When I lived in college I lived in apartment with six girls and I paid $115 a month in rent. It was a really cheap apartment. But as a college student making $7.50 an hour for 15 to 20 hours a week, it was what I could afford. The thing that is amazing to me is that once I got out of school and started making money, my housing situation changed. I wanted to live in a better place, a place I could call my own. I bought a house in 2005 for $55,000. It was what I could afford at the time. I was a mortgage loan originator and I saw how buying too much of a house caused financial difficulty for people. My house was 17% of my gross income. Even then, I was stressed out because I wasn’t accomplishing my financial goals, so I got 2 roommates. Their rent payments allowed me to pay off my car loan in 18 months.
I was recently reading in the Book of Mormon a testament of Jesus Christ about a family with the father of Lehi and his youngest son,Nephi. Nephi says, And my father dwelt in a tent. I thought about that,Why was this significant? What was the purpose of putting that in the scripture? Then he goes on to talk about how his father had much wealth: a lot of silver and gold and precious things. So for him to leave everything that he owns and follow the Lord into the desert, was a huge sacrifice. We can learn from this one scripture. We can leave our things behind us. Get rid of them. Take only the essential things. Your family being the most important thing. So if you are dealing with debt up to your eyeballs or a house that makes you house poor, then sell it to get out of the situation. Go live simply and turn your life around.
I’m not saying live in a tent. 🙂 It’s more the concept of living simply. You don’t need a 6000 sqft house.
There’s a series on Netflix about Tiny Houses that I watched. Totally loved it. I told my husband I really want to have a tiny house. I don’t have to clean a bunch of stuff. There’s simplicity in that lifestyle. He told me, “Well when I’m gone you can get a tiny house.” I realize that the tiny house movement is popular in the Northwest section of our country, mostly because the cost of houses are so much people can’t afford them. The rest of the country could learn from it. We don’t need a big house to keep up with the Jones’. we should look at what we can afford. If you are living a lifestyle where you have a lot of credit card debt and a big mortgage, then consider downsizing. Maybe it’s not to a tiny house of 300 square feet, but the concept is what I’m talking about.
I told my 91 year old grandmother about what I’ve been thinking about. She told me about her experience. My grandpa and grandma bought a house about 70 years ago for $7500. She still lives there today. She said that it has allowed them to travel, dance, live their dreams, and save money. When my grandpa went into a nursing home a few years ago, she got out her checkbook and paid the $5,000 a month bill for 11 months before he passed away. She did this without blinking an eye. She could do this because they lived simply. They were never house poor.
Do you have stories to tell about living simply or how you woke up and realized you didn’t want to be house poor? Do you have a “living in a van down by the river’ story? I’d love to hear about them.