Limit your largest fixed expense with a smaller home

I’m a fan of small housing. Small houses make me feel like I’m camping. They remind me of being a kid and when all I needed was my bedroom (that I shared with my sister) and something to draw with or read to have a blast. Proof: restrictions help creativity flourish. 

Small spaces come with lots of other benefits compared to large spaces. Small homes are easier to keep neat – so less time and money spent on cleaning. They use less resources – so lower utility bills. Overall, smaller spaces are cheaper to live in compared to living with more space than you need or truly want. I am not talking about living in spaces that are too small to meet your needs or living in a small space out of necessity — this only leads to frustration, especially if children are involved.

Sometimes we keep, buy, or believe in things to impress other people. Our choice of shelter is no exception.

In some circles, having a small house is a badge of honor and to some it may be a signal that you can’t afford a bigger space (i.e. you are poor). I suggest you forget all of that and do what’s comfortable for you and within your budget.

I’ve spent part of the last six years studying personal finance and interviewing people on the details of their financial situation. I’ve learned that you can never know someone’s financial status based only on what you see — because you can only base your ideas on what they choose to show. A quote I think of often: “Never compare someone’s outside with your inside” (not sure who to credit for that insight).

And if you’re still worried that others will think less of you if you live in a smaller space: it’s actually cool now.

More: My favorite book about small housing. A wooden jewel box of a home.

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2 comments

  1. Many people get caught up “keeping up with the Joneses” rather than focusing on their needs and limits.

    A big step is breaking the notion that accumulating more and more stuff is somehow a positive way to indicate social caste and status. And I mean that it is a BIG step for many as so many people are so sensitive to what others think of them.

    What should be important isn’t the size of your home or the amount of stuff you possess, but your civic engagement, involvement in your community, and taking action for social good.

    And of course small houses, like you said, means less expenses, less clutter, and more time for changing this world for the better 🙂

    1. Great comment, Steve (again). I wonder if this is a generational thing? I’ve heard that Generation Y (millennials) is the most minimal generation (other than Gen Z and I’m assuming you’re a millennial because of your post about student loans). We don’t like stuff because we can’t afford as much of it as previous generations because of this terrible economy and our bad luck of having graduated into it. Hah! I don’t know — it seems like there’s more stuff than ever available to buy and it’s getting less expensive everyday.

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