Not too long ago, unhappy with our rapidly deteriorating carpet my husband announced that he was thinking that maybe we should move to a larger home. His desire for a larger home also stemmed from the fact that we were running out of room to store his growing collection of action figures.
I’m not overly fond of the idea of moving into a bigger home. We have a four-bedroom home, and our family only consists of three members; we only use two of the bedrooms for sleeping. One bedroom serves as my home office, and one is a guest room.
A smaller home is often considered a lifestyle downgrade, and many people prefer to get the largest home possible. However, we chose this home (which is “only” 1760 square feet) because it fit our needs. And because it cost less than the monstrosities we were approved for.
Why I Like a Smaller Home
There are a number of reasons that I prefer the smaller home. The first reason is that, in raw numbers, it cost less to buy than a larger home. We were approved to borrow an amount that was more than twice what we ended up with as a mortgage. However, over time, we are saving hundreds of thousands of dollars, just by getting a home that doesn’t exceed our (fairly modest) wants.
Some of the reasons that I like living in a smaller home include:
- Lower utility costs
- Lower property tax costs
- Easier to keep up with the cleaning
- No expectations about a more expensive lifestyle we’re “supposed” to be living
On top of that, I find that the smaller house helps us limit what we buy in many cases (my husband’s collection excepted). If you just don’t have the room, it’s easier to say no to a purchase. That has been a real boon to me, since it has allowed us to avoid filling up the house with unimportant clutter.
Money to Do Other Things
Perhaps most importantly, though, is the fact that having a smaller house — and the small expenses that come with it — provides us with more disposable income. Instead of spending money on a high mortgage payment, or on other costs related to having a bigger house, we can spend the money on what’s really important to us.
Our low cost of living allows us to eat out more, and it also means that I can travel a little bit, and my husband can buy the collectibles he wants. We have a more comfortable lifestyle, and are able to do more of what we want, because we don’t have to worry about housing costs sucking up our income. Our housing costs amount to less than 1/5 of our monthly income, rather than accounting for a major portion of our expenses.
How We Got around the “Moving” Issue
Instead of moving to a larger home, my husband and I decided to pinpoint what was bothering him about the house. Lack of storage space, as well as the state of the flooring, were the two main complaints. We decided to address those issues.
In our room upstairs, we had a captain’s style bed, with drawers, built to store some of the clutter in the bedroom. We also had the carpet replaced upstairs, and the flooring on the main level (front room and kitchen) replaced with high quality wood laminate. We’re hoping to replace the carpet downstairs in the basement as well, but that will require a little more planning, since it involves moving a large fish tank and a piano.
Because we have nice, new flooring, we decided that we should go through and make sure that the rest of the house matches to some degree. We cleaned out closets and the storage space under the house. “Let’s get rid of everything without a purpose,” my husband said. The result is that there is a lot more room, and a lot less clutter. Now, with the new flooring and the lack of clutter, the house feels bigger. And we’re happier with it.
No more talk of moving to a bigger house.
The whole situation has been a learning experience for me. We spent a little bit to make our home more enjoyable for our situation, rather than “upgrading” to a new home. We knew, intellectually, that a bigger house was unnecessary, but now we know emotionally as well.
What do you think? Smaller home or bigger home?
Photo from Wikimedia Commons.