When we move into the tiny house, we’ll need to adjust to not having “basic” amenities such as:
- in-house laundry
- unlimited water supply
- flush toilets
- space away from each other
However, these drawbacks come with one major benefit (among many): saving money. It’s a sacrifice in comfort and convenience, but in return we’ll own our home mortgage-free.
Comfort & Convenience: Your Wallet’s Worst Enemy
- Comfort – Having amenities such as those listed above. Comfort means flexibility: there’s room for change over time and those “just in case” scenarios.
- Convenience – Some examples are paying someone else to build your home and financing. Convenience also means having to exert less time or effort to live at your preferred level of comfort. An example is having plentiful closet space or fridge space – you don’t have to spend time sorting & getting rid of old stuff.
I’m not saying that comfort and convenience are bad. I am saying that fulfilling one’s desires has monetary costs, and it’s your responsibility to determine whether those costs are worth the happiness.
A modest house challenges you to evaluate your lifestyle needs. “Ok”, you say, “My needs are x, y, & z so I need *this* amount of space.” That’s fine! But what if that “space” had a concrete dollar value? Would you pay $15k for your guest room?
What about $1000 to gain 4 more feet of space?
…It sounds crazy, but we did just that! Going with a 28′ floorplan meant an extra axle on the trailer, which significantly increased the price over a 24′ trailer. To us, the comfort was worth the cost: those 4 extra feet allow us to have a “living room”! We knew having a small couch and hearth would vastly increase our enjoyment of the home, so we got the larger trailer and resolved to make budget cuts in areas less important to our happiness. It’s about knowing what comforts and conveniences you value the most. That’s living intentionality.
To apply this to your own life, think of the top 5 qualities in a house that would bring you the most happiness on an everyday basis. Is it the plentiful natural lighting? A well-appointed kitchen? Chances are, those things could be reproduced in a small home.
Not counting the college dorms, I’ve lived in places ranging from 400 sq ft (just bigger than our future tiny house) up to 2500+ sq ft. I can’t say that the size of the house made a difference in my happiness – except that I was happier spending less time cleaning the smaller spaces 🙂 The larger homes made entertaining easier, which was nice; still, I had a more active social life when I lived in the 400 sq ft apartment than when I lived at a bed and breakfast with 4 bedrooms!
I like the following quote (from Houzz.com):
“Never renovate aspirationally. If your family isn’t crowded around the kitchen table now playing games, they won’t suddenly do it (more than once) in a new game room. If you don’t have company now in your ‘humble home,’ odds are you won’t suddenly have friends who want to visit your fancier one. You will be just as much of a slob in a nice space as in your current one. Renovations change little that is wrong with us or our relationships.”
So the next time you’re dreaming of a new home or renovating your current one, ask yourself if you’re craving comfort or convenience. Unless you’re considering a tiny house, of course — then just go for it 😉