I drove down to Spur, Texas from Los Angeles California (where I live and work) in April 2015 to find out exactly what it would take to "move to Spur" and start a new life. After three days of driving (staying with family in Phoenix, AZ and a cheap hotel in Roswell, NM) I finally arrived and was greeted by two advocates of the Tiny House movement in town. Each had spoken with me via phone along the way and each had a very different story and lifestyle to share. One lives in a mobile tiny house (he took the wheels off and secured it on site) and the other has renovated an existing building to call his home).
What I found in Spur was a quiet, peaceful and charming little city with a ton of potential. What gives this town longevity is the brand new school, four restaurants, modern grocery store, 24/7 gas station and proximity to Dickens (which is the county seat, where the court house is). People from surrounding farms bus their kids to Spur and the annual homecoming parade brings old faces back into town. There are also a few businesses but the most recognizable is Cap Rock which does Internet, phone and cable.
If you were to come to Spur via car like I did, you could plan to meet with me or one of the other residents by commenting below and we would help you tour and purchase a lot (could clear as quick as three days if it's a private lot) and then connect with a local engineer to build a house (you could bring plans or work with them on a design). You could then leave town while the house was being built and return in a couple of months to become a permanent resident at which point living expenses might be as low as $550/mo all inclusive. Below is an example open lot that I found while wandering around town.
Some people are builders and that's another great option. This place is more flexible and open minded about building tiny or unique (as long as it looks good and you cut your grass) so I could imagine shipping container houses or Earth ship houses at some point. I found the most affordable and practical designs to be mid-sized "tiny cottages" on pier platforms while I was doing research.
Designing a house can be really inspiring and fun but it's also neat to think about how the space can interact with the surrounding environment and leverage new technology like solar panels (water heating or photovoltaic) and electrical storage like the Tesla Powerwall. Imagine the not too distant future where robotic lawn mowers, atmospheric water generators and garden drones become more common. Living in a place like Texas can significantly reduce your taxes, help you stay warm for more of the year and let you grow your own food (Spur offers two solid growing seasons but can get snow in the winter).
In my experience, there are two ways to live well (financially speaking) and the first is to make a lot of money (which can take luck, hard work and a lot of time) while the second is to reduce costs... which Spur could really help you achieve. Life in town is relaxed and quiet but not dull by any means. People are cheerful and talkative, there's a diverse heritage (white, hispanic and black) and an open mindedness that had me feeling accepted and appreciated by all (though I do have manners and chose to leave provocative topics alone for the most part).
In my opinion, moving to Spur could be accomplished for as little as $25K - for a ~200sf tiny house and up to $50k if you're looking more at the 600sf range - and could be achieved in no time (lot purchased, house built, friends made). It's actually quite inspiring and amazing to me... There are very few places for rent in town at the moment (like to live with a room mate) and yes, it could be a culture shock if you're not used to small town living, but it grows on you real quick :)
As always, leave a comment if you have questions or are interested in taking steps to relocate here. We are excited to build this place, honor its heritage and set a standard for efficient sustainable living in the United States.