DIY Home for Less Than $3,500

Pleabargain, one of our readers, sent us a link to this video. This mobile tiny house includes lots of useful ideas that could be used in any small house. Note the size of house shown in the book she has. Full sized houses used to cost $3,500 and now you can’t even build the bathroom for that price.

“In a town where the median home price is over half a million dollars, Jenine Alexander decided to build her own. Using resources like the tiny house blogs and the 1950 bestselling DIY book “Your Dream Home: How to Build It for Less Than $3,500″ (a gift from a friend), Jenine spent less than $3,500 on her home. In fact, she used nearly only materials recovered from the dump or found on craigslist and the only things she paid for were a used trailer and fasteners (nails, screws, hinges, etc). She built it on wheels not just to get around minimum size standards, but mostly because she couldn’t afford land in her hometown of Healdsburg, California.”

Original story here.

This is another great video by So far all of their videos I’ve watched have combined a good story, professional filming and lots of useful details. Watch more videos like this at Fair Companies YouTube channel.

13 thoughts on “DIY Home for Less Than $3,500”

    • It seems like everything costs more and takes longer than expected, so plan carefully. You may have to go through an intermediate stage (ex: living near a job) before you can fully realize your dream.

      • My wife was looking at parts of Colorado and the teo counties near the border of Canada in Idaho, (actually she has looked at all of the counties with few codes on the earthship website), There finding a job within driving distance to those counties may be tough. Finding an accounting job seems tough right now, mostly everyone has hired for the year already.

        BTW I remember talking to you in other posts and you said that you made sure that the counties you and Kelley built in had good internet, was that internet available at the earthbag house or just in the towns close to the eartbag house. For instance does Crestone Colorado have good internet service?

        • Yeah, Crestone and the surround Saguache county has excellent dish satellite. Even the landline is decent.

          What about getting a job in one of the oil/gas producing states like North Dakota?

          Can you do some financial calcs for 1-2 blog posts? I’m looking for someone to calculate how much can be saved over a long period of time. It’s not typical accounting, more like banking or financial calcs. Email me at strawhouses [at]

  1. It takes a certain person to live in very tiny houses. You have to be very spartan in outlook, willing to ruthlessly cull your belongings to the bone and keep it that way. Not many people can go without buying stuff now and then, stuff which adds up: books now and then, maybe a movie DVD or two, cooking spices, a shirt they like, etc… and it quickly adds up. Neat idea, though, especially if you’re need to be mobile, or purposefully doing it to beat draconian building code restrictions or unbearable expense of building.

    • There are options. Some add on over time — sometimes just temporary additions. Some rent a storage unit to keep extra stuff like tools, extra clothes, bulk items. Some eventually get their own land and expand the original structure.

  2. Hey Owen,

    How about…an earthbag home with scoria on a trailer? Hm…I might find a trailer and give that a go, being as it would be very light. What do you think?

      • Owen,

        I wish I knew if this could work and how much to build and how long to build. The reason is, is that we are in a precarious situation. I have to finish my last semester of school in order to finish my accounting degree, which will be in July of this year. However, I can not find work where we currently live, this means we have to find a job else where. However without the degree its difficult. We have looked at all of the places on the earthship website for land with no building codes to try to build an earthbag home. There are major problems with these areas; for the most part, the do not have utilities to them and they are so far away from any possible job prospects (many resumes out, but no bites). The utilities; internet, electricity are needed to finish my degree, as I am taking it online. The land close enough to have electricity is out of our price range; we have $17,000 left of our savings, most are $20,000 or more and do not offer utilities. We can not afford to buy land, build the earthbag home, by solar, dig a well/rainwater system. I was thinking that we could buy an RV and use it until I find a job and we can buy land, but they cost more than we have as well, and then no gas to pull it, where would we park it.

        We are sooo flippin frustrated. I got excited about the earth bag homes, but without the land we are screwed, and without the utilities for me to finish school we are screwed even more. Not sure what to do

        Screwed (I mean JIm)

        • Love can’t co-exist with fear. Remove fear and seek inner guidance. Calm the mind and ask for guidance with faith things will work out. Let go of negativity and bad habits and seek greater truth.


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