Kitchen area of a tiny home
Leah Berenson
Leah Berenson
April 9, 2024 ·  5 min read

Tiny Home On Wheels: 51-year-old woman pays $725 a month to live in someone’s backyard

As the cost of everything continues to rise, more and more people are looking for cheaper alternatives to their living expenses. As a result, more people are considering the option of a tiny home, realizing that a more simplistic lifestyle leads to a more blissful life. Jen Gressett from Boulder, Colorado, has shared some of her experience and what she’s learned along the way.

Jen Gressett and her husband of 18 years divorced, and she began looking forward to making a change. She and her husband had shared a 3,000 sq. ft., 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom home with their two kids and their dogs. After her divorce, she began to look for other living arrangements. Unfortunately, everything she liked was out of her budget.

Image Credit: Jen Gressett

Discovering Tiny Home Possibilities

Eventually, inspired by the tiny home trend, she purchased a shell of a tiny home for $45,000 from a local builder and paid an additional $3,000 to create a floor plan that worked for both her, and the builder. However, after several months of little progress, she decided to contact another builder, MitchCraftTinyHomes. They took over the project in 2020, and although were a little higher than Jen’s budget, she ultimately felt she could trust them to take on her tiny home project. The pandemic caused some delay but by January of 2021, she was able to move in!

Image Credit: Jen Gressett

Unexpected Expenses

The total cost was about double what she’d originally budgeted for, coming in at around $175,000. However, she stands by the belief that her tiny home is well worth every penny. Now paying a mere $725 a month, which includes all her utilities and a parking spot, she connected with her “landlord” via Facebook. Currently, her tiny home on wheels is in someone’s backyard, which allows her to pack up and move almost anywhere she wants. Alternatively, some models don’t come with wheels.

Living in Luxury

Despite being the smallest home, she’s ever lived in, Jen has created a luxurious and simplistic space. One of her greatest lessons is knowing when not to buy something. Because the tiny home has very little space, she no longer purchases things on a whim. Instead, she buys only necessities. Furthermore, if she buys anything outside of that, she has to know ahead of time exactly where it will go.

Image Credit: Jen Gressett

Tiny Home Essentials

Secondly, she learned how to simplify the daunting task of renovating. Jen suggests that by assessing where you spend most of your time at home, you’ll gain more clarity about where to invest the most during the remodel. For example, she loves to cook and entertain. Therefore, her kitchen is a stunning focal point of her tiny home, featuring quartz countertops and a built-in table where she can either work from home or entertain. Some kitchen cabinetry has been designed for aesthetics. Meanwhile, most of the shelving throughout the tiny home has been designed for function. Many are pull-out cabinets that have hidden compartments for storage.

Another tip she offers is ‘bright and white.’ She says that a lighter color scheme made her tiny home feel larger than expected.

Image Credit: Jen Gressett

Room for Guests

Jen also shares that her tiny home has two loft bedroom areas. She describes her room as “like a little cocoon, especially in the wintertime.” She has a giant king-size bed and some bookshelves. Despite having no room to walk around, her room is cozy and quaint, creating a welcoming sleep environment. For the time being, her daughter is staying in the guest loft until she heads off to college. It’s amazing how many different and creative options people have it comes to designing their tiny homes.

Image Credit: Jen Gressett

Tiny Home Tinier Carbon Footprint

The bathroom may be the most impressive feature of Jen’s tiny home on wheels. Her bathroom has a built-in dresser for her clothes, a soaker tub, and also houses a washer and dryer. Her toilet is a waterless composting toilet, meaning it uses natural decomposition to dispose of human waste. This is both better for the environment and creates a few more options when deciding where to put the tiny home, as it doesn’t require a septic system or pipes like other toilets.

Image Credit: Jen Gressett | CNBC Make It

One of the most amazing things about living in a tiny home likely appeals to environmental enthusiasts. These smaller living quarters are the perfect solution for cheaper and also greener living. Not only is the house itself cheaper, but it takes less energy to heat, cool, or light. Therefore, it reduces the cost of utilities and your household carbon footprint. Furthermore, you’ll conserve more water with options like Jen’s composting toilet, which also reduces monthly costs. Lastly, a tiny home is much easier to clean and maintain. Consequently, you’ll save money on cleaning products and be able to focus better on toxin-free supplies.

Possible Downside

However, like everything in life, there’s some bad that comes with the good. For example, a tiny home may not be suitable for someone with a large family because everyone may start to feel a little cramped. Another thing to consider that may be a downside for some is that organization is essential. Because space is so limited, keeping things tidy and in their place will help make the tiny home feel a little bigger.

Overall, living in a tiny home may provide numerous benefits that other larger homes don’t provide, making it clear why we’re seeing them rise in popularity.

Keep Reading: Woman Had to Move Out of Her Tiny Home After 1 Day Because the City Threatened to Fine Her $1,000 a Day


  1. This 51-year-old pays $725 a month to live in a ‘tiny home on wheels’ in someone’s backyard—take a look inside.” CNBC. Jen Gressett. April 8, 2023.
  2. How Composting Toilets Work – What Is a Composting Toilet.” Waterless-Toilet
  3. Benefits of a Tiny Home: Everything You Need to Know About the Eco-Friendly Houses.Green Matters Sophie Hirsh. January 4, 2023.
  4. Living in a Tiny Home: Benefits & Drawbacks.” ABC. Heather Levin. November 26, 2012.