Every now and then I run across an example of someone living an ultra-frugal lifestyle and it really appeals to me. This was the case when I saw a video at Living Off the Grid about people who build, and live in, tiny house.
Now, our idea of a tiny house might be two bedrooms instead of three, or anything less than 1,200 square feet. Most in and around real estate would agree. However, I’m referring to extremely tiny houses – in the neighborhood of 100 square feet. We are talking just enough room for small couch, kitchen and loft with a bed. Upscale versions feature indoor plumbing.
The benefits of living in such a tiny house are captured in the interview with Peter King, a tiny house builder in Vermont. Imagine being able to construct one of these tiny homes in a couple weeks, pay cash for it (no mortgage), and live off the grid thanks to a solar panel. Sounds like my kind of place!
Now back to reality. There is obviously no way my family of four (five if you include a dog that weighs as much as some people) could occupy such a tiny house. However, there are some valuable lessons here for those of us who are not single.
My wife and I have kicked around the idea of downsizing our home. We decided to stay put for now, but examples like this always get my downsizing juices flowing again. I start dreaming of a cheaper mortgage payment, lower utilities, lower taxes, and less stuff. Even thought we can’t move into a 100 square foot home, that doesn’t mean we couldn’t look at downsizing to a smaller home than the one we are in now. And we could enjoy many of the same benefits, though admittedly to a lesser degree than those who live in tiny houses.
Benefits of Buying a Smaller Home
- Lower monthly mortgage payment
- Lower taxes
- Easier to pay off mortgage completely in a shorter time
- Less space to fill with furniture
- Smaller lot (maybe) to maintain
- Significantly lower utilities
So what’s holding us back? Well, there’s the idea of moving, which sucks the energy right out of my body. To add to it, there’s the realization that we would need to do a little work to our house to get it ready to go on the market.
At the moment, I don’t feel like doing either one – moving or fixing up! And, to be perfectly honest, we’ve sort of grown into our current space, and would need to get rid of a ton of stuff from all rooms before we could even consider moving into less space. Still, it is something we will continue to consider, particularly if the right house with the right deal comes along. In the mean time, I’ll live vicariously through people like Peter King and other ultra-frugal friends.