Skylight Update

I have my new skylights! Phew. I got an email on Thursday saying they were in, but didn’t have time to pick them up before work. Then Friday was Canada Day so everything was closed. So this morning, with the too-big skylights in the back, I went straight to the hardware store, even forgetting to eat breakfast. The window guy gave me a sheet with the skylights and flashing kits listed and the total price, which was over $1400! I asked him how much each item was, thinking in my head that there was no way they could be this expensive. I only paid $1264 for the first set of skylights! I did get a discount on those because they were so late, but even still, the new skylights were 12″ smaller! He looked up the prices and dropped the price of the big one for me by $35, and made the flashing kits $20 cheaper each, bringing the total to $1345. I didn’t fight him anymore on that. He always looks cranky when he sees me now, which I think is unprofessional, but since it was my mistake this time choosing the bigger skylights, I wasn’t going to argue more about the price. I went into the store willing to pay a restocking fee or pay for the ripped boxes or whatever it took so long as I left with the right skylights – and they didn’t say anything about the boxes. I had been looking forward to the new ones being cheaper, but I guess nothing ever is. 😛 And I did save myself $75 just by asking (which goes to show how much they can manipulate prices). But anyways, here they are!


$80 more expensive yet way smaller, but oh well.


Shopping Ban: Month #2

I did pretty well avoiding shopping and convenience stores in June. I did break the rules a few times, but I’m okay with that. The point of all this is to spend less and to pay attention to my spending, not to deprive myself. The disappointing part is that I’m over budget again in almost every category. But I still managed to surpass my tiny house savings and emergency savings goals!

I tracked my spending a little differently this past month. For the first time, I separated money I spend on other people (especially on food) from my own spending. So this month, I spent $95 on Dylan and friends, buying food and treats, mostly for helping me out with the build. But instead of this lowering my own food spending, it just gave me room to spend more, and I ended up being $103 over the high end of my food budget range this month. Avoiding corner stores led to more eating lunch out, I think.

I actually did better this month with personal spending. I bought a few things at a specialty store when Dylan and I were across the province; I wasn’t going to miss out on that and I’m still happy with my purchases. I spent $4 to get a spare key cut for my car, I allowed myself $20 for scratch tickets, and I splurged on my favourite pens and paper (because I ran out/was running low). I also bought one kitchen tool (even though I’m not supposed to buy kitchen stuff until I have my own kitchen – but that’s my own rule) because it was included in a promotion to support Fort Mac, and I’d been actively wanting it while I cooked. And that’s it, adding up to a total of $125! Last month I spent almost double that, so yay improvement, but it’s surprisingly difficult to buy absolutely nothing!

I worked on the house 9 days in June, plus 2 days of research, and multiple trips to hardware stores. I’m definitely getting better at being firm with hardware store staff and getting what I need without being treated like a little girl.

Oh and as for convenience stores, I broke the rule about 3 times (compared to at least 10 trips in May), only when the grocery store was already closed, and not while I was at work.

Maybe I’m a big weirdo for being 20 and keeping detailed track of all this stuff, but guess what? I’m meeting my goals. I have goals. I have savings. I have plans. Besides, how are you supposed to improve when you don’t know where you’re at? I’ve been keeping track of my income and spending since I was 15 and got my first job. Maybe I’m the odd one out at my age, but why should I care? Maybe this is all too much info, but how are we supposed to learn and improve and teach each other if we keep quiet about our spending? We aren’t taught in school how to make and stick to a budget, how to plan out our groceries (which I sucked at this month), how to save, how to do all these things that are relevant to our daily lives, so we have to figure it out on our own.

For July, I’m going to keep avoiding shopping and convenience stores, while working on cutting back on restaurants/take-out/fast food.


Shopping Ban Results

At the beginning of May, in this post, I explained that I would be doing a shopping ban for the month and not allowing myself to buy material things I don’t need. I have a bad habit of impulse buying random things and extra clothes, and I wanted to consciously put my money towards the build and my future instead.

I did well for the first week, spending money only on my hair appointment and a mother’s day gift.

In the second week, I convinced myself that scratch tickets didn’t count because they aren’t something you keep – but I still should’ve avoided them. I also added $10 worth of minutes to my phone, which I do every few months.

Then in the third week, I think I just wanted to spend money. I made a couple donations, supported an artist I really like, bought 3 books, and bought a gift in advance. So that was more than I planned on spending, but all on good things.

Towards the end of the month, all I bought was a pack of paperclips (for a dollar) that I’ve been needing to organize my tiny house spending receipts.

So it went pretty well, but I still spent $236, and I overspent my food budget by $96. I worked on the house 12 days this month, plus the day I moved the house, which is great, but I also bought more take-out food than usual because I was working hard and hungry!

For June, I’m going to continue to avoid shopping. I’m also going to challenge myself to not buy anything from convenience stores, because that’s where a lot of my money went this month. It’s going to be extra difficult because I work at a convenience store! I want to focus more on planning my food ahead of time and eating healthy, and there’s almost nothing in the corner store I work at that is healthy. There’s not even any apples, so I will definitely need to remember to bring good snacks to distract me from all the tempting sugar!

Check back soon to read about my build plans for June! 🙂

Back in My Boots!


Happy Beltane! It’s midway between spring and summer, and it’s a new month. I’m ready to start fresh!

April Recap:

It was a very busy month with my two jobs, and I turned 20! My aunt, uncle and cousins sent me this card, wishing me happy construction, and I thought it was very fitting. 🙂


I finished my SketchUp model, which was a big accomplishment for me, and sent it to the engineer. She replied saying I needed collar ties, which I knew about but had forgotten to include. It only took a few minutes to add them and send it off again, so now I’m just waiting on the final reply for that.

I’ve been working on my steps list, which is a detailed PowerPoint I’m writing for anyone who wants the step-by-step info on how to build a tiny house. Maybe no one will use it, but maybe it will be helpful to someone. Plus I’ve done so much research on every little thing I’ve done so far. It would feel like a waste to leave it all to just float around in my brain. 😛 I want to consolidate what I’ve learned into one place to make it easier for anyone following in my footsteps. 🙂 So I’ll soon be posting the next set of steps that I’ve completed in real life and recorded.


Today I finally had a chance to sand some of my beams. I’ll be getting the house out any day now, so I want to have those done. I finished half of them, and will sand the other half later this week. I forgot how much I enjoy sanding, although I’m very grateful I have power tools!



My main goal was to get rid of the roughness like this, not to make them perfect. I just didn’t want to have to sand them above my head once they’re in the house.

I find it can be really hard to motivate myself to get started, but once I tied up my boots and went outside in the sunshine, it was lovely! Sanding is so peaceful, almost meditative for me. I love working with wood, seeing all the details and imagining the story behind every piece. I can let my mind wander, and I’m away from technology and not trying to multitask, which is a great change. It’s so good to get outside and to work with my hands too. I’ve had a great day and I’m feeling accomplished!

I also finished sorting through my old bedroom. It’s a relief to get rid of some old clothes and junk that I kept “just in case”. I’m living with my boyfriend now at his parents’ house, and the tiny house will be moved here. I was over here most of the time last year anyway, so this way it’ll be easier to walk across the driveway to work on the house rather than driving back to my parents’ house.

I did miss out on hanging out with some friends today so I could sand instead, and it’s hard. I’m still building my daily life as a young adult, which is often more than enough to deal with, so I must be crazy to be building a HOUSE on top of normal life. I don’t know how other people manage to get big projects done while still balancing their everyday lives. Little by little, I suppose.


Something else I’m starting this month is a shopping ban, inspired by Cait’s at Blonde on a Budget (and she’s Canadian too 🙂 ). I spent way too much money last month, and even though I’ve made decent progress putting money towards the tiny house, I want to pay it off faster than I have been. So, I might do this for just May, or maybe I’ll do it for 3 months, or six months, or a year! The idea is to only buy the essentials – food, basic toiletries, and gas (plus bills). You can have an “approved buy list” for things you know you’ll need soon, but I haven’t made one yet and I’ve already bought enough recently. I think I have enough stuff at the moment!  You’re also allowed to replace anything that gets worn out or breaks. But really, you get to make your own rules for what works for you.

For my shopping ban, I’m focusing on not buying physical things that I don’t need. Going out to restaurants and treats from the corner store are permitted (within budget), while clothes, crystals, and knick-knacks are not. I will be buying books occasionally, but then taking them into the used book store to swap for different ones or donating them. I want to read more, so that’s why I’m not restricting myself as much for books, but I will also be going to the library more often. And the one extra I will be spending money on is my hair. 😛

I find that every time I got out, I come home with things I never planned on buying, and I want to stop doing that. So I’m going to avoid the malls and even when I do end up there, I’ll know that I’m not allowed to buy anything, rather than thinking, meh, why not buy this? My tiny house is the reason. My future is the reason. Travel, a car, a motorcycle, an education, land, these are all things I want to save for! Since it seems like I can’t differentiate between what I need and what I temporarily want, I’m doing a shopping ban to break the habit of mindlessly buying random stuff! I have no space left to put all the crap I buy! I’m so lucky to have as many clothes and shoes and beautiful things as I do, I should be grateful for what I have, instead of passively browsing for new things.


Lastly, I’m starting a Facebook page for my little house. 🙂 I’m shy about sharing all the details of my life with the acquaintances I have on Facebook (this blog is for close family and interested strangers 😛 ), so I’ll be using the page to give people a look into what I’m up to without having to get into everything. Plus it will be good for quick updates. I’ll post on here when that’s up and running! Thanks for reading!!

Shell Budget: Trailer/Floor

The second part of my budget is the Shell. It includes everything from the wall studs to the roofing material. When the shell is done, the house will look complete from the outside, with windows and siding.

The first category in my shell budget, Trailer/Floor, is all done and filled in:

My Trailer, from Warman’s Welding in New Brunswick, was over budget at $7015. Read about why it’s over budget here.

Gas was over budget at $402.50. I assumed I’d pick up the trailer, but then I found out they deliver. It didn’t save me money, but it saved me the stress and time of going to get it myself.

My budget for all-threaded rods was zero because they were included in the cost of the trailer, but then they ended up in the wrong spots. I paid a welder to grind them off, put rods in the right places, and add a few so the house is secured at more points. That cost $253.05.

For Insulation, I was way over budget at $1217.15. I had originally planned to use Roxul, but I wouldn’t have been able to get enough Roxul into the trailer frame for a high enough R-value. I chose spray foam instead and it worked out well.

For Glue, I was slightly over budget at $27.56. I used four tubes out of the six I bought, so I’m only including the cost of the four.

For Plywood, I was over budget at $248.66. I didn’t realize how expensive it is! Most builders use OSB because it’s cheap, but it also swells and it’s heavy. I decided that less weight and warping were worth the extra money.

For Metal Screws, I was over budget at $74.40. Specialty fasteners are of course more expensive, and I melted so many! There are less than 300 in the trailer, but I had to buy 500.

This was a painful category. I estimated I’d spend $6815 and I spent $9238.32. That’s $2423.32 over budget 😦 I’m jealous of tiny housers who found cheaper trailers and didn’t spend so much on insulation, but in the end, I’m okay with investing in the foundation of my house. The one thing I’d change is I would get the trailer delivered earlier so I’d have more summer build time.

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"It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan." - Eleanor Roosevelt

"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare. It is because we do not dare that they are difficult." - Seneca

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." - William Morris