Dropping dollars

This week I’ve been ordering a lot of building materials (and cleaning out the garage so that they have a place to stay)…

You may be wondering, how much does a tiny house cost? I’ve heard it’s possible to build a house of almost all salvaged materials, saving a lot of money… Unfortunately, weeks of searching craigslist and local building salvage places hasn’t turned up many significant finds (I did get a nearly full roll of Tyvek for $40)! Since we really want to get going with the build and have some pretty specific requirements (tempered windows, steel studs, etc), we’re going with mostly new materials for the structure. Our goal budget for the house (including solar power) is $30,000, most of which we’ve saved in cash so far… although I don’t know the final prices of everything yet, this will allow us to use some nice materials, but isn’t totally crazy. You can follow along with our actual spending on this Google doc.

You’ve probably heard that if you spend a lot (over $2500) at Lowe’s or Home Depot, you can send your quote back to the ‘bid room’ and get a better deal! My experience is that it’s kind of true… I gave the same materials and windows list to both Home Depot and Lowe’s, totaling about $4300.

Home Depot quoted me a whopping $7 off. Whoo-hoo.

Lowe’s, on the other hand, has been awesome. I really have to give a shout-out to Greg at the Melbourne store (window department) — he’s been super helpful with all the recommendations, and he’s been working with me on getting my quote. Although their windows were about $120 more initially (exact same windows, Jeld-Wen is sold at both stores), he agreed to match Home Depot + 10% off, and ended up doing even better than that. On the rest of the materials, he got me another ~$200 off, for a total savings of over $500!

Being an Atlanta native, I was biased towards Home Depot at the beginning, but Lowe’s has really won me over. You can also get nice 10% coupon for Lowe’s by picking up a ‘mover’s packet’ at the post office, or signing up for their mover’s program.

Unfortunately, it’s been raining a lot here (so $100 of our budget went to a really big tarp), and we haven’t done much more than move the trailer to it’s build location in the backyard. We’re hoping to get started on the real stuff this weekend, now that we have $8000 of materials sitting in the garage…



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