The Path to Mortgage-freedom

tiny house kitchen

tiny house kitchen

Reflections on Tiny House Family’s First eCourse and Open Enrollment for the Second Session

by Hari Berzins

I am amazed by what happens when people come together in the spirit of community. When we are honest and open about our stories, we truly have the power to help each other rise up out of the muckiness of life’s toughest times. We when celebrate our victories with others who truly get it, we all celebrate.

I had no idea our course would create the tight-knit community it has, and I’m awed by the power of story.

I shared a bit of our story and the motivation behind our eCourse, The Plan: Creating Your Pathway to Mortgage-freedom before we held the first session. That post is here: We were absolutely thrilled with the response. Thank you!

Our next group gets started May 10. Read more about the course and register here.

So often we get questions through our blog,,—“Where do I even begin?” That’s what we do in the course. We begin. You begin. Every single day. All the tiny details of how we achieved mortgage-freedom are woven throughout the course—but our story only gives context to the tasks and lessons—it’s all about you and your plan—how are you going to achieve mortgage-freedom?

I had this sense that we needed to tell the whole story the real, trudging-through-mud-and-celebrating-the-milestones story—I needed to share the practices of self-care that make-up the bedrock below the foundation of our homestead, our true money story, our budgeting and saving, our downsizing, land search, and ultimately how we designed and built our legal tiny house. And so we did. And I’m glad we did, because we get notes like this:

“This course is such a gift. Today, because of the encouragement I find here from you and the group, I am moving along in the direction of my dream. It is amazing to see how setting my tiny course has given me confidence, courage, and hope. Every decision now points in the direction of a hugely tiny life. Gone are the bitterness and self-pity, the feeling trapped by decisions past. These days, I catch myself singing and clapping to “Happy,” knowing that “happiness is the truth.” It feels solid and grounded, this happiness. Everything that I appear to be giving up is bringing me closer to freedom. By letting us in to the truth of your experience, you have emboldened me to live my truth. I wish I knew bigger words than thank you…” – E.L., 56, Washington, D.C.

I had to tell our story because we made this happen, and it isn’t a miracle. It has happened one decision, one breath, one step, and one board at a time. We created a deliberate process and practice to design a life and live it. Sharing this plan and process with others, breaking it into manageable steps, and watching them put their own plans in action is AMAZING.

“I think (I will speak for myself but I think that I can speak on behalf of the group) you did an excellent job with this course. It was obvious that you spent a lot of time preparing and the end product was wonderful. ‘Build it and they will come.’ You built it well. Congratulations!!” – Celeste Mackenzie

“The lessons are such great resources for change & re-orientation. I can work on these things for years!” -Kristi Kincheloe

“THANK YOU so much for your wonderful course including good information, encouragement, and many new friends!!!” – Linda Dillon

Through the daily lessons, folks had insights about what could be done now—that slow movement in the direction of your dreams is movement and will get you there. So often, we just don’t know what to do. It’s that stuck-in-the-mud-with-the-fog-all-around-you that makes it seem impossible to actually save up enough money to buy land and build a home. But one action at a time, you will create and follow your plan, and it will lead you to an intentional life of your own design.

“The course was even more than I hoped for. All in all I feel like we are moving closer. With a 3 year plan I know we can do this! Thank you, Hari, I would still be dreaming and waiting for the “right moment” to begin in a BIG leap, instead of small manageable enjoyable skips!” – Mahealani Ahia

Then there were the drastic measures, one family sold their house and moved as a means to save for their smaller, mortgage-free home. Another couple held a few yard sales and earned over $2000 and are now starting to build their tiny house. Others decided to start clearing out the basement. The tasks are designed to get you moving and start where you are. The group is there to encourage you every step of the way.

“Initially, I was not sure how the online forum was going to work for me. There were some incredibly personal disclosures shared–more than I ever expected! From this sharing grew a real sense of community. Your involvement was key in that, and I thank you for the time you gave to us all. Now that the course is finished, it will be a great means of staying in touch.”
– Celeste McKenzie

I have to say a huge thank you to the folks who joined us for our first session—keep moving!

We are doing it again, because the more people moving in the direction of debt-free empowered living, the better for all of us. Let’s keep this community of empowered folks growing! And if you’re already there, AWESOME! We’d love to hear your story. We are stronger together—let’s all keep sharing our stories of freedom.

Our next group gets started on May 10. If you’d like to join us, read the entire course description and register here.

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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Sue - May 2, 2014 Reply

OMG……before this course I was HOPING one day to consider thinking about building a tiny home; but shortly after the course began, I actually had GOALS & had STARTED working toward my dream. Don’t feel like I’m floundering any more; wake up with plans & goals!!!
Thanks so much, Hari & Karl for creating such a worthwhile course!
Love you both for doing this. {{{HUGS}}}

    Hari Berzins - May 2, 2014 Reply

    Hi Sue!
    We are grateful to be part of your journey! You are making huge strides. I can’t wait to see where your path takes you.
    Thanks for sharing your experience here. It means a lot to us. xo

Eileen Levitan - May 2, 2014 Reply

Hi Hari,
This, just like the whole program you offer, is beautifully done. What you are doing is touching so many live, more than just the ones who enroll in the course. Because each one of us is spreading the word, too. And so it spreads exponentially.The Tiny H House Movement is really catching on.

    Hari Berzins - May 2, 2014 Reply

    Hooray! Doing the celebration dance. I hope more and more people discover this freedom. Go Eileen!!

Eileen Levitan - May 2, 2014 Reply

I have been feeling like the Northeast was lagging far behind the rest of the country in tiny home lifestyle. Then, a couple of days ago, I found a Tiny House Meetup in Center City Philadelphia that is exploring creating a community right there in Center City! Signed right
up! Eileen

    Hari Berzins - May 2, 2014 Reply

    That’s awesome. We are going to see a lot more tiny house communities in the future–that’s my prediction. Keep us posted!

    alice h - May 2, 2014 Reply

    Thanks for mentioning Tiny House Meetups! I checked it out, there’s one in Vancouver, BC so I joined up. There’s a meeting May 14,perfect timing! Never would have thought of it if I hadn’t seen it here.

      Sue - May 3, 2014 Reply

      OMG, Eileen… SO jealous!!!
      So far, none in our area, but will continue to check.
      Good for you!

Tonita - May 2, 2014 Reply

This is a great post. Sounds people are encouraged to think outside the box in your course.

I did something as simple as getting rid of my cell phone for 7 years. I put $100.00 a month in the bank instead of paying for a cell phone bill. After 7 years I added a couple of thousand dollars to that account and that paid for my (at that time) $10K tiny house built by Slabtown Customs in Arkansas.

The same principles and discipline goes for buying larger land based homes and owning them outright. Mortgage free living can be achieved by setting your priorities in order and working hard. Then you have the choice to live mortgage free in a large home or a tiny home.

    Hari Berzins - May 2, 2014 Reply

    Exactly, Tonita! Your plan worked beautifully, and such a simple one. It’s the slow and steady that get us there. Seven years and so worth it, right!? Thanks for sharing your story. Cheers!

DeWhit - May 2, 2014 Reply

I read your story and was pleased to see how your family used good financial sense to achieve your goal.
With that being said, it is really disheartening to consider how many in the U.S. have so much basic and higher education, but so little common sense understanding of financial matters.
There seems to be a shortage of even basic money matters such as budgeting or compound interest or maintaining a paper or mental ledger.

No matter what stance one takes on earning and keeping money, it is a necessary commodity of modern life, anywhere in the world.

You are performing a valuable service for those that will heed anything from your lessons

Rebecca - May 2, 2014 Reply

I am taking a baby step at a time since 2008 and have had lots of bumps and bruises from the economy. In spite of career loss, I am on 5 wooded acres in the NM mountains and owe less than 30 thousand. I am cleaning up a single wide mobile and am grateful to have road and utilities. I planted fruit trees, garden, and identified edible natives. I am turning a an old shed and carport into a chicken coop/yard this year. I will have a pinon nut crop. Putting in a wood stove and will be warmer next winter. Still want to be mortgage free and in a stone cabin. I bring stones down the hill slowly slowly. I love the journey and fear not getting there all at the same time. New career is a long slog but seeing results. I have 5 acres and a garden! I pay extra every month to be mortgage free.
I am happier than ever. I read my Tiny House emails daily for encouragement. A friend now reads them every day and she just sold her big house. She is on her way! Another froend opted for a small apartment and is prepping her house for sale. Gal at work is thinking about same and one of the guys moved into a travel trailer and planning to gad about. This is a wonderful movement toward sanity.

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