New Years Resolution One: Downsizing Our Home

This year I am declaring three New Year’s Resolutions in three categories:  finances, personal and blog-related.  These resolutions are really just big goals, but since the idea of declaring New Year’s resolutions this time of year is popular I’ll play along.

Our 2009 New Year’s resolution for finances is quite simple, but will take some effort to pull off.  We want to downsize our house.  Yes, in the age of bigger is better we want to reverse course.  Our current home is not overly extravagant, but it does require a little more of our paycheck than we would like to dedicate to living quarters.  While the small house movement (via Lazy Man and Money) does appeal to me, I don’t think I could convince the wife and kids to go to such extremes, so we’ll stick with a modest-sized home significantly cheaper than the one we are in now.

Benefits of Downsizing House

The first benefit is the most obvious–a lower monthly mortgage payment!  We have thought long and hard about staying put and continuing to pay for our current home versus making the move to downsize.  The number one motivation behind moving is to reduce our mortgage and free up that money for additional financial goals.  As it is, too much of our income goes towards making the mortgage payment, and not enough goes towards financing other dreams.  We aren’t quite “house poor,” but housing eats up too much of our budget.

A smaller home means lower utilities.  Our summers are brutally hot, and seem to last for five months out of the year (May-September).  Cooling a large home breaks our utilities budget every single month during the summer.  Our current house lacks a wood-burning fireplace, something we would like to utilize in the milder winters to heat the home without running a heat pump.

Moving to a small home will force us to simplify our lives.  This one seems a bit strange, but we would like to move into a smaller home and reduce a lot of the clutter we have now.  Of course, we could simply reduce the clutter in the home we are in now, but without space concerns there isn’t a strong motivation to do so.  I like the idea of giving away a large percentage of unused things, moving to a smaller home with a fresh start, and living a more modest, simple existence.

A lower mortgage puts us closer to financial independence.  In my favorite personal finance book Your Money or Your Life, the authors suggest minimizing your monthly expenses so that you can afford to do something you really love without worrying about the salary.  So many of us have become slaves to stuff, particularly our homes, that we continue to drag ourselves to an unfulfilling job simply to make a mortgage payment.  I don’t want to be that guy in another ten or fifteen years.

We plan to payoff our mortgage in about ten years and enjoy living completely debt free from that point forward.  Think about it; with no house payment or other debts, and practicing frugal living, it wouldn’ t take much income to meet our basic needs.  Free from the burden of earning a high salary to pay for stuff we would be able to turn our attention to causes that matter more than pushing paper.

In the coming weeks I’ll be sharing more about our journey to downsize homes.  First, we need to do a couple small things around our current home to improve its selling condition, and I’ll need to contact our real estate agent for some advice on pulling off a sell/buy in this market.  I wonder what her reaction will be when I tell her we want to move back into a “starter home?”  A few years ago this probably seemed strange, but I bet we aren’t the only ones considering such a move in these times.

Comments

  1. Good luck with these excellent goals. Downsizing your house is a fantastic idea. My job requires that I move every two to three years – usually to a different country. Typically I have lived in a high rise apartment or town house and have been very grateful to not have a giant basement to fill up. The regular moves also provide opportunities to sort through everything and get rid of what we don’t need.

  2. We have been debating downsizing our home for a few years now. I am on the side of downsizing (says the one who has to clean the big house), but my husband likes a larger home. He is one of 8 children and personal space is an issue for him. There is lots to consider: keeping the kids in the same school, ease of commuting.

    Good for you!

  3. Sounds like a good call, FD. I’ve downsized twice over the last few years, and am looking to once more sometime this next year. I hardly own any stuff any more, and every thing I give away means I’m that much closer to being completely unattached.

    What size home are you downsizing from / to?

  4. I know I’ll take some flak for saying this (especially from some of these knee-jerk commenters), but why not just upsize the job rather than downsizing the home? Having followed your blog for most of the year you’ve been doing this, I do know that you are not in a job that pays you properly for your skill set. Have you tried looking for a better position somewhere, or are you extremely happy (read: comfortable) with the job you are in?

    On another note, just because another house is smaller doesn’t mean you will use less utilities. Insulation and proper construction have more to do with it than just living space. Modern A/C units are quite efficient and if you were to move into an older one, your bills could actually go up. Besides, unless you’re talking about cutting 500 feet or more from the living space, we’re talking differences of only 5-10 bucks a month or less. You will also still use the same amount of water, sewage, etc.

  5. @DavidK: No reason to duck (at least not from me!). I have thought about the plan you described, but I’m fairly well locked into my current salaried job (and salary) and would have to relocate to make a considerable amount more. True, I have a number of side hustles working, but I like to bank as much of that as possible.

    The houses we are shopping are more than 500 square feet smaller, and I agree with you on insulation, A/C unit efficiency, etc. Our current house has no shade, but good insulation. Still, the A/C really struggles in the summer. Looking for something smaller with more natural shading to hide from that summer sun.

    Utilities may not drop much–just icing on the smaller mortgage cake if it works out that way.

  6. I too had the idea to downsize, 10 years ago, before it was really fashionable (i.e. buy as much home as you can). It was the best idea I ever had. You are definitely on the right track FD. I’m ready to downsize again, but this probably won’t happen for about 3 more years. In the meantime, I keep reducing my “stuff”, getting ready for that day. Good luck with the move.

  7. I’m at 900sf, the avg. in my area is about 2000, unless I build new I’m about as small as I can get, I do have two bedrooms that we don’t use much, but can’t just shut them off, hot air furnuce kicks out with not enough air flow, still only 200 gallons of oil, $0.17/KWH makes portable space heaters too costly to run, have blueboard over most of the windows, $500 mortgage can’t find anything less, next step may be a yurt
    Dave

  8. @FrugalDad, thanks for the response! Believe me, it’s not your replies that worry me.

    If you are moving down more than 500ft, then yes, you must be in a larger house than what you really need. Though with two kids (and I can’t remember if you’ve said that you and your wife wanted a third) you will definitely want to make sure that there are at least 3 bedrooms which usually means 1150-1300sqft minimum. Much less than that and you won’t be able to walk into the bedrooms after a bed and dresser are in there.

    The house thing isn’t one of those last “I’m working hard and want to look like we’re doing well” purchases that you’re trying to get rid of are you? Like the Chevy pickup truck you had?

  9. I totally agree about downsizing. I researched a little bit and found out that the average house size in America in 1950 was 983 square feet! Today it is well over 2,000 square feet.

    What happened?

    Are we having more children? I don’t thinks so.

    Are we fatter? Well, maybe.

    Are we spoiled rotten and greedy? Ding ding ding!!

    We live in a 2 BR apt and would love to own a house. All I want it a small cottage and I’ll be happy. Be content with less!
    :) Interesting post!

  10. Nice topic. Just curious if you have a family? I know that space is nice when you have a family even if it means paying a slightly larger mortgage? I’m a big advocate of living below your means, but I do appreciate a home that has just a little bit more space than I need.

    Here’s an article I wrote for first time home buyers that I think applies to all types of buyers, as well:

    http://www.scordo.com/blog/2008/11/buying-the-house-that-is-right.html

    Best,
    Vince

  11. So many empty nesters have done what you are contemplating now. I live in Central California, and it may or may not surprise you to know that no one in my City even has air conditioning! Why? We don’t need it. (you would in So. Calif. though). And, we don’t need heat here either, which is also saying a lot. My neighbor has gone for 2 years now without fixing their heater. I rarely use mine.

  12. @Scordo: We’re a family of four (five if you include a huge dog), so it will be crowded, but we all get along!

    @DavidK: We definitely need the 3BR/2BA arrangement, and the square footage you mentioned is within our range (actually, we are looking a tad above the high side of that). The house we are in now was one of those “let’s live closer to family even if we can’t afford to” purchases that has stretched us a bit. To be completely honest, we could afford to continue making the payments–this is more of a voluntary downsizing to increase our disposable income for other goals.

  13. @Mrs. Hyde, sorry but using national averages between decades let alone a half-century doesn’t really demonstrate anything. Sure, on average homes were a lot smaller back then but then no one had air conditioning or central heating back then either. Television had just become feasible for the home and wood and steel (for nails) were still in somewhat elevated prices due to WW2 just having ended 4.5 years prior and with the building boom taking place elsewhere. Looking back to 1970 shows that the average home was 1400 sqft. Does that mean they were spoiled then? If so, when did it start? At what point can we say that the average home became too large? Also try to remember that there are a LOT more rich people now than then who have built what amount to small villages on their property and will throw off that average.
    Also, building supplies have become much less expensive over time and so people’s desires have shifted accordingly. It is the same with stores and the availability of inexpensive merchandise. We can pop down to the store and get whatever we want at very good prices. That was definitely not the norm in 1950. They were lucky to stock more than 5,000 different items in the same store at one time. Today, it is more like 50,000. And try getting fresh fruit/vegs year round in 1950 without growing it yourself.
    Please don’t mistake convenience and cost decrease through technological and manufacturing advancements as greed. Down that path lies the Dark Ages.

  14. I downsized apartments a few years ago and it really has stopped me from collecting “stuff.” It drives my mom and aunt crazy who want me to buy this that and the other, but I just don’t have the room for it. It really does work.

    I just recently found this blog and I look forward to reading it in 2009.

  15. One thing to keep in mind when you’re looking is that it’s as much about layout as actual square footage.

    When we bought our house, we were living in an 1100 sq. foot condo. We looked at houses that were 900 sq. feet and felt adequate, and at 1300 sq. foot houses that felt claustrophobic.

    We ended up with a 3BR/1BA house built in the 1950s. It’s about 1600 sq feet, plus a basement that is half-finished. We also have a decent amount of land relative to where we are, so we can build out, should we have the desire or the dough.

    It’s probably the smallest house on the block, but the footprint works for us. In terms of space, I like having a downstairs for storage an a playroom, and I like having a sunroom off the living room, so we don’t have to put the TV in the LR.

    What I don’t like is having only one bath for four people, and I wish I had a dedicated home office, instead of the workbench next to the oil tank in the basement.

    Good luck with whatever you decide!

  16. We downsized from a 3400 sq ft house to a 340 sq ft RV. Initially, it was just going to be for a year (and I was totally against it, and in fact asked, “Why can’t you be like a normal husband in a midlife crisis and have an affair or buy a Corvette?”). But, upon our return, I was the one who suggested we sell our house so we can full time in our rig. And, that’s what we’re in the process of doing. I actually like having less stuff,but most of all, I like supporting each other and not a lifestyle. Sure, if we won the lottery, we’d keep our gorgeous home, but having gotten a taste of the freedowm downsizing affords, I no longer want to work to pay a large mortage.

  17. Oh man, living in Louisiana I completely forget that many many people have the advantage of a basement. I’ve seen a lot of nice ones on HGTV homes and would love the extra space and privacy that affords. In some cases, one can turn a single-level home into almost a two-story home with a nice finished basement.

    I think FrugalDad also lives somewhere where there are no basements in the homes.

    I had the same issue as Froogirl when we were looking for our current home. There was a house of 1600 sqft but had 4br/2bt. In two of the bedrooms I could walk in and touch two of the opposing walls with my outstretched arms. It was just enough space for a twin-sized bed and a person to stand up. No thank you. The layout definitely has a lot to do with how the home works for you. Our current home is a nice open layout and seems far larger than its 1500 sqft living area suggests.

  18. As as renter, I’ve been downsizing as well.
    Sold my condo 4 yrs ago, and now I share a 2-bedroom apartment.
    I’ve gone from owning a leaky-condo mess to a compacy bedroom centrally located downtown.
    Maybe next, I’ll just rent a room in a house …

  19. Well, I think I have you all beat! We are five living in a house of about 700 sq feet. It’s tight, but worth it for the low rent and utility payments, and for being able to live in a nice area. While I know that the next place we live will be bigger, it certainly won’t be a McMansion.

    I think this is a good move on your part, FD.

  20. I bought a 560 sq ft old mill housing home built in 1942. Then I added on and now have 1010 sq ft. plus a walk thru attic space for storage. It’s a 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath… the 1/2 bath was a luxury but I wanted it for me :) The other luxury was turning a 6 x6.5 closet area into a scrapbook/sewing room – tight but really useful for what I do. One piece of advice would be to make each room multi-functional – that sure helped me out a lot! Read some of those “The Big Little House” books for ideas!

    My thoughts are that everything has to fit into this home or it is going…. and as I am still doing some of the reconstruction myself, I don’t know if everything will ‘fit’ or not… but am steadily getting rid of things, and feel so much the better for it! Decluttering is so freeing!

    And paying cash for the house, and for the remodel (which is why it is taking so long) is freedom also! No mortgage! :) You’ll like it!

  21. About that fireplace – it will suck the heat right out of the house. You might want to put a fireplace insert into it, or just put in a woodstove instead!

  22. @marci, Yep the chimney can let some of the heat out of your home, but one can also close the flue if they are not in use. Besides, down here in the South (I’m in Louisiana and FrugalDad is somewhere in Texas) it’s currently 70 degrees, so worrying about heat getting out of the chimney is pretty low on the list. We don’t get many really really cold days down here. A fireplace is just a small luxury we get to enjoy a few times per year. I would guess that the fire pit FD got a while back hasn’t seen much use lately either.

    • @DavidK: We’ve used it exactly twice! LOL! The week after I bought the thing the highs went into the 70′s. Unbelievable. I actually like cold weather, and particularly enjoy the cold when it is supposed to be cold (Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.). If I wanted 70′s in January I’d move to Miami. Maybe we’ll get another frigid night in the 50′s here soon so we can fire up the fire pit.

  23. @DavidK – it’s the heat that sucks out of the house while one is using the fireplace that I was talking about :) They are so deceptive! Warm in front of the fire, but heat is just getting pulled out of the house and goes up the chimney. The fireplace inserts with a heatalator are just so much more efficient, and with a glass fronted door, they look almost as romantic as the open fireplace :) Plus, one can cook on the insert or woodstove easier (in my opinion) when the electric is out :) A bonus here, for sure!

    I’m originally from SW Florida, but been out here in NW coastal Oregon now for over 30 years. Have to say my woodstove is the nicest thing I ever bought myself – and this past year, there was not one month when it didn’t get used for heat! Last summer was about the coldest on record here!

  24. @FrugalDad, tell me about it. I’ve got a pile of wood next to the fence in the backyard that I put together over the summertime (broken branches found elsewhere plus some misc. stuff) and I’ve used only about 1/4 of it. Gotta love this wintertime weather. I’m not too big on weather unless it gets to 97-100 in the summer — bleh. As I always say, it is easier to warm up than to cool off.

    @marci, ah, the convection effect that a fireplace causes. Yea, the outer rooms get cooler, but the room with the fire gets pretty toasty. I speak from experience here as I have a fireplace in the living room. A wood-burning stove will cause the same issue. Unfortunately, all heat-generating devices that require exhaust to the outside of the home cause the convection effect (including gas fireplaces). It is just a matter of to what degree it occurs. In order to feed oxygen to the fire, air must be pulled from somewhere. This air comes from inside the room itself while the exhaust fumes vent out of the chimney.

  25. Do it! Do it! I mean, if it’s possible to sell your current house at all, which might be a bit tricky depending on your location and what else is up for sale.

    Trust me, if you accomplish this house-downsizing, you will never look back except to say: “Why didn’t I do this earlier?”

    Three years ago I downsized from a big Yuppie condo to a small 3-room house in a sensible brick neighborhood. The house is about 1650 square feet (the condo was about 2500 sqft plus covered balconies).

    My property taxes stayed after the move because that year the city decided to pump up everyone’s property tax. If I’d stayed in the condo my tax bill would have gone up by about 60% the following year. Also…

    - My heating and cooling bills were cut in half
    - Mortgage payments were reduced by about 22% right away, and cut by a further 40% after I refinanced to get a better interest rate. I now pay less than half of what I did for my Yuppie mortgage.
    - My owner’s association dues went away
    - I was able to open side businesses in my home, which was not permitted by the uptight condo owner’s association. This created better inbound cash flow. Since I’m close to the area that has the most prospective customers, and the best customers, I make more in my current location than I would have done in my old one.
    - I was able to rent out my two extra rooms (and the income almost covers the entire mortgage!)
    - Since the house has a back yard, I have a garden and chickens (which happen to be OK as per the city ordinance) which means my food bill is cut in half.

    Also, the non-tangible benefits:
    - I don’t share a wall or a floor with anybody
    - The neighbors are not uptight (well, to be fair, when I bought the condo I was going through a Yuppie phase and was pretty uptight myself, so I thought uptight neighbors were a good idea… and when I recovered I was no longer a good fit)
    - My commute to the day job is about the same, so fuel bills remained, and
    - I could now afford to get the education I needed to accomplish a mid-life career change. While I still have the Day Job because I’m saving a huge wad of cash, I’m on track to fully complete my transition in January 2010. Yeah baby!!!

  26. @DavidK – My new woodstove is a quadrafire and is air tight within the room. The air is drawn from under the floor and subfloor – ie, the crawl space of the house, (no basement) which has been the most remarkable part of the new stove… no air/heat loss from the room :) (except when I open the door every 4 hrs or so to feed the fire) That’s why I am so sold on my new stove!

    I had that convection problem with the old stoves – the kind with the adjustable air inlets in the doors, etc… yes, they drew heat out of the room also, but not this new one :) It’s just great!

    I go thru about 2.5 cords of wood in a normal year. My son, who has a huge old house with two woodstoves and a fireplace insert, goes thru about 11 cords a year. Both of us use wood for primary heat.

  27. One of the biggest challenges when downsizing, is determining the fate of your personal belongings

    The book… WHEN IT’S MORE THAN JUST STUFF, How to Downsize Your Personal Belongings and Manage a Later Life Move… is a step-by-step guide that spells out what, when, and how to deal with ones excess belongings. It also covers the emotional challenges and offers hundreds of ideas, such as how to deal with family or how to write off your donations with the IRS.
    If interested go to www. seniortransitionsnw.com and learn more about or check it out from your public library. Best of luck to you!

  28. Wow! Reading your site for the first time tonight is perfect timing! My husband and I are looking at a 2200 sqft townhouse with no yard. We currently live in a home over 6000 sqft and acre lot. We both work way over 40 hour work weeks plus juggle kid events, etc. We’re looking to donate several rooms of furniture and only the kids are upset since they’ll no longer have a playroom or basement. However, NO ONE ever enjoys the yard except the lawn guy – and he’ll miss that mortgage payment we GIVE HIM! The townhouse is new construction with energy efficient everything. Nieces and nephews will get some of the “family” furniture and are thrilled but our families think we’re crazy since we’ve attained the “American Dream”. However, my husband and I are very excited and KNOW downsizing and becoming more minimalist is the direction that is good for us and our family, much due to the reasons you mentioned. Thank you for your site – we will be reading and tracking your progress as we move forward. Happy New Year!

  29. Awesome idea, FD. My husband and I are big fans of the idea. We’re renting right now (we’ve been married two years, but live in a VERY expensive area), and while we don’t own, we downsized to from a large townhouse to a small apartment. It’s taken several months to get rid of all the extra junk, but we finally feel like we “fit” in this space. It constantly causes me to rethink impulse buy because of space and “does this really work where we are?” It honestly feels more like a home than anything we’ve ever had. We’re saving up for a home, and that won’t be huge. 1400 sq feet for a growing family sounds about right.

  30. Sounds like an awesome idea. We live in a small home.. and love it. Sure it needs tons of work – but it’s ours (okay.. it’s mostly the banks)

    My step son just moved out – so we are now a family of 4 (used to be 5) We had a 3 bedroom (when step son moved in we turned the family room into an extra bedroom) We have no basement or attic = no storage! ~1800 sq feet on almost a wooded acre outside of Green Bay, WI – paid $126… stupid home equity up to $142.. now owe $140 – too scared to find out what it’s worth!

    Good Luck on the updates on your current home. Sounds like lots of good blog posts coming up!

  31. Really interesting take especially considering that most people these days are so focused about keeping up with the Jones’ that they lose track of what is truly important in life.

  32. Would you believe that I’m going upsizing to a bigger home to save money? Yes, I’m moving from a 800 SqFt 2 bed room apartment to a 1650 Sqft 3 bed room apartment and still will save money !!. I live in Chennai, India and my current apartment is in the centre of the city – highly congested and polluted. My 2 kids go to a school where I pay $500 just as school fees per month. I take 45 minutes to reach my work place which is just 5 miles from my house due to heavy traffic (forget about walking – there are no pavements). My kids have to travel 1.5 hrs one way just to reach their school.

    I’m moving to a bigger apartment in the suburbs – quieter, cleaner and more peaceful. Also, the school is within the apartment community and will be paying only $100 as school fees. My kids can walk to the school and it is only a 20 minutes drive from my work place. Moreover, the bigger apartment actually costs less than my current 2 bed apartment. So all in all, a big win for me though I will be upsizing !!

    - Prasanth

  33. Nearly one year ago, after my two older daughters moved out, my son and I downsized from a five bedroom, three story house (built in the 1920′s with 12 foot ceilings and an ancient oil boiler for heat) to a smaller two story, three bedroom newer model home with smaller rooms and a more efficient oil heater. I cannot tell you how much of a relief it has been just this winter in not worrying about how much money I’m wasting inefficiently heating a huge house, or how much money I’ve SAVED in keeping our home at a comfortable temperature. Plus, downsizing meant we had to take a hard look at what we owned and get rid of stuff we didn’t use or (I cannot believe I’d admitting this!) didn’t even want! (Why own something in the first place that you don’t want?!?!?) Although 10 months later after moving in, I’m still sorting and purging “stuff”, I am taking a hard look at what I have and how much I “love” or “don’t love” it. My plan is to downsize even more once my son leaves for college in three years.

  34. This is one of our goals for the year, too. I will be interested in hearing how you will approach this–selling your current home in today’s real estate market. We have a house payment that is well under 1/4 of our take home pay, but we actually want our house payment to be 1/4 of my husband’s take home pay.

  35. We (two adults and a dog) starting living in a 34′ RV on a full time basis a couple of months ago. It is about 289 sqft. It is much smarter optimized in terms of storage space than a standard house. For instance, things can be stored in the furniture, under the fridge, etc. Still, we have to take care of not bringing stuff into the “house” unless we also bring stuff out. Given the amount of stuff and furniture we need almost everything we have. Hence very little sits unused. This is very good and highly efficient economically speaking. If 250 sqft homes were easy to find with no wheels, I would go for it.

  36. Interesting discussion.

    When I was single I had a 2 bedroom house – 750 sq feet plus an unfinished basement. It wasn’t a big house but for one person it was quite large!

    Now we have a 1300 sq foot house and there are 4 of us. As the young’uns grow up the space will be stretched a bit but I think it will be ok.

    Mike

  37. We have a small house and it’s awesome, our mortgage is very manageable and it’s easy to heat and cool. The garden is small so it doesn’t take much looking after. We actually have no lawn, so no need to mow it. We also don’t have much clutter, it really does encourage you to chuck out stuff. We also only have a carport, rather than a garage so we aren’t tempted to put clutter in the garage.

    The bigger the house not only sucks up money, but it also sucks up your time looking after it and the junk stored inside.

  38. If you think about it, empty nesters downsize with regularity for good reasons, most unrelated to money. If you do not need the room for children, why not downsize now?

  39. Might sound silly but I’m starting my New Years with Vision Board into a Movie. I also stole this affirmation for my New Years Affirmation Resolution. “I have 1 million happy customers in 2009″ :) I might end up going to foreclosure on my property in CT, I believe I should have read your article some time ago and I would have been better off :) Happy New Years!

  40. I think downsizing will soon be the new cool thing to do. It just makes so much sense all around — better for our budget, our planet, and our free time.

    About 5 years ago, we sold our home (2500 square feet on 7 acres), downsized and rented. Then our net worth grew exponentially, for all the reasons you mentioned in your post — plus we eliminated maintenance and repair costs, we no longer needed a housecleaner, and were able to put our equity to work. Today, our family of 3 (plus a dog) live VERY comfortably in a 1400 sq. ft. condo.

    This summer, our plan is to experiment with downsizing even further — to just 238 sq. ft on wheels as we travel the country in an Airstream trailer! Footloose and fancy-free… ahhhh.

  41. I think this is a great idea. My wife and I live in a small condo and we don’t use much of our income to pay our mortgage. We could certainly “afford” more house, but we don’t need it at this time. I prefer smaller, more efficient things – cars, houses, etc.

    I think a lot of people get caught up in the “idea” of what they think they need and go overboard because that is either what they know or what they think is expected of them (e.g. huge home with extra bedrooms, play room, den, etc in addition to a couple SUVs).

  42. My husband and I decided to ‘re’ down size back to our 50 year old 1100 square foot home that we were renting out. We had bought a larger, newer, home. It too, became less attractive as we struggled to make the payments, and realized we weren’t enjoying the house, because we were no longer enjoying our home. The note on the old is one third the note on the new. In what would cost us two notes on the new, we have spent in materials in updating the old. The entire process has brought us closer together, and made us a lot happier as a couple. Yes, ‘stuff’ is not as important as it used to be. I have thrown away, and given away alot of stuff in the last few months. I wish I had every penny that I paid for a lot of it now.

  43. I firmly agree with downsizing, I moved from a 1400 sq ft home in a nice area of town to the country with a 1900 sq ft home on 7 acres which I mow every bit of it. It is quite a chore for a single person. I work full time and my drive to work is not that bad. I am thinking about moving back into my home in town, which I now rent, my home in town is mortgage free. I have live out in the country for 3 years now. My head was very clouded when I bought this home. I have neighbors but they are quite a ways away. I love the peacefulness but don’t like all the work.
    Anyone think I’m crazy?

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