Building a Cabin on a Budget

Building a cabin on a budget is easier than some might think, but it does have it’s challenges. Now when I say ‘easy’, I don’t mean it’s “easy to build“. I mean it’s easy to save money and build on a budget when you do everything (or as much as possible) yourself.

The biggest expense in building are materials and hardware. You must be creative in how and where they acquire materials, tools and equipment needed to build your cabin. This article will touch on the basics and also assumes one already has the land to build on, the proper permitting in place, and the building skills to build a basic structure. This article also focuses on sustainability and impact on the environment as well as cost.

Depending on whether you’re building your cabin on a permanent foundation, or placing it on concrete blocks or stone pillars will also have a large impact on how much you will spend to build your own cabin. There’s a huge price difference in building a cabin on a concrete foundation, versus placing it on concrete blocks or stone pillars. Septic, water, and power are the 3 big concerns after shelter.

So… Where do you start? With the land.

Your choice of property is perhaps the single most important aspect to building your cabin. It very well could determine the success or failure of your off grid homestead.

Picking The Land

Before we get into the details of building a cabin on a budget, lets discuss the land, because if you’ve done your homework you’ve picked land which has the natural resources you need. This will save you much more money than you realize. Especially if you know how to build. Even if you don’t know much about construction, it’s a good idea to source your materials wisely and not try to buy everything from the store.


In the old days pioneer settlers would pick their land based on the natural resources available. They had this whole living sustainably down to a science almost. They had to back then because it was literally a life or death choice. If they chose a location which didn’t have the resources needed then they would not survive. There was no Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes or Ace Hardware store to run down to to get supplies. They had to fend for themselves, and therefore had to pick land that provided them with what they needed.

In modern times we’ve forgotten how to do that, or rather, since we have all the resources at our fingertips, we don’t need to do that anymore. Picking a piece of land becomes more about the covenants and convenience of location to schools, shopping and entertainment. We’ve become complacent as a society and we take the natural resources for granted, thinking and expecting them to be there.

Living off the grid is about being self sufficient, and if you’re going to live off grid you need resources.