My husband and I, along with our three children have been living in a homestead community for four years. We currently share a cabin with one other family in rural British Columbia. We will be expanding our family in the next year and want to branch out and live in a cabin that's all our own. I wanted to know if anybody knows how much it will cost for supplies, wood etc?? I came acoss some youtube videos that said it would be expensive, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EF0lpu5aY-g, but I am still unsure about the costs and how it will impact our family. Please leave your suggestions =)
I wish I had a good answer for you, but I only have guesses based on my own research. It's really variable, depending on the size of the cabin, what materials you use, your experience level, and so many other factors. The cheapest estimates I have found have been in the $10,000 (USD) range, and those are for super tiny cabins, usually one room. For something you can house a family in, you're probably looking at the $25,000-$50,000 range. That's a huge range, and not cheap even on the lower end. It's also going to be very time consuming if you're doing it yourselves, if either of you have an outside job, if you're not experienced builders, etc. And check into permits and applications in your area, they are often expensive and complicated to fulfill the requirements.
My husband and I were planning to build our own cabin, but for the sake of our sanity, we're buying a pre-fab instead. We'll still have to insulate it ourselves, put in our own foundation, and finish the interior. And it's going to wipe out our small savings to do it.
Your cost will depend on your creativity, the size of your cabin, and your dedication to finding the best/cheapest sources for your materials. I've known a few people to do it for about $5000, using almost entirely reclaimed materials and having one or two rooms. If you're doing something like cob or strawbale, your costs will be lower. If you do all of the building yourself, your costs will be lower. So it's a tricky question to answer, because you have to know what you want to build and how you want to build it before you can have an idea of how much you'll be spending.
The good news is, you can do it cheap, and you can do it yourself, if you are creative and dedicated. Good luck!
Sustainable Energy Association in the US has an annual Open House event where you can actually tour hay bale homes and other eco friendly and off grid homes and "power" sources. It is in October so you'll have to wait awhile but well worth taking the time to really check out all the options. Yes, look at plans (local library should have building books) and then source used materials.
We did not keep things frugal and will be paying for it for many, many years.