The tiniest change could bring you the biggest financial freedom
25 May 2017
Join the tiny house movement and avoid the big price tag
The Big Banana, Big Merino and the Big Golden Gumboot, Yep, we like things big here in Australia. But with housing prices becoming increasingly expensive, it’s time to start thinking about smaller houses. More and more Australians are turning to the ‘tiny house’ as a downsizing option, embracing the uncomplicated lifestyle it brings and seeing it as a solution to provide more financial freedom.
Ranging in size from a car-parking space up to that of a semi-trailer or shipping container, tiny houses are liveable homes that make the most of innovative storage design and space-saving architecture.
In Australia, most tiny houses are built on top of trailers so they can be classified as temporary structures, which means they don’t have to comply with the minimum housing sizes stipulated by council regulations. ‘[In my opinion] the council restrictions are a bit bizarre, really, you can build a house as large as you want – get a $2 million mortgage that will cripple you for the next 40 years – but you can’t choose to build small on your own land... at least not everywhere, not yet’, says Jodie Coleman, who lives in a tiny house on the New South Wales Central Coast with his girlfriend Carla and their Burmese cat Simon.
Jodie is living and breathing his own financial wellbeing movement by embracing the tiny house movement. Why pay a mortgage for decades when you can still enjoy the Australian dream by simplifying your life and live in the debt-free simplicity of a beautiful tiny house?
Jodie and Carla built their home on the back of a triple-axle trailer with the help of Jodie’s father, a retired carpenter, and some friends. The total build cost Jodie and Carla a little over $30,000.
‘We really tried to take advantage of the fact that we were designing something for our own needs’, Jodie says. ‘So we’ve got a split staircase up to a loft bed and spare space for storage or a single guest to sleep in. We’ve got a ton of slide-out clothing storage for Carla and cat flaps hidden under benches for Simon’.
‘It wasn’t an easy decision to let go of all those things we were used to – big-screen LCD television, body-length couches, big kitchens and all the stuff that goes with them, but now that we’re here, we’d never look back. It’s actually really liberating’.
Timothy Delaney, who keeps his tiny house on a friend’s property in Victoria, appreciates the sense of security his tiny house provides. ‘When I go to bed at night, I don’t have to worry about what will happen to me if I lose my job tomorrow or if I have an accident or anything’, he says. ‘I sleep peacefully’.
Timothy built his tiny home out of reclaimed local timbers and second-hand fittings where possible. ‘I went to junk shops and recycling centres and I put word around with my mates that I needed this or that… you’ll be surprised how much extra stuff people keep around for no reason that they’ll happily give you,’ he says. ‘For example, all of my windows are from one mate – he’d been storing them for years and his wife was so thankful I’d taken them that she came and installed herb planters on the windows after they were up!’
Timothy’s tiny home is only 2.4m wide by about 6m long, but without needing to arrange furniture to face a central point – like a television – there’s plenty of room to live comfortably. ‘I do my sleeping inside and my living outside,’ Tim says. ‘It’s a beautiful world – why would I want to lock myself away inside some walls and not experience any of it?’
If you want to find out more about the tiny house movement, or are thinking about building your own, the Tiny Houses Australia Facebook page is an excellent place to start. Or take a look at ten of the best tiny homes from around the world.
This article doesn’t suggest that any of the people or organisations mentioned endorses or promotes Suncorp or any brands within the group.
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