Off The Grid Project – The Tiny Home Movement, Smart Move, Or Just A Waste Of Money

Here’s the latest installment of my YouTube series “Gary’s Living Off The Grid Project.”

See Transcript Below:

Gary Collins:  Hey, everyone. This is Gary Collins, best selling author and creator of Make sure to check out my books, and buy them they are fantastic for anyone looking to get into a Primal/Paleo lifestyle, get healthy and lose weight.

Today I’m going to talk about a trending subject that is very close to my off‑the‑grid project. That’s why it’s in the off‑the‑grid category on YouTube. The thing that has become very popular is “Tiny House Living,” I guess they call it. I’ve seen programs on it. A couple have popped up on cable that I have watched.

It’s taking and turning people, who are trying to minimize their lifestyles and simplify, and trying to basically capitalize on it for people who want to do that and charge them exuberant prices for houses that are small. Fantastic idea to rip people off. Charge you five times the amount for something that is 10 times smaller than your old house.

In a lot of them there’s two different categories. There’s the one category which is basically a travel trailer. It’s on a rolling chassis, so they have these rolling chassis templates. Then they construct a small house on it. Well, it’s nothing more than a real crappy travel trailer. You still have to register it with the DMV if you’re going to put it on the road.

Primal Power Method Tiny Home
A good gust of wind and this thing is toast if you are towing it!

You’re going to have to register it. It’s going to have to have a license plate. You’re going to have to get it insured, which I have no idea what the cost is on that. I didn’t even look, but I guarantee insuring one of those things is not easy to do. I’m sure there’s some sort of process that you’ve got to go through in order to get it certified for road. That’s part of the registration.

I don’t even know. I guarantee it’s a nightmare to do it right. With these things they’re around 100 to around 140 square foot. I’m seeing people spend, I kid you not, on the programs I have watched people are spending thirty to fifty thousand dollars, on these little homes. They’re coming out to three to five hundred dollars a square foot.

That is square‑footage prices in Malibu. Those prices are astronomical for something that small. People are going, “Oh. Hey, I’m going to save some money. I’m going to get this little tiny house.” It’s called a tiny house. Like I said, it’s a travel trailer. “I’m going to go live off in this remote piece of land.”

It sounds all great and dandy, but they’re actually spending far more money than they actually need to. I bought a travel trailer. It’s already set up. It has plumbing, heating, air conditioning, oven, microwave ‑‑ don’t use microwaves, a topic for another time ‑‑ but all the things I need. It’s got my bed. It’s got couch, table, TV hookups. It’s got everything.

Primal Power Method Travel Trailer
My travel trailer, far cheaper, safer, ready to go and no pooping in a bucket!

I paid like $8,500 for the thing, and it’s nice. It’s a nice travel trailer. That’s far less than these boneheads are paying for these little teeny houses, they’re calling them. Mine’s already registered. It’s already passed inspections. It’s already got everything. It’s easy to insure. Everyone knows what it is.

It’s fire‑safe because it’s not made out of wood. Don’t get me wrong, but they park them in some pretty dangerous places that are fire hazards. These things will go up in a heartbeat. I just wanted to warn you guys because I know this is getting to be very, very popular. Don’t fall for it.

I think it’s a complete scam. I think it’s a total rip‑off. I’ve seen programs where they build it themselves. They go buy the rolling chassis. I want say that rolling chassis was three to five grand? I don’t even know. It was expensive. Most of them have composting toilets. They don’t have any real plumbing. They have no hookups.

It’s just basically living in a shed on wheels. It’s stupid. Even the people building themselves, I want to say the cheapest one I saw was like 12, 13 thousand dollars. It had nothing. Inside it was bare bones. For people looking to simplify their lives and going off the grid I recommend that you just go out and buy a used travel trailer.

Go try it out. It’s all ready to go. You can take it with you to all the same places these tiny houses go, and you can rest assured that it’s safe. It’s been built to specific codes that have been around a long time.

Then there’s the other one, and they call it “The tiny house.” It’s a house that’s basically 500‑square foot or smaller. I’ve seen some of those prices to be five to seven hundred dollars a square foot. Just to give you an idea, I built a custom house. My last custom house, which was beautiful, cost me a little over $110 a square foot.

That’s what I mean. They’re really taking advantage. It doesn’t make any sense to me. I think these contractors have figured out a new scheme. They’re like, “Oh, great. Now we can use far less materials, charge them five times as much, and it’s great. They’re happy.” Basically you just bought a 2,000‑square‑foot house that’s 500 square foot. It’s ridiculous.

Do your research. Do your due diligence. There’s no reason in the world you should be paying five to six hundred dollars a square foot. Don’t get me wrong. When you build a smaller house, the costs are more because it’s on a smaller scale. Per square footage usually it’s going to be more expensive, but it’s not going to be that much more expensive.

It’s not going to be five times as much. I don’t care how custom it is. Buyer beware. I’m just warning you guys. Since it’s become popular, it’s like anything else. It’s like the Paleo Movement when I talked about that when it blew up. You got all these overweight people writing cookbooks telling you about health, and they’re not even healthy.

It just happens. It’s with anything. With that and obviously go back to the travel trailer, the ones that are built on these rolling chassis. You should see, using a compostable toilet. Most of them are just a bucket with a toilet seat because anyone who’s priced ‑‑ I have ‑‑ the toilets, they’re over two grand for one. Just one.

It’s basically like pooping in a high‑end bucket, the $2,000 one. I researched them up and down. I looked at the reviews. Basically you’re paying a ridiculous price. You’re pooping in a bucket, and the odds of you making it because it’s such a dramatic shift and you’re not even doing it right, you’re just getting ripped off. Then you’re going to abandon it.

Like I said, play it safe. Go look at it. I bought a 21‑foot travel trailer. They’re fairly small. It’s not very big, but it’s plenty big enough for me and my dog. I’ve seen two people live in even a smaller one than I have, much smaller. Go out and do your research. Travel trailers, there’s a ton of them for sale used. People are always getting rid of them.

You can get them for even cheaper than I bought mine. I’ve seen them for four or five grand in good shape, and it’s already ready to go. I hope that helps.


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