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How my friend saved thousands by moving into a smaller house

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If you currently find yourself in a house that exceeds your needs and you want to create extra time or money for yourself then this article is for you. But what would you do with the extra time and cash?

You might be tighter on money than you used to be or you might just want to increase the amount of money that you’re saving for whatever reason. Whatever your goals are, we all know that more time and money directed towards them will help you. Maybe you’re trying to save money for retirement, start your own business, or help your kids out.

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Save big by moving into a smaller house?

Small House in FloridaSmall house in Florida, photo credit Alex Pino

So here’s how my friend saved $11,076 one year on housing alone

In 2007 my friend Mike did something crazy. He decided to go from a luxurious two-bedroom condominium to sharing a smaller and less expensive apartment with a roommate.

He went from paying $1,473 per month in house-related payments to $550 per month. That’s a savings of more than $923 a month and a total of $11,076 in one year.

That’s an extreme example but what if you went from $900 per month to about $650? That’s still $250 a month and $3,000 after one year. It’s an idea that can be pretty powerful after a while. I know, moving sucks but it’s worth it sometimes.

So what would you do with the extra money you’d have if you lowered your living expenses by more than $300 per month?

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 16 comments… add one }
  • January 5, 2011, 8:40 am

    I’d spend all my extra saved money on tootsie rolls and ecto-cooler! No- great article- and its too bad more people don’t see the light in this methodology- one of the reasons so many people are having their homes sadly foreclosed on them. On top of that, if you’re handy, buying a fixer-upper is a great savings too- that’s the route I took and it landed me a house that cost us less than what we were paying for rent!


  • Timaree (freebird)
    January 5, 2011, 11:10 am

    I could help my sister out more who is older and doesn’t have as much as she needs. I don’t know that I’d save a lot as my house is only $600 a month now but it’s possible. I want to live in a smaller/tiny place more for simplicity than cost savings. If I didn’t care to move where my family lives, I can’t live much cheaper than where I do now.

  • Debra
    January 5, 2011, 2:53 pm

    I am working less! We can still put money away, but work less. My husband, son and I are working out every day now (more time), Son and I are learning the guitar, and we were able to ‘donate’ 60 hours of free time to our favorite cause this past month! Thank you, Alex, for the great articles and thought provoking questions!


  • January 6, 2011, 9:17 am

    Hey Deek buying a fixer upper is a great idea, not for me yet, but some day – after the travels!

    Timaree thank you for sharing.

    Debra I like what you are doing with your time, sounds fun and I bet your family (and sense of community) is growing stronger.

  • January 6, 2011, 9:30 am

    Better yet- head for the woods- Maine, Montana, Vermont, Wyoming, and BUILD your own place. Esp. if just single, or a couple, you could start with a very small home, in a no-restrictions county, and erect it for less than $10,000- then, you’re in the best situation of all- NO Mortgage!


  • January 6, 2011, 2:18 pm

    I’m looking forward to something like that some day soon, Deek. OR a tiny house on a trailer… We’ll see

  • Margaret
    January 7, 2011, 3:44 pm

    I’d actually be able to afford medical coverage for myself. Right now I pay $900 for rent and dropping down any amount would be good. Every penny is allocated and I still cannot afford to see a doctor (and I’m losing my ability to walk too) 🙁

    • maryj
      January 15, 2012, 5:40 am

      hi Margaret, not too good about the medical coverage but maybe you could take a look at ‘hacres’ website – they are amazing with diet and what it can do for your health. Check out the testimonials. Good luck and best wishes, Mary.

  • January 12, 2011, 1:04 pm

    Hope you are getting better, Margaret

  • di
    April 22, 2011, 1:13 pm

    Additional frugality:

    *Explore an inexpensive, yet nutritious diet.
    *Be satisfied with a two-week, interchangeable wardrobe.
    *Live closer to work/shops – walk, bicycle, car pool or use public transportation.
    *Vacation at home.
    *Prevent future purchases – take good care of the things you have.
    *Save money to make a purchase – as time goes by, you’ll realize most things are not really needed.
    *Sell your crafts at the local shops to help pay for hobby materials.

    Always thinking…

  • April 22, 2011, 1:58 pm

    Di thanks for your awesome tips!

  • Granville Rice
    July 24, 2012, 12:28 pm

    We downsized from a large expensive condo in downtown Portland last November to a smaller condo in Beaverton. Our house related expenses dropped from $2100 a month to $780. We don’t miss the larger place(except the fireplace)and the new place is much better located than the downtown condo. I am three blocks from a grocery store, mall and theater. Surrounded by many ethnic restaurants, am 4 blocks from the framers market and adjacent to the Max station. We couldn’t be happier with the decision to downsize.

    • July 24, 2012, 2:04 pm

      Thanks for the success story Granville. Another example of how much better you can end up with ‘less’ especially when you choose your location wisely. I’m really happy for you guys and wishing you the best. Thanks again for sharing!

      • Comet
        November 20, 2013, 12:38 am

        We “downsized” from a huge rambling farmhouse to a much smaller one-floor-with-finished-basement house with about 1200SF when the economy tanked in the late 1980’s. Our mortgage at the time was about $300 per month and the co we had it thru had started out as a great deal—cash back every year (it was a co-op) low interest–but that all changed. We put the house on the market and sold it as the sign was being placed in the yard. Payed off the loan and purchased the much smaller house for cash. We “Profited” to the tune of a whopping $1100 after the sale and closing costs etc.

        At the time the taxes were much less in the house we bought—in the same county!–but now our taxes have more than tripled; the COL has changed dramatically; gas costs being what they are the former relaxing 45 min one way commute eats away at what we SHOULD be saving; we had a grocery store in this town when we moved in but that closed leaving us with a 20 min one way drive for anything more than milk or bread at the local Gas N Go sorta place; unless you need car parts or agricultural supplies you CAN’T get it here.

        This was not so bad when my kids were little. Now tho two of them can’t afford to move out and one bright home a husband and two kids! Now–don;t get me wrong–we love to have them but—-the place is TOO SMALL. We get NOTHING in the way of “services” for all those taxes. The County Social Services has fought my daughter over health care for her kids even tho they qualify for Services. Salary’s have been stagnant and as we all know–food etc prices have gone sharply upwards.

        Where IS all that money we are NOT paying out in a mortgage going to???

        Fortunately the real estate crash did not affect this area as much as some places. So we are working on getting the house fixed up to sell and move South. This is ever so much FUN with little kids under foot!

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