Living in a yurt can be an affordable and eco-friendly housing option. Yurts are round, tent-like structures that have been used as portable homes by nomadic groups in Central Asia for thousands of years. With some creativity and willingness to embrace a minimalist lifestyle, you can significantly reduce your cost of living by making a yurt your home. In this article, I’ll share my experience and advice on how to save money with yurt living.
Choose an Affordable Yurt
The first step is selecting an affordable yurt that fits your needs and budget. Here are some options to consider:
- Used yurts: Check classified ads and online marketplaces for used yurts at discount prices. Inspect carefully for damage.
- DIY yurt kits: Handy folks can buy a yurt kit with canvas and wooden lattice frame pieces to assemble themselves. Kits start around $2000.
- Custom built: Hire a company to build a custom yurt to your specifications. More expensive but higher quality. Budget $5000+.
I purchased a used 30-foot yurt in good condition for $3000 – saving substantially over a new custom build. With some repairs and sealant, it was ready to be my new home!
Find Cheap Land to Setup Your Yurt
Your next task is finding an inexpensive piece of land to legally setup your yurt. Here are some creative options to explore:
- Check out community gardens that offer garden plots or tiny home spaces for rent.
- Search for RV parks or campgrounds that permit long-term rentals of yurt spaces.
- Ask around for private landowners looking for renters of unused acreage.
- Inquire about caretaker positions that include free housing in a yurt.
I rented a plot in a community garden with yurt spaces for just $250 per month! The common building had bathrooms and a shared kitchen.
Use Solar Power and Propane
Living off the grid in a yurt means you’ll need to supply your own utilities. This can greatly reduce costs compared to traditional housing.
- Install solar panels to generate renewable electricity. Price is $10k-$15k.
- Use an energy efficient propane fridge, stove, and heater. Propane is cheaper than electricity.
- Get lighting from LED bulbs and devices charged by small solar chargers and batteries.
I spent $12,000 on a solar setup, but it will pay for itself in 5 years compared to electric bills! My propane costs just $60 per month.
Furnish With Used or DIY Items
Furnishing your yurt on the cheap is easy with used and DIY furnishings:
- Check garage sales, Craigslist, and thrift stores for used furniture.
- Make your own shelves and tables from salvaged wood and pipe.
- Use tapestries and curtains for room dividers and decor.
- Make bean bag chairs and floor cushions stuffed with batting.
Half my yurt is furnished with comfy second-hand couches and rugs I found for under $500!
Maintain With Preventative Care
Keep repair and maintenance costs low by following these yurt care tips:
- Seal the yurt each fall to prevent leaks from rain and snow.
- Ventilate the yurt well to prevent moisture and mildew buildup.
- Clean the roof regularly and re-waterproof the canvas as needed.
- Check the lattice for damage, tighten joints, and repair asap.
Spending a little time each season on yurt care will prevent costly repairs down the road!
The minimalist yurt lifestyle isn’t for everyone, but it enabled me to dramatically reduce my housing costs. With diligent planning, you can setup an off-grid yurt for less than $20k and save thousands per year on rent, mortgages, and utilities. The hardest part is finding affordable land to place it on – but with some creative searching there are options out there. Give yurt living a try if you want to slash your cost of living and embrace sustainable, eco-friendly housing.