One more thing to the Bucket List

by Sarah Luna

As I was going through my Google Reader today, I was led to this post at RowdyKittens about building a tiny house.

Back in July, I say down at my kitchen table in Texas and mapped out what I thought my six years in Cornell would be and what they would lead to. I outlined long term and short term goals, crunched numbers, and tried to prioritize my life.

During that process, I became fascinated by the idea of living a minimalist life. I realized that my life up to that point had been neither established nor location-independent. I knew that my six years at Cornell would provide some measure of establishment…which got me thinking.

I thought to myself: In six years, I’ll be 28. I read somewhere that the average female gets married at 28. In a somewhat embarrassing act of faith, I started to save for my wedding. Then I thought of housing. Surely a gown up 28-year-old needs to have a “real” house by then. Ok, better start saving for that too.

The idea of being in debt for 30 years appalls me. But that’s what people do, right? I found this incredible site about the basics of buying a house. In general, people can “afford” a house that is three times their total income, and they are recommended to pay 20% of the cost as a down payment.

For me, that’s about $18,000.

I ran the numbers and created a budget that would allow me to reach this goal at the end of four years. I knew that I would rent during my entire time at Cornell. Home-buying is not something I feel I could handle in addition to my PhD stuff.

Today I reran the numbers because I will be paying substantially less rent next year. With the difference in rent going directly into savings, I breeze past the $18,000 down payment mark in my fourth year.

I still hate the idea of a mortgage though. That’s why the idea of a tiny house and especially these tiny houses is so creatively appealing. I would save up money and pay for everything up front (because $50,000 is way more doable than $200,000). No mortgage, low utilities. Depending on the design, I could build a movable house and tiny plots of land to camp. Plot in Ithaca if I stay here, plot in Texas, plot in California (hey, these are lifelong things…I can be grandiose if I want). Or I can build a stationary tiny home and travel.

So here it goes on the bucket list. Build a tiny house. : )

Do I dare ask what people think?