YOUNG VOICES

Student Builds His Own Tiny Home So He Can Live Debt-Free

03/07/2015 14:48 BST | Updated 03/07/2015 14:59 BST

You'd be forgiven for thinking Joel Weber was just another wealthy kid living the high life; at 25, he already owns a house, which he designed and had custom-made.

Except Weber built his house. And it's 145 square feet. And it was built using reclaimed wood, repurposed items and materials donated from the local community.

In fact, Weber is a sterling example of taking sustainable living to the next level.

“I think living simple has always attracted me,” the University of Texas student said. “A lot of times we forget about the perspective of what we really need. I would rather be happy and be debt-free -- not be tied down, trying to be in the rat race because I have to pay for this lifestyle that’s really not even making me happy.”

Weber challenged himself by creating an efficient home in which everything has multiple functions and uses, even carving his sink from a mango bowl.

"I’m definitely testing the boundaries of living smaller," he said.

Weber now has a mortgage-free home with minimal utility costs. He’s taken sustainable living to a new level and hopes to inspire others to do the same. “Tiny homes are a movement,” he added. “They are a movement that’s going to last and not just be a trend. I really feel as if this is the way we are moving for the future.”

Writing on his Facebook page, Weber says it would cost around $20,000 (£12,800) to build a similar house.

"For my project I took my lifesavings that was created by pulling money that I earned into an account every month since I was in high school and invested it into this home. The rest was donated by amazing friends, family who believed in me and my project!

"Labor was donated by amazing craftsman (huge savings off the 20k)and the rest was funded by me working my butt off while in school full time (in a city 3 hours away I might add)....

"Also I wanted to have something that I actually owned that was mine versus a dorm. I thought about a travel trailer but wanted something more homelike. I couldnt afford a normal home so I just took the leap and went for a tiny home that I felt fit my life and sustainable desires.

"I didn't build this for publicity, I built it to inspire people."

Joel Weber, we salute you!

Tiny sustainable house