Thinking about buying a van, bus, RV or trailer to live in? Here are 5 ways you can start today, so you can accomplish your dream of traveling in a Tiny Home tomorrow!
Set a BIG Goal – Living in a Tiny Home in 1 year, 2 years, 5 years – break that down into smaller parts.
This is Plan A for what you want your life to look like. There is no Plan B, no other way you will accept your life to be in X amount of years.
Talk honestly with yourself “I want to be living in my own home, rent and mortgage free. How do I get from where I am, to where I want to be?” Break it down into manageable steps.
There are certain key items you will need in your life to achieve your dream. Our main focus will be making money and saving it, getting an education, connecting with people and learning how to ask for help, downsizing your belongings, while being flexible in your decision making.
Always remember the BIG goal, use every thought and action in your daily life lead you to accomplishing that goal.
What is the ONE THING you can do today that will allow you to sit behind that big steering wheel next year, asking yourself “Where do I want to go?”
If you want to make $50,000 a year, you need to earn $138 a day or $4,166 a month.
What can you sell 3 times a day at $46 to make an extra income to stash away in your bus piggy bank?
You can’t always change the amount you make, but can 100% control the amount you spend.
How can you make more money? Do you have items laying or standing around that you could sell? Do you have left over crafts you could finish and sell online? Are you able to pick up more shifts at your current job, or find a second part time job?
What about your savings, do you have a budget and an idea of what you earn and what you spend?
Savings – what do you spend your money on? Look at your daily and monthly income and outcome. Not buying that $5 coffee everyday will save you $150 a month! Not using that membership to the gym or whatever streaming internet service? Cancel it and put that money away towards your Tiny Living Fund.
Most plans to save $20 a day, or XX a month are hard to stick to, and might discourage you to continue, seeing “how little” money you have in your jar. Can you save $1 a day? If you want to live in a Tiny Home by next year, well, $365 won’t get you there.
But! It will get you into a mindset of saving and evaluating what you spend your money on and learning how to get into a saving mindset. Figure out you budget, live with less and research what you're buying. That WILL definitely come in handy when you are researching parts to buy for your Tiny Home.
The power is not in the dollar itself, but how you choose to use it.
Learn – Gather knowledge, Get an education
If you are building your own Tiny Home, throughout the build you will become a plumber, a carpenter, an electrician, a solar power and generator expert, etc etc…
If you don’t have the physical capability or knowledge about the process of building certain parts of your home, you need to hire someone to do those jobs. Do you have the money to hire professionals? How do you know you are hiring the right people, who will do a job well? You still benefit from knowing more about the process and what kind of work the professional will do and if what they are charging is reasonable.
Spend some time each day on YouTube watching Skoolie Build videos, travel Vlogs from folks like Jax Austin and The Frugal RVer and vehicle maintenance videos. Familiarize yourself with different terms you might come across, and pick up bits and pieces from how-to videos.
Read articles, like these
Go to the library and find yourself books on diesel engines, how turbos work.
Whatever you don't know, when you are getting ready to buy a vehicle to be your future home – learn about it! Even if you can’t remember that you need a 9/16 wrench for the air brakes, at least you have heard about it before.
Whatever you don’t know, learn it!
Even if you don’t understand a single thing you're reading, once you are in your bus, and your mechanic says something about the transmission fluid leaking, you might remember that the color of that fluid is RED, even if that meant nothing to you when you first read it. You at least have a basic understanding of some things.
Learn something new everyday.
Meet People – Voice your Goals and Plans – Network
Where will you be parking and working on your Tiny Home once you buy it? What stores will you be buying parts and tools from? Start heading over to those stores and introduce yourself to some of the folks. Talk to the person in the plumbing department, take a look through the lumber section with a person from the wood department. Get to know the folks you’ll be working with more closely once you get to a point of buying material to construct your new home.
Get the people around you to support you. Talk about your dreams and goals as if they were already real, because they are! Connect with others that are currently on the path that you are. Encourage each other.
Get on Instagram, find Youtubers, look through Pinterest and meet people who are doing exactly what you're doing. Many of them are in the researching stage, building stage, or traveling/home stage. You'll find examples and ideas about how you might want to build and decorate. Get ideas about HOW to do something.
Get involved in the community.
Do a search for “Tiny Home shows around me” and attend some local events to see what 250 square feet or less feels like.
Let yourself realize and see all of the success stories of people who are living this way, and have been living like this for a long time. People are doing exactly those things which you are aiming to happen in your life.
Change your life by changing your surroundings.
You too can do this!
Start Downsizing – Physical and Mental items
The most dramatic thing you can start today is downsizing. To some it comes easy to toss extra items, for others it is the hardest thing of all.
Ask yourself, do you really need 20 plates, 50 forks, 12 mugs, all your shoes, all your shirts? To change your life and move towards Tiny Living, you could get rid of one thing a day.
Personally, throwing away or donating items was the hardest thing about this process. I simply love stuff, and attach my emotions onto them. All of the things around me are intertwined with some kind of meaningful event or memory. Getting rid of them makes me feel like I will forget that memory - which has NEVER been the case. I am free'er and so much better off for having rid my life of so many belongings.
Getting rid of physical items works hand in hand to rid yourself of mental baggage. That was one of the major things I learned from reading Throw Away 50 Things. It’s not simply about the stuff itself, it's the mental attachment to the stuff. Rid yourself of either, and you can work on ridding yourself of the other.
That ties right in with working yourself into the community, talking with friends about your goals, and finding support through communication. Open up about your feelings, and talk about what you’re going through. Explain why you feel it’s important and necessary on the road and living in a Tiny Home, or any which way you want to live.
As exciting as bus life is and can be, it can also be very difficult, and WILL test you in ways you’ve not been tested before. Get yourself ready now, and use some of your time to seek out a therapist or counselor, and create deeper relationships with family and friends.
Get your mind in order before you do anything else.
Be flexible – OK with where you are RIGHT NOW
Will you accomplish what you set out to do, in the time frame you want and hope it to be done? Maybe. Maybe not.
Life gets in the way of living and accomplishing our dreams sometimes. The best piece of advice I can give you is go with the flow and be flexible. Stretch your body everyday, and loosen up that tight grip on your mind – where you feel lost and disappointed when you don't get your way or when it doesn't go according “to the plan.”
Mental attitude is key! Enjoy the time you have left at your 9-5, smile more, work harder, since you know better things are coming your way. What you are doing today does not dictate what you will do tomorrow. Small changes today lead to big changes tomorrow.
Bus Life is all about adventure and looking on the bright side of things – even as your home is getting towed because of engine failure. Some way, some how we will make it past this.
You have to let life happen, regardless of the plan
Maybe after a year of dreaming and planning you change your mind or something else happens.
One couple I met bought a bus, and after they ripped out the interior, life happened and they decided to sell it and buy an Airstream instead. They are happier now than ever.
Some folks lived in a huge RV and decided a custom built bus was more their style. Some people lived in vans for years and are now thriving in a brick and mortar house.
Some folks had a custom Tiny Home built for themselves, only to realize the builders built it too big and too heavy to actually be towed and used as a home. Years of time and thousands of wasted dollars, they're stuck in a temporary home because of all the issues.
Life comes at you fast, and a slow bus might just not be the way to go. And that’s OKAY. You’ve got to be flexible.
Try it out for yourself! Maybe you’ll enjoy it, maybe you won’t. But you have to try to find out!
It’s about the journey and not the outcome. If you feel great along the entire journey and don't make your goal the end all of your future, when you realize it may just not be the right fit for you, look back at what you accomplished, regardless of the final outcome.
What does this all amount to?
If you started out with goal setting and accomplishing little tasks to work slowly away at that goal, after 1 year or more, you have the potential of a large amount of savings.
You quite possibly have a healthier attitude and outlook on life, since you surrounded yourself with people who give out free, loving advice.
You possibly made new friends, and are not embarrassed to have them over to your home. You now have less clutter and useless junk around yourself, and through talking with a therapist, close friends, family members, you attract wonderful people into your life.
Start your adventure today! Save $5 and put it in your piggy bank, watch a video and/or read an article, say goodbye to those socks with holes and donate a book, plate, shoe or two, and by the time a year or two rolls around, you’ll be ready to accomplish that BIG goal of living in a home that you'll absolutely adore and LOVE.
AND! You are constantly open to learning new things and asking questions, becoming braver and smarter every single day.
I promise you'll find more joy and smiles in your daily life, celebrating new friends and new found confidence. All you need then is the right vehicle to drive the miles and deliver those smiles!
Your ideas and dreams, even without the Tiny Home, have entirely transformed your daily life. That by itself is worth having the dream for, even if the destination never leads to a physical bus for years to come.
Next goal! Perhaps you discover what actually IS YOUR THING! Wouldn't that be wonderful <3
If you do get yourself into a bus, it does become the same old thing except a different view. If you see life as nothing but roadblocks and challenges to overcome, I want to tell you that living in a bus is not any easier or more fun. It is actually extremely difficult. Flat tires, $250 oil changes, $450 tires, insurance issues, gas prices, etc etc.
BUT! I would not ever want to miss out on all the joy and happiness, and LOVE I have discovered since moving into my bus 4 years ago. It is all worth it, because I worked hard for this, and this is what I wanted my life to be like. I adjusted my attitude to recognize this as a journey of learning.
It’s never too late to live a life you love.