Why set up your 100% space for 1% of your life?
Every time I mention the small spaces I have lived in (even a trailer…. true story), people always look at me with a mix of abject horror and fascination mixed with curiousity, and they ask me any one of these questions:
I had my stuff, I moved it in, end of story……
2. Do you have kids?
For the trailer – not yet.
For the 500 square foot space – not yet either.
For the 1200 square foot apartment – yes. And I don’t plan on having any more, but it is more than enough space for all of us. We use every single room often. If you did a hot spot look at where we spent most of our time it would be:
- One of the bathrooms (the main one)
- Living Room
- Bedroom – nearer to night time or nap time but even during the day to laze around on the futon & play…
Sometimes I had no choice. I had to do it (see: trailer)…. but mostly because I don’t want to pay for more space that I don’t use or need.
I just need ENOUGH space. Sure it would be great for the same price to get double the space or more, but then I’d give up on location (FOR SURE) or community amenities, commuting perks, etc
4. But where do your guests sleep? How do you entertain?
Okay, so this one… is the point of this post.
I usually say:
We don’t entertain that often (some people do this nightly or weekly, we are NOT those folks because we don’t have any family near to us by a long shot and we are pretty quiet as a family which may come as a surprise to many because I seem very extroverted at work but I need my own recharge time too)….
…. and we don’t have people come over to stay often either.
Maybe once a year if that. When my family visits, they’d rather stay in a hotel downtown and not bother us with their night owl schedule (we sleep at 8 p.m. sharp and they stay up until 3 a.m. because they are way past the age of having young children).
If you’re that family, maybe a small space won’t work for you. You’d need a DEDICATED room to having these guests come over, stay, hang out, etc.
…but why would I set up a space for 1% of my life?
Most of my time is spent with just the three of us, and the occasional person who comes over to hang for dinner or lunch, but that’s it.
I would rather have the space work for me for 99% of my life than all of these dead rooms I see that are “guest bedrooms” or “formal dining rooms”.
We don’t have that although Little Bun’s room is empty right now for guests, and when he’s older, he’ll move to our bedroom to sleep if a guest comes over to visit, and give up his room to them. *shrug* Won’t happen often, and this is part of small space living.
Otherwise, these rooms are dead. They’re empty, very unused spaces, and while I do like the idea of a dedicated room for just my clothes, or a dedicated office space, I don’t need it enough to pay an extra $100,000 for a place, PLUS an additional $1500 a year in condo fees for an extra 200 square feet of space to do all of this.
$100,000 + ( $1500 x 30 years ) = $145,000
Not worth it. I’d rather put that money elsewhere.
And financially speaking…
There are always tradeoffs to deciding to upgrade your space to the biggest McMansion you can afford.
Just this year, the Canadian banks all raised their interest rates. This on average, added about $200 a month on top of people’s mortgages because their rates were variable (presumably).
A lot of families started saying things like — “Well sure we can afford the $200 a month extra but that means no extra eating out, some belt tightening, no treats, etc…”
I hear this and immediately think — Those families bought too much house.
Of course I don’t know their full story, but before you throw stones at me for being an elitist, might I gently point out that I paid cash for this condo (my half was $300,000) but with the down payment of $600,000 we could have FOR SURE bought a huge house, or even a penthouse where we are now which is triple our space.
I was personally pre-approved for an individual mortgage of over $500,000. Can you believe this? My banker was willing to front me over half a million just like that. No real approvals needed.
I considered it briefly then told her “No thanks” (which she totally got because she knows I’m really into personal finance & debt-free).
I could have definitely upgraded to something nicer for my home, but we purposefully chose something within our budget (even $600,000 was a little tight for us because we had started off with agreeing to $400,000), and we decided we cared more about having JUST enough space with two covered parking spots and being mortgage-free.
Can you imagine?
Those families feeling the pinch of an extra $200 should NOT feel the pinch. It isn’t $500 extra. It is $200. Yes, it is a big amount of money for a lot of people on lower incomes, but $200 is something that should already be the buffer for “miscellaneous” in your budget, and used as just-in-case-we-go-over.
I feel like when people buy a house, they should stick to some sort of rule for themselves. If they buy to the LIMIT of their budget, it means any amount of money (even $20) will push them over the edge.
That’s a scary, effing thought.