Being frugal is commendable. Anyone that knows me, knows that frugality runs deep in my veins. High school kids drive a more expensive car than I do. If I’m not in my employer issued vehicle, I’m moving around close to the pavement in our 2003 Saturn. If splurging for a glass of wine at a restaurant, I read the drink menu from right to left. I seize up in shopping malls. Buying things make me queazy, not happy.
But don’t send me a set of steak knives.
I’m no different than you. We sauna enthusiasts are interested in building our own saunas because we instinctively understand the value quotient. Our satisfaction in our investment is much greater than its cost. We plan to invest in something of great value, and this gives us satisfaction, not queasiness.
So let’s get real.
Just as we shouldn’t let the downside of a risk outweigh its opportunity, let’s not let the idea of saving money drive our project down to the bottom with a compromised sauna end product. If your goal is to settle onto your sauna bench and look around and tell your friend “I did all this for $800” well, then, you have your priorities out of wack. Your goal should be to settle onto your sauna bench with a Finlander, and make sure that when he or she leaves the hot room, they do so with a smile. Why?
Because there is a huge difference between an authentic sauna and a shitty sauna. And you will feel it in your bones.
If someone is looking to cut corners and thus build a sub standard sauna, then just save a bunch of time and effort and continue to go to a health club and say “this is good enough for me.”
There is plenty of opportunity to save money with your own authentic sauna build, but two areas where you should spend to the max are:
- your sauna stove
- material for your hot room walls and benches
Shopping for a sauna stove?
Don’t be drawn to low price and thin metal. If you can pick up the stove with one hand, it is a cheap stove. And the heat is going to be more toaster oven. Don’t believe me? Search “thermal mass” on this website.
$1,000 for a sauna stove has you freaked out?
Do the math: I have taken over 1,000 saunas IN EACH of my two saunas. It costs $1.00 in gas just to drive to the parking lot of a health club, let alone get in the door. What’s worth more to you?
Tongue and groove cedar is expensive.
I get it. As of this writing, $1.80 a lineal foot at the big box. But cedar is getting like concert tickets, the face value is high, but with a little standing around out front and Craigslist or Nextdoor shopping, we can get in the door cheap. Do that. Don’t get sap in your hair with crappy pine wood paneling. I don’t want to hear about this. Read these tips about saving money, instead.
There is an intangible satisfaction to building our own sauna. When we apply Will, Information, and Time, we minimize cost. Read about that here.
Is the thought of building a sauna building beyond your scope?
Hire a shed company. Worked up about their price? Don’t do it. Keep complaining that you can’t afford a sauna. Or take a week off work, get to it, and build it yourself.
It’s easy to sit behind a computer screen and type about wanting to have our own sauna. But there’s a time to stand up, close down the laptop, and get to it. If you really want a kick ass sauna, get a second job and start saving. Stop the health club membership today and put it in the piggy bank. Trade in your car for a 2003 Saturn.
But when it comes to your own sauna, let’s stop thinking about cutting corners. Stop fretting about the price of your own authentic sauna. As Nick says: “I know it will cost a pretty penny, but I am only going to build this thing once.”
What is money for if we can’t invest it in our own health and wellbeing?