Small Homes: A Shelter For All Economic Seasons

By: Tom Chatham

With the economic conditions becoming ever worse around the world every day it is becoming harder for the average person to build or buy large homes that make their owners feel successful. In recent decades it has become the norm to keep up with the neighbors in consumer spending. Nobody wants to be the neighbor that has the smaller home, the older car or an older phone. Competition has gone to extreme limits and now those limits are becoming unsustainable as people find themselves working lower wage jobs part time.

A home used to be a shelter for your family and nothing more but now they are seen as a savings vessel and a trophy to hold up to society as a whole. This mantra is coming to a catastrophic end very soon as those that still have a good job will soon find they can no longer keep up with the payments as society becomes mired in massive inflation and later deflation destroying everything not fully owned that can be protected from theft by politicians and bandits alike.

The more you have and the bigger it is the harder it will be to protect it in the future. You cannot simply pick up your 2,000sq.ft. home and move it when necessary in a turbulent environment. That elephant becomes a ball and chain. That’s even if you own it outright which most people do not. All of the years of payments you put into it could easily be lost through no fault of your own even though you did everything right.

When everything goes wrong in the economy you will still need a place to call home to provide shelter for your family. Being comfortable does not mean being big. A small home can provide everything a family needs to get by whether times are good or bad. It will be less costly to build, to maintain and cost less in taxes every year.

Most people can not fathom having to live in the small homes that many of our grandparents called home. That mentality will have to change and will be for the better as it will allow people to relearn the difference between needs and wants.

A small cottage or cabin can provide everything a family needs to have a good life. When times are good and they have extra money they will be able to save it rather than pour it into an asset that can go down faster than it goes up. Having actual savings is very important especially if credit is difficult to obtain.

A small home of only a few hundred square feet can be used as a vacation spot, a primary residence or an opportunity to rent it out for additional income. It can also provide a struggling millennial with a low wage job the ability to actually own a home now. This last fact will become more important as time goes on. Not only that but the ability for you to own a home free and clear will alleviate the anxiety if you come on hard times and risk losing your primary home. Knowing you still have a place to go that you can afford to maintain will be worth a great deal to you and your family.

Most people do not realize how cheap a small home can be built for. A great deal of the expense of a home comes from the size, the zoning regulations and the cost of labor to build it. Not to mention the cost of land in certain markets. A small home that can be built by you from kit form is a poor persons dream. It only requires a person to think in terms of function rather than size and looks.

A small home is a way for people that are marginally getting by to survive until they can improve their situation. Small cabin kits can be found for as little as $7,000 that two people can assemble in a few days. Imagine being able to buy a small piece of rural land, put in a well and septic system and build a livable home on it all for less than the cost of a modern luxury car. It’s possible in many areas.

Here is just one place where you can find prefab cabin kits for very little. Getaway Prefab Wooden Cabin Kit

Even if you decide to build from scratch yourself these kits can give you some good ideas to start from.

In the coming months having a fully owned shelter you can depend on will become harder as the economy gets worse and people lose much of the money they think they have. It only takes a second for all of those digits in your banks computer to disappear forever.

Even if you have a good shelter now a cabin can provide you with an income producing opportunity that should not be overlooked. Also for those that have collage aged kids that are probably having a hard time in today’s economy, you can help them get a good start by helping to provide them with a small paid for home like a cabin that they can call their own. Having a paid for home starting out in life can open up many opportunities for a young adult. The money they can save even over a few years can be very helpful.

A small home provides a stepping stone to better things in the future but if things go terribly wrong in the economy you will have a place to go no matter what. Starting out small and working up is the way people have lived for centuries. It is only recently that people have been exposed to easy credit that has allowed them to live beyond their means and the future collapse of this credit will force people to return to a saner, more reality based existence. Start small, live within your means and follow your dreams and you may someday have the mansion on the hill to show for all of your effort.


Posted on June 27, 2016, in Economics, Preparedness and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I might add, “Location, location, location,” is important. A small home in a bad location is a liability in a survival scenario.

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  3. “A small home provides a stepping stone to better things in the future but if things go terribly wrong in the economy you will have a place to go no matter what.”

    That is the way it worked for us. 1975, I got out of the Army after 4 years. Wife always worked wherever we were stationed, we lived on my pay (E-4), saved hers. We got out with $10k in savings. Came to our current location, bought a $2500 3/4ac lot (which took some real looking even back then), used the rest to start building a small (24×40…960sqft) house. Borrowed another 10k to finish it and move in. Did all the work except heat pump install. Paid it off in 6yrs while working part time and going to college.

    One year later (1982) bought 70 rough mountain acres for $70k, owner financed it for 20 years. Sold 1st house for 50k, built second house, 2200sqft, for that cash. Cut some timber off our place for lumber (friend had a sawmill), did nearly all the work. Paid the land off in 8 years on 2 school teacher’s salary, owned it now free and clear since 1990. 26 years mortgage free. Timber on the property originally was worth more than the asking price of the land. Bought my own small sawmill in 1992, and have use it and timber to build all kinds of barns/ shed/shop building (3500sqft). Built 3 rental houses cash as we went, out of white pine the southern pine beetle killed in late 1990’s. Logged and sawed for a year part time. Sold them out in mid-2000’s for 400k

    Net worth when we married in 1971: few hundred bucks.
    Net worth today: Low 7 figures.
    Average combined income over that time less than 40k/yr.

    And it all started with a little house…..and followed with many years of hard work.

    • That’s a perfect example of how it should work Charlie. Today people want to start out at the top and we can no longer do it. Sometimes the old ways are the better way.

  4. Since America is without hope, best to live in a smaller house, but comfortable enough for basics. Houses built today are way too large and unpractical for the average person and take too long to clean. Why folks buy them, I don’t know. Most stay in debt their whole lives and many over 65 are still working to keep living beyond their means. Time to get house in order, ge rid of useless stuff (sell or donate) and prepare for the worst.

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