Frugal Habits: Living Small

Aka: A love letter to my tiny bachelorette pad.

I’ve lived in my tiny lovely bachelorette pad (approx. 450 sq ft) for close to three years now, and Jordan moved in with me right before Christmas. I know that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I love living in a small space. I know that living here has definitely helped me to be more frugal. How? Well, let me count the ways.

First and foremost, cheaper rent!! A smaller apartment (and a bachelor apartment at that) means cheaper rent. I’ve also successfully negotiated with my landlord to bring the rent down, in exchange for giving up the parking spot. This has meant that my cost of housing has always been less than 1/3 of my monthly income, so I’ve always been able to save or pay off debt. Now that Jordan has moved in, us living together in a cheap place means that we can save for our wedding while Jordan is still in school. We put an amount identical to rent into our wedding savings account every month.

I also really feel that living in a tiny space supports frugality and intentionality because you don’t have a lot of space to accumulate stuff. This has always helped to curb my spending.  Now that Jordan and I live together, this effect is amplified. We have to be really intentional about what we buy and bring home, since we don’t have lots of space. We can’t just go out and buy stuff without thinking about it.  So, we spend less, which increases our frugality and savings. We also don’t have room to overbuy food that can go bad, so we don’t usually have a whole lot of food waste (meal planning also really helps with this). This helps to keep our grocery costs down every month.

Another way in which living in a tiny space forces you to be frugal is that you are forced to be organized and neat, or your place is instantly a disaster. This makes me infinitely more conscious of what I do own and do use, which helps me be more intentional about shopping. Being more intentional about shopping helps me shop less and therefore be more frugal. The ease of tidiness also helps reduce my stress considerably. I get stressed out and can’t focus if my apartment is a mess. I know that when I lived in a larger place (approx. 1000 sq ft), I spent a lot more time on upkeep and was a lot more stressed about it.

And, finally, living in a small space helps to free up time and energy (both physical and mental). Less space to clean means way less time cleaning. Jordan and I spend an hour cleaning on the weekends and after that our apartment is spotless (aside from dishes). It’s so nice! The small apartment also means that it’s very easy to keep things tidy and organized, which takes less time than a bigger place. All of these things add up to more free time and more energy, which allows Jordan and I time to pursue our other frugal habits, like cooking all of our meals from scratch. This helps us save more money.

Now, don’t get me wrong, living in small space is not 100% perfect. Like every other apartment, this one has drawbacks. There’s no balcony and we can’t have any pets. The apartment feels a little bit crowded when the laundry drying rack is out and I worry that we may get impale on it if we move suddenly. We don’t have time to stock up on food when it’s on sale or to get a deep freezer. Now that Jordan is living here, it also means that we are really close to each other all the time. We have to be very intentional about scheduling alone time at home for both of us, since we both need that to recharge. We also don’t have quite enough space for all of Jordan’s things, so he’s having to store some of his things (including half of his ginormous wardrobe) at his mom’s (Thanks Liz!!).

But overall, living in this tiny apartment is worth it 100 times over for the ways in which it allows and enables me to focus on priorities in life beyond my home (not that my home isn’t a priority, I just like how I can prioritize it and still have room for other things). It’s smaller, easier to manage, cheaper, and less stressful. I know it’s not for everyone, but for us it’s a definite win.

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