Man swaps his three-bed house for a shipping container and saves £700 a month

When Jay Adler, 30, went through a breakup in July, he decided he wanted to make a dramatic change.

Rather than just going for a haircut, Jay decided to quit his marketing job for a charity, leave his three-bedroom town house, and move into a 20ft by 8ft shipping container on a farm.

Jay spent just £3,000 buying the shipping container on a decommissioned farm just outside of Cheltenham and transforming it into a micro-home.

He says he couldn’t be happier with his new downsized lifestyle – and not just because his outgoing have been slashed from £1,025 a month to £325.

Jay said: ‘For everyone, 2020 has been a bit crazy.

‘Splitting up with my partner was my catalyst for change and living simply was always something I wanted to do.

‘I had a house, a wife and an office job, as well as a very standard life. I never really signed up for that, it kind of just happened.

‘My marriage ending was such a big change already, that living simply was just the next step.

‘So, I asked the owner if I could buy and move into the shipping container – renting land and utilities from her.

‘She agreed and I began living there from July.’

Jay had experience transforming shipping containers, as he and his business partner Matt Nolan, 30, previously opened a pub, The Outdoor Inn, based in two shipping containers.

He’ll work in that pub full-time when Covid-19 restrictions allow.

‘When we were working on the bar, I saw how convenient and useable shipping containers are,’ said Jay.

‘After that, using one for a home seemed to be the perfect fit.’

£3,000 bought Jay the shipping container and luxury fittings, including a kitchen, insulation, storage space, a bed, and an attached 6ft by 4ft shed, which contains his bathroom, complete with a shower and toilet.

How Jay’s outgoings have changed:

Jay’s monthly outgoings before he moved:

  • Mortgage – £500
  • Utilities – £100
  • Car- £100
  • Council tax – £60
  • Mobile phone contract – £40
  • Internet – £25
  • Food – £200

Total: £1,025 a month

Jay’s monthly outgoings now:

  • Rent and utilities – £200
  • Laundrette – £30
  • Food – £70
  • mobile hotspot – £25
  • TOTAL – £325

Total: £325 a month

While Jay’s new home sits in an ‘exposed’ part of the farm, Jay says it’s not ‘100 per cent off-grid’.

‘I do have a water feed from the farm and I do have an electricity supply, which is constantly running,’ he explained.

‘I also use a fan heater for circulation, because shipping containers are prone to condensation and moisture build-up, so that helps with that problem.

‘I’ve insulated the walls, too, and have another heater, so that really helps now we’re coming into winter.’

He uses mobile hotspots for an internet connection rather than getting wifi.

And while Jay did have to give away some of his possessions, he has kept plenty of treasures to make his home comfortable, including a TV and a mobile record player.

Jay absolutely loves his new minimalist life, and has no plans to go back to his old ways.

‘Despite the restrictions on the hospitality industry this year, saving money wasn’t my main motivation for doing this,’ he said.

‘But saving £700 a month is certainly welcome.

‘I still drive to work in a company van, but I have stripped a lot of unnecessary stuff away and that’s brought me real joy.

‘The things that I have in the container serve a purpose.

‘I do have to take my clothes to a launderette in town but, basically, I have everything I need to live comfortably.

‘There is definitely something to be said for simple living. I think people can, to a degree, become obsessed with material items and possessions and the way society is, it becomes a big part of your life.

‘It feels like there is never an end to it, you always want more.

‘Yet, when you strip it all back, you can find yourself really enjoying yourself by living simply.

‘I walk a lot more than I used to. I read a lot more and listen to way more music. In fact, I have ended up doing far more of the things I really enjoy.

‘I’ll definitely be here for the foreseeable future – I love it.’

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