7 Housing Alternatives for Avoiding Debt

By various estimates, the average Millennial graduates college with between $25-28k in student loan debt — if they finish at all.
Seeing as only 30% of the US has a 4 year degree… yeah.
As a generation, we’re delaying marriage and home buying longer than our parents did. Our debt situation is speculated by many to be the next big economic bubble to burst.
We’re in no rush to accrue more debt and many of us don’t see why we ever need to.
There’s a sort of sea change happening where it seems like more people than ever are interested in being as sovereign as they can. For them that includes disentangling themselves from economic traps and minimizing their lives. One way to do that is to avoid buying more house than they need and to avoid banks, altogether.
The thinking goes like this:
The less debt I have, the less I have to work, the shorter my mortgage is (if I even have one), the more money time and energy I have to put into my dreams, traveling and causes I support.
Considering most of us have never known anything beside the rat race, it’s a revolutionary idea.

Intrigued? Good.

Here are 7 revolutionary ideas to kickstart your financial sovereignty.

Push cart solutions.
Commonly referenced as a housing solution for the homeless, for the most minimalist that only need a place to rest their head, this just might be enough.
If you have a friendly backyard, with shared bath and kitchen facilities, you could have this house on wheels (that you could put into a cargo van or pickup bed) for the cost of materials plus the time it takes you to build this cart.

Bicycle campers.
Ever considered doing a bicycle touring trip? Is the cost of hotels keeping you back?

With this, you can be sure to have some place to sleep wherever you go.
Now, you won’t be able to have guests over in your living room (or will you?), but I’m assuming if you’re the type to ride a bicycle a long distance, that’s not a concern for you.

Travel trailers.
These can be DIY, or as fancy as a luxury hotel room.
In addition to being a home on the road, they can be parked in a backyard or RV park of your city or town of choice.
With bathroom facilities (or a suitable alternative), solar power for your electronics, enough water for your daily needs and cooking space, you can park for days at a time anywhere you can legally take your rig.

For the price of $80 a year, you can cop a Discovery Pass and have access to all of the US’ national parks, many of which contain camp sites. For the cost of free, you can boondocks on Bureau of Land Management land for free.

Camper vans and Class B/C Recreational Vehicles (RV’s).
Like travel trailers, these can be as fancy or DIY as you like/can afford.
You could use a minivan, conversion or cargo van and build it into a house on wheels.
If DIY isn’t your style, you can buy an already-built RV built on a van body.
They’re smaller than Class A’s and can be serviced by anyone with mechanic’s knowledge of how to work on vans.

While they’re largely associated with old retirees, in and of themselves motorhomes (Class A RV’s) are built for anyone. It’s basically a home on wheels and the basis for musicians’ and politicians’ tour buses.
While they’re not as easy to work on as camper vans, if that’s not a concern–or your motorhome will be stationary–then it’s not a problem.

Container homes.
Though they’re often lumped in with the tiny house movement, they don’t have to be tiny. They can be cut and modified to be the size of a normal house–or not.
With millions of unused shipping containers sitting in the US alone, they can generally be had for under $5,000 a pop, especially if you live near a city with a shipping port.
Built to withstand crossing seas, shipping containers are intrinsically weatherproof.
What they end up looking like is limited only by your imagination, budget and skill (or your contractor’s).

Tiny house.
Generally under 400 square feet, tiny houses take up way less space than your average house.
Consequently, they cost less to heat and cool, so over time, they save you money on utilities.
Their small size leaves less room for “stuff”, forcing you to be more mindful of how much you have, which can in turn lower your consumption and spending.

Due to building and zoning restrictions, they’re commonly built on wheels, so that they can be classified as RV’s. But if you’re willing to fight for updated codes, or own your own land that isn’t subject to municipal hosing regulations, you can build one on a foundation.