As a full-time mom (I won't say stay-at-home mom because I'm all over the place) in a one (modest) income family I have gotten pretty good at pinching those pennies. Long past just couponing, I don't think I have paid full price for much of anything in the past 5 years I've been home. When I first brought up the subject of having chickens I dragged my husband to Southern States to show him basic coop features we'd need for our supposed 2-3 birds. Just buying a coop outright was over our super-tight budget. So was buying lumber. To good ol' craigslist I went. I placed a wanted ad for any useable lengths of lumber, plywood, and roofing materials. A nice man gave me full pick of his perfectly good leftover fencing, 2x4s, and 4x4s in his "burn pile" which had been piled up on a tractor trailer bed. Then I had hubby help me drag home a 30-year old doghouse my dad had built. Not all of it was salvageable, but we were able to save about 50% of it, mainly the roof which was still rock solid, thanks to my dad's construction skills. I drove past a construction site and found several sections of foam insulation and plywood in the dumpster. My husband would occasionally bring home materials he might have scrounged up on his way to and from work. All told, I think we only bought the hardware for the coop - about $20 worth. It isn't one of those cute little barns or Cape Cods. It's a snug 4'x4' house 2.5' off the ground with two nest boxes, roosting bars, ventilation, two cleaning access doors, two windows, and front porch. Hubby got a little crazy piecing the last bits of plywood together and had some scraps leftover. He used them to make a chicken figurehead for over the front door. The whole coop resembles a chicken. The roof is the wings and you lift the tail to access the boxes. It's funny. Recently hubby brought home white wood siding he found to cloak the plain plywood walls. Little by little it's improving. Once it's done I'll post pictures. My main point is you don't have to break the bank to have chickens. They're chickens. They don't care how fancy the coop looks. They're just going to poop all over it anyway. Since starting chickens I have bought, well, the chickens (2-3? Nope. 6), 3 bags of crumbles, hinges and hardware, and 2 bales of pine shavings. Luck and this disposable society we live in have been on my side as far as everything else goes. I found two bales of hay in the median of the highway a couple weeks ago and three more today being thrown out since Halloween decorations are being disposed of. A little while later I came across a 2'x3' Snoopy-style plywood doghouse with fleece flooring. Um, thanks! Bonus chicken house! Keep your eyes open and use your imagination and you too can have chickens on the cheep!