 

3. Hang your clothes

Clothes dryers use a huge amount of energy, if you plan well enough it shouldn't affect your wardrobe at all. Not to mention your clothes will last longer. 

4. Wash your dishes in cold water

If you only use hot water for the greasiest pots and pans it will save you hundreds over the span of a year.

5. Loose and lost change

Collect all your change and check your car, purse, pockets and couch for lost money on a regular basis. We like to use our collected change for food shopping once we have enough. 

6. Don't buy alcohol with dinner

When you go out to dinner just order water to save on the bill. 

7. Plan your driving to save on gas

Carpooling and running all your errands on the same trip can help to conserve gas. Get to know your car and buy gas on the same day every week, that way you can see how much you can save by the time your gas day comes around.

8. Stop paying for your trash bags

We shop at two grocery stores, one that give away plastic bags and the other charges 10 cents a bag. We save the bags from the free grocery store to use as our trash bags and use our cloth bags for the other place. It's a win-win! 

9. Buy generics

Name brand doesn't usually mean that it is better. Try the generic version of something you buy on a regular basis, and if you like it you can save a lot over the course of a year.

10. Cancel your subscriptions

Keep an eye on your bank statements and look out for subscriptions that you don't use anymore. Also be on the look out for free trials that have run out and that are charging you for something you don't want. 

11. Stop smoking

'Nuff said.

12. Have a “no spend” day

Challenge yourself to have a no spend day- if you are really competitive see if you can do it for the whole week! 

13. Reuse things

Plastic zip bags, paper bags and tin foil are all reusable if you take the time to even rinse them once before throwing them out you will have do buy them less frequently. 

14. Get a smaller fridge

If you get a small fridge and sell your big one you will not only waste less food, but also save on the electric bill. Many families in Europe are able to use a small bar fridge with a freezer for a four person family. You may need to hit up the grocery store a bit more often but in the long run this can mean better fresher food!

15. Leave your credit cards at home

If you are trying to pay down credit cards, leaving them at home or in a place that is not accessible can help you avoid the urge to buy something you don't have the money for right at that moment in time. 

16. Meatless Mondays

Meat usually is the biggest ticket item in your grocery cart. By choosing one day a week to go meatless you will help the planet and your savings account! Before I started dating Patrick I was a lazy vegetarian- which meant I didn't want to be involved with defrosting, marinating or cooking meat which meant I spent all of $50 a week on groceries! 

17. Buy a reusable water bottle

This one is really obvious, don't buy bottled water! A reusable water bottle can save you so much. Use the tap or get a water filter if you need it where you are. 

18. Buy off season

We use a wood burner for heat in the winter and by purchasing what we need for the winter in the summer, we can save hundreds of dollars. You can buy clothes, beds, outdoor equipment and decorations off season to save tons. 

19. Measure your pet food

It's easy to get lazy when feeding your pet, a handful here and bowl full there. Instead get a automatic pet feeder or just use an old measuring cup at regular set times in order to make sure no food is going to waste. This will also keep your pet at a healthy weight because an obese pet also costs money! 

20. Make your own food staples

Baking your own bread, making your own pasta, slicing your own meats, and whipping up your own granola will not only be healthier for you but also so much cheaper! Once you find a go-to recipe that you like it will be really simple to make on a regular basis.

Bottom Line

If you are serious about saving- look closely at everything you do, there are lots of ways to save. But don't stop there. Step it up a notch by putting the money you would have otherwise spent in an account that you want to build up. For example, every time we make pizza at home we deposit $10 from our personal account into our fun account, instead of paying Domino's or allocating that money to something else we don't necessarily need to buy. This is the fastest way to see serious money accumulate or to see your debts decrease.

What do you do to save money? 




How Building a Tiny House with my Husband Saved our Relationship

I used to smile to myself as I read states about the number one most common things couples flight about. For example the Top 6 Marriage - Killing Money Issues, "haha!" I would think, none of those things effect us. Until a bigger problem started appearing in our relationship, BOREDOM. 

You gotta keep it spicy! 

You gotta keep it spicy! 

At the time I was working two jobs part-time and pursuing my masters full time. Patrick on the other hand was working a 7-3pm shift and paying most of the bills. When we finally had a moment to spend together- we wasted it watching TV, movies or being on our devices. 

This may be normal for some couples, but our relationship has always flourished when we work as a team toward something incredible. When we first meet we quickly learned that we loved projects, trying new things, traveling or building. While we were planning to move to New Zealand, we had a singular focus on the goal of saving enough and making a home here. Once we arrived, we traveled and went about the huge project of setting up a home in a new country. But once we figured everything out and the day to day started getting mundane, we started picking fights. 

Rock bottom was when Patrick wanted to return to the USA while I was still in the midst of my studies. But luckily we had both been marinating a plan in the back of our minds. And when the opportunity arose to act on it- we had nothing to lose at that point. 

So it was all or nothing, and I am so glad to say we left nothing behind and gained everything by trusting in our teamwork and ability to manifest our wildest dreams.



Tiny House Budget


Tiny House Budget

Hello! We knew when we started building that we didn't want to spend a crazy amount on our house. In order to do this we have been keeping track of every penny we have spent. We have made an effort to save every receipt during our tiny house build. This turned out to be a good thing not only for keeping within our budget but also when we were trying to prove to Immigration NZ that we are a couple with long terms plans of staying together, what better way than by overwhelming them with hundreds of receipts and pictures of our tiny house! Spoiler alert: It worked and Pat now has his permanent residency!

We have saved so much money by getting free materials and also buying recycled and used materials when possible. Our goal is to stay under $15,000 NZ dollars, so far we are on track.  This price includes the purchase of our trailer and all of our household appliances (fridge, hot water heater, gas cook top, shower, faucet, etc..).

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As you have probably noticed we haven't included our solar panels or batteries. We consider these to be investments for long term utilities (they will pay for themselves eventually with how much we can save). For two solar panels (260watts) and the controller inverter battery charger we spent $1600, and we still have to get our batteries! It is expensive to be off the grid, at least in the beginning.