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A Few Cheap Housing Ideas

My interest in cheap housing came from not liking jobs. Having worked full time for perhaps just nine months in my life (I am 43), it was necessary at times to keep my expenses down. This is why my first house was a mobile home on a small lot. I made the $257 payments for a few years, then paid off the mortgage early during an unusual period of 30-hour work weeks (almost full time for me) at the casino where I worked.

But in addition to being a buyer of inexpensive housing, I was also a supplier. I rented rooms in the mobile home and so lived for free and even had a little income after paying the household bills. I even built a shed for $250, put in carpeting and a light, and rented that out at times for $50 per week.

I was hitchhiking in Mexico when I was 17 years old. A group of factory workers gave me a ride and let me spend the night in their extra bunk. They lived in a futuristic plastic apartment, just big enough for four bunk beds. The bathroom was tiny, but had everything necessary. The floor, toilet and bath tub were all made out of the same piece of molded plastic. There was a small television. The grounds had tennis courts, and winding cement paths with flowers and benches.

This very efficiently designed 300-square-foot apartment was pretty decent for single guys. In fact, in some parts of the United States, if such construction was allowed (there was only one door and other code problems) these kinds of units could probably really be used. Put ten on a small property, and an investor might make money renting them for as little as $240 per month (utilities included), which split between four single young men or women would be just $60 each. $15 per week is really cheap housing.

Some Other Cheap Housing Ideas

The ice rink building was in our local park for years before I noticed that the roof was held up by air pressure. It never once fell, which makes me wonder if this kind of construction might be used for houses as well. Inflatable houses...

In areas where there is no annual snow-load to worry about, maybe tent-style housing, like that used on the Mongolian plains would work. Walls and roofs cost a lot normally, but insulated fabric might be a fraction of the cost. Even if it had to be replaced every ten years it might cost a lot less.

Imagine 10-by-12-foot cube-rooms that fit together easily in many configurations. You start with a bathroom cube, a kitchen cube and a bedroom cube, and then buy and add more as you have the money. Mass-manufacturing them with a uniform design would keep the costs down. Plumbing and electrical would be built-in and ready to plug into the next cube.

A friend of mine once was thrown out of his own self-built home because it wasn't large enough to meet the county requirements. Interestingly, it would have been legal for him to camp on his property in an Recreational Vehicle, even if it was smaller than his cabin. Maybe an entrepreneur could buy 40 used RVs for $4,000 each and put them on a piece of land, then rent them out. Calling it "camping" might make this idea legal.

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Cheap Housing