1) Insulation. I decided to use sheep wool and Roxul for the walls and ceiling*. This totaled $680.91. If If would have gone with generic, pink fiberglass insulation I would have spent around $150, saving me $528.91. This covers over half of the $975 I was over budget.
2) Windows. I bought all my windows special order, brand new. I’ve seen a lot of tiny houses put in used windows, and that’s great for those who did. I however wanted everything the same color and to match. There also isn’t much of a market for used windows around here, especially if you’re looking for small, double pane windows. It’s easy to find single pane barn windows but those are not good enough for a house in this climate. I spent $1,404.50 for all 11 of my windows and I’m guessing if I was able to find them used, I would have paid around $500 instead. This would have saved me $904.50
3) Paint. I got 5 gallons of exterior paint, which would have been waaay more than enough. However, I let it freeze multiple times over the winter which ruined it and stopped me from using it to finish painting the house the following summer. It was a huge bummer to have to throw away 3 gallons of paint I could have saved if I was more careful. So, I had to go out and buy another gallon of paint and waste $23.96. If I had to do it over again I would have bought 3 gallons of paint and saved money by only buying what I needed and not letting it freeze. I also bought 5 gallons for my interior paint as well when I could have gotten away with 2-3 gallons. The only thing I needed 5 gallons of was primer. If I was more careful with my paint quantities, I could have saved $90.
4) Plexi Glass Shower Surround. I splurged on this item because I thought the bathroom would look nicer if you could see the tongue and groove in the shower area instead of a cheap plastic surround or galvanized tin. I’m glad I did it, but it was almost too expensive to justify. It cost $194.94 to get the 1/4” plexi glass. I tried getting the cheaper, thinner stuff at Lowe’s but when I got it back home it was obvious it was not going to work. If anyone else is looking at going this route with their shower surround, I’d suggest going no thinner than 1/4”. If I would have gone with tin or plastic, I wold have saved $174.94.
5) Wiring. This was my first electrical project and I had to learn a lot to do it. Looking back now I think I could have run the Romex and my circuits a lot more efficiently. I probably could have used 200’ or less of wire and saved a lot of time and about $20 if I planned a little better and knew electrical like I do now.
A note about reclaimed materials: A lot of people ask me if I used any reclaimed things in building my house. The only recycled materials I used were the pallet floors and a bowling alley slab for the counters. The reason I didn’t use reclaimed materials is because it’s actually more expensive than getting things new. Especially in Montana where rustic design is all the rage these days. Reclaimed wood, sinks, tubs, tin, etc. is a really competitive market here and at least twice as expensive as buying new.
*I used rigid foam for the subfloor, and I would not change that. It’s an absolute must.