Paycheck Chronicles

Tiny House Thinking, Big House Life

Do you love those tiny house television shows?  I do!  The idea of simplifying and downsizing is appealing to a lot of people.  However, for most of us, moving into a tiny house just isn't realistic.  Good news! You can still enjoy some of the benefits of the tiny house movement if you approach your big house life in a small house way.  Whether it is serious decluttering, thoughtful design, or minimizing ongoing expenses, each of these ideas has value outside of its application to the tiny house movement.  And each of these ideas has value when applied to our financial lives.

Serious Decluttering

About a million years ago, I wrote a post called How Clutter Costs You Money.  There are many benefits to decluttering, and quite a few of them involve saving money.  In addition to the obvious less stuff costs less money relationship, there are second and third order effects to having a minimalist living situation.  Plus, the act of paring down encourages you to think more thoughtfully before making new purchases.

Thoughtful Design

When you're working with a small space, you have to make tough decisions about what is important to you.  Being equally thoughtful about your larger space will have myriad benefits.  A kitchen that is stocked with the right tools makes cooking at home enjoyable.  A comfy chair and a soft blanket make staying home more appealing than going out.  Being surrounded by things you love just makes you happy, and content people spend less than unhappy people.  Focusing on the things that have value means that you'll have more money for the stuff that actually matters to you.

Minimizing Ongoing Expenses

When tiny house owners are interviewed in TV shows, they often talk about cutting costs so they can focus on things that they value more than a big house.  While you may not be able to slash your housing expenses as drastically as someone living in 200 square feet, you can take steps to reduce your monthly bills.  This might include choosing a smaller home, or a less desirable neighborhood, eliminating extra services such as cable TV or yard service, or reducing your commuting costs.

Tiny houses aren't a serious option for many of us — there's no way I'm moving into a shed-sized space with four teens — but you can use the ideas to improve your life, no matter how big your actual house.  Think about what appeals to you about those shows, and then figure out how you can incorporate those facets into your world.  The result will be more pleasure with less money.  That's always a good thing!

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