I first heard about tiny living when I watched the documentary I’m Fine, Thanks (which I highly recommend). One of the interviewees was Tammy Strobel, who lives with her husband in 128 square foot tiny house. That’s right…128 square feet. Saying that this is humble living would be the understatement of the year. Take a look at this video of Tammy giving a tour of the house:
Reasons for Tiny Living
I was just as surprised as most. I’d never heard of anyone living in a space this small. I must say, though, that I am intrigued. This is the ultimate act of frugality. Normal thought says that bigger is typically better. But bigger also means more expensive, more responsibility, more work. Tammy and her husband, Logan, turned that view upside down. They purchased a house that was small, efficient, and most importantly, fits the lifestyle THEY want to live. How does living in a tiny living make sense, you may ask? Here is my view:
1) Cost – Their entire house had a total cost of $33,000. Compare that to a house costing $250,000. If you earn $50,000 a year after taxes, the tiny house will take 8 months of salary to pay off, compared to 60 months of salary for the normal house. The ability to pay with cash for the house becomes easily reachable. Not to mention the low cost of utilities and the possibility of not having to pay real estate taxes (since it’s on wheels).
2) Career – How many people stay in jobs they don’t like for the simple sake of paying their mortgage? Because tiny living is so cheap, there is no such thing as staying in a horrible job for the sake of keeping up with the mortgage payment. Saving thousands of dollars on housing is the ultimate way to allow yourself to leave the mind-numbing job and pursue a fulfilling career.
3) Lifestyle – Do you spend most of your time outside of your house? If so, it’s a question of how much space you really need and actually use. Living in a smaller space is a great idea to save money if you prefer to spend time in parks, coffee shops, the library, or outside.
4) Ability to move – A large risk of buying a house is the possibility of future relocation. Want to move to a new city? Selling a house is typically not easy, and becoming a landlord by necessity is not ideal. You might be stuck there for a while. Tammy and Logan are able to hitch their house to a Ford pickup truck and haul it, like they did in September from Oregon to California.
Tiny Living – Huge Extreme?
Obviously tiny living is an extreme way of living. Not many people would be happy downsizing to this extent. But I think we can all learn from this. How much space do we really need? And most importantly, what are we giving up to be able to afford this space? It may be working a passion-less job. Or it may be giving up time spent with family to put in the hours at work. Either way, it’s worthwhile to think about your style of living to ensure it matches up with your personal values.
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