Our radical decision

So here’s the deal. We need to save some money… let me rephrase that – we need to save A TON of money to afford this trip. So we’ve been coming up with ways to do that. We ran through the normal budget, we could cut this and that, but that would only save us X amount a month, at that rate we would still fall drastically short of our needed goal. So what do you do when you need to cut bills drastically?? You look at your housing situation since that takes up the biggest chunk of change every month, and we had to face it, this “mortgage crisis” is kicking our tails. We thought about selling the house early next year sometime, but lets be honest, the economy and housing sector are not doing so well. Will it get better or worse next year?? To be honest, nobody knows, but a few ‘experts’ in that area of business who’s opinions I greatly respect tend to think that this is just the beginning (actually they have been saying this was coming for about 3 years). So we’re thinking – cut our loses and sell, take whatever measly amount we can scrape out of this house now and move on.

That sounds great right?? Alright, so what then do we do about shelter for us and our (soon to be) 5 children and 2 dogs?? We know the home has to go up quickly – as in under 2-3 months, I’m due in Feb after all. We also know that we have a VERY limited budget – think of it as a budget with the Lap Band! $15,000 for the whole sha-bang. What?! I know – $15k can’t buy jack! Well we knew we’d have to get creative and do most of the work ourselves, so that’s not a shocker. How did I come up with $15k?? Simple – that’s double what we hope to get out of the house sale, we’ll use our savings and all the leftover income for 2-3 months. The key here is to build it DEBT FREE – viola! Solves the issue of having to spend most of our income on housing! In the mean time (that in between selling the house and the new one being completed), my MIL has so graciously offered us 2 of her extra bedrooms! Not a small thing for anyone used to quiet to offer that to someone with 5 children! Bless her heart, I hope she still likes us afterwards πŸ˜‰

Having all that thought through, off to Google I go. After researching wood vs metal studs – not in our budget, “conventional” construction out of the question. How about pre-fab wall – nope out of range again. Oh – pre-fab houses – much closer to our budget… assuming we can live in 650 square feet… currently we live in 1350. Well we figure it would be great practice since we will be living in an RV eventually which is at the most 300 sq ft. Down side – that 650 sq ft would cost $15k NOT including electrical, plumbing, foundation or “finishing” (whatever that means). So we would have to safely double that. Next! We find some land, not to far out, although definitely NOT in the city (kinda scary for this city girl!), his only requirements – plans have to be approved and it has to be 1200 square feet minimum. Oook… well that puts a twist on it. Our budget hasn’t increased, but suddenly square footage has to be doubled. To answer your question – there isn’t much land that meets all our requirements, biggest being very few requirements!!

Looking, looking, looking… What is this…??? Container housing??? Hrm… I seem to remember seeing this on HGTV or something at some point, someone over seas built something out of them. Do you see where this is going????

Oh yeah!! Container housing – ISBU’s – simplest terms – shipping containers. Yup those big ole ugly, different colored boxes on cargo ships. But get this – they are WICKED cheap and we have an over abundance of them because for some reason *ahem* we don’t make anything to export but we buy an unbelievable amount from overseas. Instead of shipping them back (which costs to much) they just make more to ship over here!

Let me break it down this way – an 8×40 shipping container (with 8.5 ft ceilings) cost a mere $1500 or so, plus another $600 for a flat bed to bring here – grand total of $2100 for an instant box not much different then the “box” of a house that most Americans live in. To satisfy the “1200 sq ft rule” we would need 4 – *poof* $8400 for the entire boxed in frame, technically totally livable, although not real comfy. The great thing is – its only half the budget – we can still afford to do all those comfy things to it!!

The concept is simple really – layout your cinder block foundation, pour in some concrete, drop in a few metal plates. Cut some holes in the containers for doors, windows and probably the middles so you have wide rooms. Put ’em on the foundation, weld to the plates and each other. Spray the outside with rust inhibitor and ceramic insulation (like SuperTherm), add the windows, plumb and wire the box. If desired, add some studs and drywall like normal. All of a sudden, my box of a house looks just like yours for the most part – except (and here’s some big differences!)…

1 – my box can withstand 200 mph winds (its been tested), given that we live in a high tornado area, that is a REALLY nice bonus. There’s pics of them being picked up in hurricanes and throw all over, big trees falling on them (like 3 ft round trees!) – and not a dent in them! That’s tough!!

2 – my box was built for $15 per square foot… how much was yours???

3 – All of this can be accomplished within a month!!

4 – the best one yet – my box was built debt free πŸ˜‰

I hear ya – “Your crazy, woman”… well lets be honest – if you read the earlier posts you’d understand why such drastic measures… or possibly think I was nuts anyway so why should this surprise you??? πŸ˜‰ Hell – whats the worst that could happen?? We end up having to take out a construction loan if this doesnt work as well as planned??? Or maybe worst case is ending up with a metal house built debt-free!!

Anywho – I just found this guy is currently building one also. I wonder if we could compare notes… See its not just me!! πŸ˜‰

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Our radical decision — 2 Comments

  1. Hmmm…

    This all sounds strangely familiar. I can tell you’ve been reading my posts. I’m gonna have to keep an eye on you.

    First, let me wish you luck in your project. With careful planning, and some creative thinking, these “boxes” can make really cool homes. I’ve already built several of these container houses (on several continents, and in several nations, too…), so I can

  2. Thanks for visiting!! And thanks for your input!! So you’ve actually done these before – thats awesome!!

    To be honest – we were not planning on framing/drywall for a while (if at all). From what I’ve read about the SuperTherm, insulation wise, we wouldnt need to. So while it would be expensive, we wouldnt have the added costs of framing/drywall. This is all of course, just theory

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