Say you want an awesome house for 20,000 dollars or so. A strong house, with say...hmm..12,000 square feet? Keep in mind the average home in the USA is 2100 square feet. All you would need is some land, and what I'm describing below.
You could make this house as cheap as 2,000 dollars (just one container and a few blankets/pillows to sleep on) or as expensive as you can afford (with all commodities and what have you.)
40 foot shipping containers can be purchased for a little under 2,000 (2003) dollars apiece. Each shipping container is 2261 square feet. They are somewhere in the range of 7.8 feet high, 7.8 feet wide and 40 feet long. Now you may be thinking, I don't want to live in a shipping container! But it wouldn't be that bad, and you could fix it up to be really great.
The shipping containers can either be aluminum or steel, and I didn't notice any price difference between the two.
Have the containers delivered and then have them arranged as you want. Make 2 rows of 3, or 1 row of 6 or make a U shape, or do whatever you want with them. Take some metal and bolts and join everything together and make it structurally sound. Then take your sawzall and make the rooms bigger inside. I'm sure you want rooms bigger than 7 feet across. If you wanted to, you could have them put 3 down and 3 on top of those 3 to make a 2 story house. Using a sawzall you can cut out holes in the roof/floor and put in stairs to the upper level. Expand and remove pieces until the layout of your house looks like you want it to. Keep in mind that you may need pillars if your area gets a lot of snow, or to prevent flexing in the metal. Once everything is cut out and joined together, go up to the roof and sides and start gapping any space between everything with some sheet metal and bolts. Make sure it's nice and tight.
You would then get drywall sheets, studs, screws, bolts and nuts and some tools. Put holes in the walls every few feet and bolt up the studs. You can use rubber gaskets on the outside if you worry about water getting in. Then once the studs are all up, run your wires for electricity. I'm sure your uncle/friend/acquaintance is an electrician and can give you some pointers. Your electricity won't be hooked up yet so you don't have to worry about getting owned by the current. Make sure you know what you're doing so that you don't accidentally electrify the whole structure. You won't have to worry about fire without a wooden house frame though. There are regulations in place by your state/county on electricity so you may want to get an electrician to do it if you want to be running off of the power company. Make sure to do your plumbing also. This will be quite a challenge, and I don't know much about it. You may want to get a septic tank. I'm looking for suggestions from you totseers on this one.
Screw the drywall up to the studs, install your electrical sockets. Do your spackling. Use some wooden framing, drywall and bolts to make a closet or room dividers. cut out holes and install windows. You will need some extra precautionary measures for the windows to prevent leaks and insulation problems. You can also get doors and put them in, but if you are frugal and smart with your design you can use the shipping container doors as your front door.
Since this house is made of metal it will be quite WARM in the summer and cool in the winter, so you're going to want a good insulation. You can do this yourself also. Just get the insulation and lay it down between floors, behind drywall and wherever you need it. You will need to plan this step in conjunction with your drywall so as to not have to unscrew something to get insulation in there. An easy fix might be to just get insulation sprayed in.
Paint your walls and finish the installing of phone sockets, electrical sockets, lights, toilets, baths, sinks and what have you. It's time for the heating/cooling.
A central heating/cooling system is usually quite expensive. I imagine it might be easier to get a boiler/radiator set up. If you live in a warm climate window air conditioners could be the solution. Also, installing mirrors on the roof of the house will reflect much incoming heat from the sun. You could also cover the entire structure with solar panels and connect them to batteries for your electrical source, but that would be quite expensive I would imagine.
The exterior will be quite crappy looking, so you may want to change that with something cool. Place mirrors all around the exterior of the house for a crazy reflective home. IF kids throw rocks at your house and shatter the mirrors, designate one of the shipping containers the torture chamber and teach them a lesson. Mirrors will reflect much heat in the summer, so if you live in a southern area this would be good for you.
You can make furniture from free boxes and tape from www.usps.com Just go to store, search for boxes or tape and order some large quantities for free.
There are many other guides on cheap living so I will end this here! I hope you enjoyed my txt and continue living your own way!