Two years ago we moved into a whole new house. A house with 2,000 less finished square feet than our previous house. Our plan was for a new beginning, a fresh start, and a simpler way of living. We never could have imagined the big time changes that were about to take place in our home and in our lives. In the midst of this massive minimalist movement, a lot of people are asking themselves, “Is it worth it?” “Will I regret it?” These are the thoughts I know I had. I craved a downsized life, but, was it worth it? Do we regret it? Let’s talk downsized and how our family of 5 is doing after 2 years.
*This post contains affiliate links through which I may make a commission. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
I shared our entire story of downsizing recently on the site, Making Sense of Cents. If you haven’t heard the whole story yet, I would love to share with you where we came from and why we decided to downsize.
After we sold our house, we had some serious goals for our house, life, and our debt. We wanted downsizing to be the start of a new beginning.
We decided to get clear about what we wanted in our lives and then build our life and finances around the things we wanted the most. It was called The Bucket List Budget. Living by our own rules has allowed us to pay off debt, save money, and travel more than ever before!
We had gotten so much wrong before and we were finally ready to start making things right. Click here to learn more about The Bucket List Budget.
Downsized house goals:
- Our house would immediately be a home.
- All decor would have purpose and meaning.
- No money would be spent on new furniture.
- Anything we wanted we would save for. We used the Sinking Funds method.
Downsized goals for our family
- Spend more time together
- Travel more
- Closer family through closer quarters
You can check out some of our travel vlogs on our YouTube channel to get ideas on where to go and how to afford travel for the whole family!
Downsized goals for our finances
- No more credit cards
- Pay off debt
- Start saving money (Click here to save $1,000 crazy fast)
- Work toward paying off the mortgage
Our three-step plan to pay off debt
Downsizing meant we were saving more money on our mortgage each month, but it also meant I gave up my photography studio space and therefore a big chunk of our income. That’s why we knew in order to get more money back in our lives, we needed to get serious about paying off debt. Here’s the short version of our plan:
- Quit credit cards and pay in cash
- Get debt consolidation to reduce our payments and interest
- Follow the Debt Snowball method for debt payoff. Which includes building a $1,000 emergency fund.
2 Years later…
So where are we now? You know what got us here, but how are we doing after all these changes?
The downsized house
Our little 1,300 square foot starter home still hasn’t had many upgrades. When we first moved in we painted the walls and added a few lighting fixtures. Nothing too fancy.
The plan from here is to paint the kitchen cabinets, add in new flooring and eventually finish the basement and add a patio. However, we are in no rush to accomplish these things.
We spend less time tending to and cleaning the house itself and that has been wonderful.
Posts on saving time and money:
- The $5 Per Day Difference. How Small Changes Add Up.
- Having a Co-op to Reduce Your Budget and Save Time
- Stop Running Errands and Get More Time Back in Your Day
I wish I could dive in fully and completely share the transformation that our family has gone through since downsizing our house. But, I simply can’t share it all just yet.
To sum it up, my marriage is stronger and our children are happier.
When I look through things like the photo on my Facebook or Instagram, I see clearly how much downsizing our house was the right choice.
In our previous home, all of our photos were inside the house…because that’s where we spent most of our time. Now, all of our photos are out and about. We’re traveling, camping, climbing waterfalls, hiking, swimming, laughing, exploring and it is all amazing.
As of January 31, 2019 we are completely debt-free with the exception of our mortgage!
It feels so awesome to not owe any credit card companies anything and to know that our cars belong to us. We have no student loans. Nothing.
We made a lot of mistakes during the debt payoff process that made our lives a lot more stressful and complicated. After re-evaluating, and re-focusing on the things that mattered the most to us, we were able to build a spending plan that actually worked! Check out The Bucket List Budget spending plan.
- 6 Reasons You Should Downsize Your Home
- Life on the Road: How One Minimalist Family Finds Comfort in Tiny Living
- When Downsizing Just Doesn’t Work: One Family’s Failed Attempt at the RV Life
The hardest part about leaving our last house was the neighbors for sure. We had built a great relationship with our neighbors in the few years that we had spent in that house. Although it was hard to say goodbye to them, we have maintained our friendship and haven’t looked back.
We have had absolutely zero regrets about downsizing and in fact, we have talked about doing it again. The freedom that you find with a smaller house is something we have fallen in love with and would gladly do it again were we to find a house we loved more than this one.
To sum it up…
I am so thankful my family and I made this leap. So thankful we downsized. It’s crazy how when you get rid of the things that don’t matter as much, you get an amplified amount of the things that do.
It would be easy to look back with anger at the silly choices we made back then, but without them, I wouldn’t be living the life I am today.
I believe that the harsh reality check made me appreciate the more important things in life. It lead me toward minimalism and letting go of material items. Our mistakes lead us to financial peace and a stronger family and I wouldn’t change that for the world.