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24 Realistic and Inexpensive Alternative Housing Ideas


Are you in the market for an inexpensive alternative housing?

If you are a homesteader or dreaming of becoming one then not only will you need to purchase land, but you will also need a place to hang your hat.

Today, I’m going to be very candid with you. If I could go back to my earliest years of marriage I would completely re-do my home buying decisions. It wasn’t until we moved to our homestead did we make, what I considered, the best housing buy.

So today I’m going to share with you cheap alternative housing options that you can turn into a really nice home without accumulating a ton of debt.

1. A Fixer Upper



I named this as the first housing alternative because this is what we did. In my earliest days of marriage, we bought into the suburban lifestyle. We purchase a brand new home with all of the bells and whistles and had a ton of debt and not much land to show for it.

Then we decided to homestead. So we sold it all and moved to the country where we purchased a few acres of wooded land and a house that was in really bad shape. But over a few years, we have managed to turn this house and land into a really pretty place for not much money.

2. Pallet Home


Yes, I know. Apparently, I think we could change the world with pallets. I wouldn’t quite go that far, but I will say if you have very little money, you need a place to live on your land until you can save up enough money to build something sturdier, and you have pallets then you can have a home.

So you just place a few pallets together and can build a quaint little house. Like I said, it may not be your ‘forever home’ but it will give you an inexpensive place to live until you can save the money to do something different.  You can learn how to build a pallet house here.

3. An Outbuilding

Cabin outbuilding

I’m sure you’ve seen those places on the side of the road that sell prefab outbuildings. I actually purchased one for our land not so long ago.

Well, they make great little cabins. They require no credit checks and for less than $10,000 you can have a nice little cabin with a cute front porch to boot. Here is a great how-to article on how to change one of these prefab buildings into a home.

4. RV

RV House

If you don’t have a ton of money but need a place to live you can always purchase an older RV and renovate it over time. It may not be ideal for some but for others, it could truly be just what you’ve been looking for.

So if you browse the internet you will find lots of stories of how people have taken old motor homes and made them their perfect homestead cabin. Even if you don’t want to live in it forever, it could still be a decent temporary fix until you can save up to build something a little better. Here is how you can transform an RV into your next home.

5. Manufactured Home

Manufactured House

Buying a new or used manufactured home may not be as inexpensive as some options but it is still less expensive than the cost of the average home. This might be a good option if you have a larger family.

So to be honest, I love the idea of tiny house living but with three growing children, it just isn’t something I’m willing to tackle at this point. But a manufactured home gives you a little more space than what a tiny home would provide, but you still don’t have to purchase a bunch of unnecessary space if you don’t want it.

6. Shipping Containers


Have you ever seen any of these homes? They are flat out amazing. I’m not sure who came up with this thought initially, but they were really smart and very creative.

But now that the idea is out there, if you are looking for a different and less expensive housing alternative then this just might be it. Here is how you can transform a shipping container into your next home.

7. A Silo Home

Silo House

When I saw this for the first time I absolutely fell in love with the idea. It looks so beautiful and has a lot of country charm. This would fit in great to almost any rustic property.

So if you are looking for an idea that won’t cost you an arm and a leg to build but can also offer some rustic charm then you might have found it in the idea of a silo home. Here is how you can transform a silo into your perfect country home.

8. Straw Bale Home

Straw Bale House

This is a great idea that I had actually never seen before until recently. When building a wood home, the insulation is so important in order to keep everyone warm when needed.

So the hay bales actually serve as insulation and as the outer appearance of the home as well. Though I feel certain you could add a sturdier outing to your home if you have the materials available. Here is how to build your own straw bale home.

9. Earth Berm


This is an idea that has been around for many years but most people just haven’t acted upon it. It is when you build a home that is underground. Your front entrance is the only area that is really exposed.

So the kicker to this home is that it could get complex building a home into the ground. But it is also great because your home could easily be off-grid and the temperature could easily be kept at a comfortable level at all times.

10. Earth Bag


An earthbag home is basically a home constructed of rice or feed bags that have been filled with dirt or soil. They are stacked together like bricks to form a home.

So if you would like to create your own earthbags, here is how you get started. If not, they can be purchased here. And here is how you can actually construct your own earthbag home.

11. Tiny House

Tiny House

Tiny house living has become all of the rage lately. So many people are flocking to it because they have all of the amenities that they would in a regular sized home only with less square footage.

And the best part is that they can have all of those amenities for a fraction of the cost. So if this interests you then you can see here how to get started building your own tiny home.

12. Recycled Bottles

bottle house

This idea for an inexpensive home is certainly unique. It won’t be for everyone but for those that are adventurous in their money saving efforts, this might be right up their alley.

So if you have a knack for recycling take a look at how to get started building your green home here. I’m sure it would take a lot of patience but with hard work you could have a great home built for nearly no cost.

13. Geodesic Dome

geo home

These are very unique homes with major energy efficiency bonuses. They also are offered in kits which makes for a much easier build.

Also, the price is certainly worth mentioning. When researching for the different prices of this style home, I was amazed at how inexpensive the kits actually are in comparison to what the average person spends on a home. If interested in building your own geodesic dome figure out how here.

14. Free Spirit Spheres

Free Spirit Sphere House

The free spirit sphere home would bring tiny house living to a whole new level. Basically, it is a round tree house that swings from the trees.

Now, I know some are probably a little turned off by the idea of hanging in the trees. But for the adventurous person looking for a less expensive home alternative, this probably sounds like an amazing thrill. So if interested, you can learn more about your sphere here.

15. Tree House


When you were a kid you might have always dreamed of living in your very own tree house. Well, people are actually doing it nowadays. When people stopped looking for the ‘norm’ and started looking for inexpensive, amazing alternatives it was no surprise that building a tree house made it on the creativity list.

So if you are one of those that always wanted a tree house, the good news is you can build your very own now. Here is how you can get started.

16. Cob House

Cob House

Cob houses are not only green and eco-friendly, but they are just flat out adorable. I absolutely love the way they look.

So if you are like me, and want an adorable less-expensive home alternative then check out how to get started building your cob house here.

17. Earthship


An Earthship house is supposed to be a sustainable home. It is said to be eco-friendly and offer a lot of help to those that are looking for an off-grid lifestyle.

So if you are interested in building this type of home, you can check out how to get started here. If you like the idea of a green lifestyle and having something a little different then this might be the home for you.

18. Hemp Concrete

hemp concrete

I had never heard of a home built out of concrete that was made out of hemp until I started researching for this post. It is a very unique idea.

So if you are someone that likes the idea of a traditional home built from non-traditional items then this might be right for you. Learn more about how to build a hemp concrete home here.

19. Boat


If you are fortunate enough to have a piece of land with a large body of water on it then you might want to look to the water for a place to build your home instead of the land.

So if you like the idea of living on the water, look no further than finding a boat to refurbish and make it your new place to call home. Or you could even do like it was done here, and turn a boat into a nice home on land.

20. Bus House

Bus House

If you’ve watched tv then you’ve probably heard of people taking old school and church buses and turning them into their new tiny houses.

Well, you could do the same. It wouldn’t be much different than refurbishing an old RV. Learn how to here.

21. Yurt

Yurt House

I first heard about yurts when I was watching a show about Alaska. Since then, yurts have been popping up all over the place. They are basically really sturdy tents that have amazing inside décor.

So if you like the idea of having a really nice house with amazing indoor décor then this could very easily be for you. Click here to find out more about making a yurt your next home.

Yurts Infographic

22. Box Car


This is another idea I first discovered when watching a show about Alaskan living. Let me just say, those that live there are very creative. They literally live on what they have on hand. This includes what they decide to live in.

However, these box cars have been converted into really nice homes. So if you are interested in finding a box car and making it your home, click here to see if it’s right for you.

23. Modular Igloo


This is another idea that is relatively new to me. I had actually never considered living in an igloo, not even a modular one.

But after a little research they seem quite fascinating. They are constructed out of thick Styrofoam, have decent ratings on surviving sever weather, and people have actually turned them into really amazing homes. If you think you might be interested, check out this article to learn more.

24. African Prefab House

african prefab

These houses are absolutely adorable. I had actually never heard of these either (I’m not super familiar with all of these new prefab options available.)

But I will say, they look great and would be a decent place to live on a small budget. So if you think you’d be interested in looking into owning one of these unique homes, you can learn more here.

So there you have it. Over 20 options of inexpensive housing options that will hopefully help you to own a home a little faster than imagined.



  1. Thanks for the information. I’m currently looking for a place to live with limited funds.it’s really hard trying g to find a place .

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