We all know that the cost of living is on the rise. In certain places, housing costs have skyrocketed! Today, more and more people are re-thinking their expectations, and seeing what size of homes they can truly afford.
Several decades ago, a large family living in a small house was simply the norm. People made it work. I have heard stories from elderly friends about the size of their family, versus the size of their house when they were growing up. One gentleman told me that his family lived in a 1,000 square foot home with 8 people in it. The kids shared beds, spent a lot of time outside, and were all very happy.
In suburban life, this is just not the case, generally. But it does make you stop and think for a moment. If families like his could be happy with less room, so can we.
The incredible thing about buying or renting a smaller home is that it is so much less expensive. Here are 6 benefits to living in a smaller house.
- Your heating/cooling bill is lower. A small, well-insulated house can save you hundreds of dollars per month on AC and heat. Especially if you live in a colder state, the heating bill can become exorbitant. Trying to keep a 3,000 square foot house warm is much more expensive than heating a 1,000 square foot home. Conversely, in a warmer state like ours, the summer cooling bill can get pretty steep. But in our small home, we can shave off a great portion of that expense each month.
- The financial risk is lower. Taking on a significant amount of debt is always a risk. You are planning on the fact that your finances and job situation will not change. But what if they do? Many families experience layoffs, job loss, foreclosures, and bankruptcy–more than we’d like to admit. The truth is, life continually changes, and so will your finances. If you create less risk for yourself by taking on a smaller amount of debt, you can have greater peace of mind. If something should happen to your family, a $600/month mortgage is more manageable than a $1,600/month mortgage. Which naturally leads into my next point…
- Your mortgage/rent is lower. This a no-brainer! It’s always a good idea to choose a low mortgage over a higher one. We get tempted by large houses with gorgeous countertops; but think about this. You’ll be paying for those countertops in the form of a huge monthly bill, for years! (Or maybe it’s a workout room, extra office, fireplace…whatever exciting detail catches your eye.) Saying yes to a lower monthly bill is, almost without exception, the better choice.
- Less house to clean. I’m not going to lie–this is a BIG benefit in my opinion! I don’t want to spend great amounts of time cleaning my home. Think of all the things you could use that time for: playing with your kids, going to see a movie, having a romantic date with your spouse, having friends over for dinner or a game night, or just resting. A smaller space means less housework for you.
- It’s easier to sell. If at some point you need to relocate, selling a smaller, more affordable house is much easier than selling a large house. The market is just naturally wider, because more people can afford to buy your home. There will likely be less fear for you, and less time spent in limbo waiting for an offer.
- Maybe best of all…it brings your family closer together. In a larger house, everyone can sprawl out. Teenagers can spend the evening in their rooms on social media; dad can watch the game downstairs; mom can chat with a friend upstairs, or work on a new recipe. While there’s nothing wrong with needing some alone time, eventually that solitude can become isolation. Parents can start to feel that they have no idea what’s going on in their kids’ lives. Kids may start to feel disconnected from the family. In a smaller home, isolation is all but impossible! In our home, we have one TV in the living room, and that is where everyone congregates. If my son and husband want to chase each other around and play, they run through the bedroom, the living room, and the kitchen, and I can hear and see everything they’re doing. I love the closeness of a little house. We’ve made so many wonderful memories in these small rooms, and we are almost always together. When someone does need some space, they can hang out in their room. But most of the time, we just prefer to be together. Those shared experience are more better than gold.
There are definitely some benefits to a larger home. And sometimes, your family grows, and you just can’t fit any more than two kids to a room. You have to upgrade to something bigger. But if you can make it work in a smaller house, the benefits are wonderful.
What has been your experience with living in a small house, or otherwise? Are you thinking about downsizing? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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