- The cost of supplies for her dream home: $130,000
- She and her children built their 3,500-square-foot home in nine months
(CNN)With two bad marriages behind her and debt that came with them, Cara Brookins needed a place to stay for her and her four kids.
But Brookins, who writes young adult novels for a living, didn't have the money to hire builders. So she built one by herself -- using YouTube tutorials.
"Things can get a little expensive when you are escaping an abusive relationship and have four children," Brookins explained.
Brookins' initial intention was to buy a home. But she found they were either too expensive or just too small. Then she realized that YouTube is a great tool for how-to's.
So after careful research, Brookins brought an acre of land in Bryant, Arkansas, a suburb of Little Rock, and began building.
She started in 2008, watching videos in the evening, making a list of the tools she'd need. She tallied the cost of supplies for her dream home: $130,000.
So she sold a small property she owned.
Her children, Hope, Drew and Jada and Roman -- ages 17 to 2 at the time -- helped along the way.
"My oldest son, Drew, helped me draw the blueprint to get approved by the city," Brookins said.