The Joy Of Living Within Your Means

Tiny House Joy Of Living On Less

There's an incredible joy of living within your means. The more you can live within your means, the happier you will become. You will appreciate more of what you have, and desire less of what you don't.

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” – Epicurus

It's been a year and a half since purchasing a ~400 square foot smaller home and I'm absolutely loving it! While my friends were buying ever more expensive homes, here I was downgrading to a home not only 20% smaller, but also 45% cheaper as well.

Yes, I did spend a good chunk of change building a new master bathroom because the old one was a puny 36 square feet. But having an amazing bathroom where I can work in the hot tub for several hours every morning is a dream come true. After all the remodeling, including creating a sanctuary, my all in cost for my existing home is still about 36% less than my old home.

The Benefits Of Living Within Your Means

If you think about your biggest expenses in life, they are: taxes, housing, education, transportation, food, and children, if you have any.

Besides living in a much cheaper home, I also drive a $20,000 economy car compared to the median car price in America of $32,000. $20,000 is inline with my 1/10th rule for car buying, which also aligns with the ideal income for maximum happiness of $200,000 – $250,000 per person. It continuously amazes me that a median $52,000 income household would lease or own a $32,000 car.

The gas mileage on Rhino is wonderful, and the ability to park in 20% more spots due to its small size is priceless. At a lease cost of just $235/month after tax, I don't even notice the expense since it is also a business expense for my main business and driving side hustle.

In terms of clothing, I haven't bought anything in years because I no longer have to dress up for work. In fact, I now have an oversupply of formal clothes. To look good, staying in shape matters more than what we wear. I usually just wear jeans and a t-shirt or long sleeves, with a cotton jacket if it's cold.

Let me share some various benefits to living below your means.

  • Fewer taxes. Given the government is incredibly inefficient with our tax dollars, it feels horrendous to pay lots of taxes. My new house's property tax bill is $6,000 less a year and it feels amazing. There was no way I was receiving close to $21,000 a year in property tax benefits living in my previous home.
  • Less fees and insurance. Owning an economy car means less government fees. My annual car registration renewal costs several hundred dollars less than if I had brought the $78,000 Range Rover Sport HSE I'd been eyeing. Meanwhile, insurance costs for both my house and car are much lower as well.
  • Less maintenance. Unlike a lot of unfrugal people who hire people to clean their house, I clean everything myself because I can. It would be mind boggling to try and clean more than three bathrooms and three bedrooms every month. Also, everything breaks after a while. The more pipes, electrical outlets, and appliances you have, the more you'll have to fix down the road.
  • Cheaper food. It used to cost me $10 – $15 to go out for lunch in my old neighborhood, the Marina district. In my new neighborhood, Golden Gate Heights, I can have an equivalent meal with more variety for just $5 – $7. Consistently paying 50% less to eat is a huge deal.
  • Cheaper haircuts. In my old neighborhood, the cheapest place for a decent haircut cost $18 +$3 tip.  Here, I get a similar quality haircut for $10 +$3 tip. Yes, I should probably adjust my tip down to $2, but I almost feel bad that I only have to pay $10 for a haircut! Even if my barber kept 100% of her income each day, she would still only make $80 standing on her feet for eight hours. Tipping is important for helping my fellow hourly wage workers.
  • Less traffic, more peace and quiet. My old neighborhood was about 30% denser than my new neighborhood. As a result, there was more noise and more riffraff roaming the streets. Now that I'm five miles west of downtown and on a hill, it's so quiet. Nobody bothers to walk up a hill when they could just harass people and puke on flat land.
  • More space. Even though my new house is a couple standard rooms smaller, my lot size is 2X larger than my old lot. Instead of sharing walls, it feels nice to have a completely stand alone house where there's at least 15 feet of space between you and your neighbors. It's nice to know I can add value by expanding if I wanted to.
  • Less physical risk. When you live in a humble looking home, you don't attract as much interest from strangers. When you see an expensive looking home as a robber or kidnapper, you think equally expensive stuff inside! If you're going to bother breaking in or kidnapping someone, you might as well go for a multi-million dollar unarmed home than one worth just the median.
  • Greater flexibility with friends and acquaintances. If you invite your friends to your mega mansion for a party, they'll automatically expect only the finest food and beverages on you. That's annoying. If you give them a ride in your $120,000 S550 Mercedes Benz, they might hit you up for money, or suffer pangs of envy because you're living nicer than them. Nobody is going to be envious about my Honda Fit or cozy home in the hills.
  • Less need to work as long or save as much. The more you can live within your means, the easier it is to create financial freedom. Just run your new, lower expenses metrics through a Retirement Planning Calculator to see how much easier it is to achieve your financial goals. For example, if you were to reduce your expenses by $3,000 a month, that'd be saving the equivalent of working a year at a $50,000 gross salary job. Now that my expenses are thousands of dollars less each month, I have more money to invest, and less pressure to make more money. Larger investments may equate to larger returns which will beget even greater financial freedom.
  • Greater physical freedom. If you've got a huge amount of living expenses to pay each month, you're going to have a harder time traveling for an extended period of time. If you have a small expense foot print, it's much easier to pay double rent as you explore the world. Meanwhile, because you don't live in a luxurious home, you can appreciate your travel living accommodations more. One of my friends lives in a $10M house about 8,000 square feet in size. Because he's so used to his living arrangements, he needs to spend $2,000+/night to rent out villas or double suite hotel rooms when he goes on vacation with his family. Crazy!
  • The ability to match. If you're spending everything you have, then it'll be tough to hang out with someone who has even more. By living well within your means, you can always spend up to match someone else without feeling uncomfortable.

Find The Minimum Amount Required To Be Happy

Living within your means means finding what is the minimal amount you need to be happy. For me, that amount is $200,000 when I was single and $350,000 now that I'm a dad of two. Every person's amount is different.

Society has happiness backwards. Instead of always spending more money for bigger, fancier, nicer things to attain happiness, we should be going in REVERSE to see what is the minimum amount of stuff required to be happy.

How many people do you know actively try to minimize what they have? It's hard to do when we're in the accumulation phase. But as you hit middle age and beyond, it's much easier to appreciate the merits of a simpler life. This is why you see many retired folks sell their big single family homes to live in service apartments.

Finding more happiness with less is one of the biggest takeaways I've garnered from early retirement. I have a feeling that a large number of people are working too long and trying to save too much for some elusive financial goal they think will make them feel secure.

We really don't need that much stuff once we no longer have to work because there are so many amazing activities that don't require much stuff at all.

The key is to optimize our inventory with our usage. We'll create a much healthier environment for us all. Imagine if we got rid of everybody with an SUV who never goes up to the mountains, and doesn't have more than four people in their family to transport? Imagine if all our leftover food was re-allocated to people who feel hunger pains every day?

Imagine if all the rooms in our homes were occupied, instead of having houses left completely empty thanks to speculators parking their cash.

Less is so much more! We just have to find how little we really need to be happy.


Explore real estate crowdsourcing opportunities. Instead of owning so much physical real estate, it's easier to invest in real estate crowdfunding passively.

Take a look at Fundrise, one of the largest real estate crowdsourcing companies today. Real estate is a key component of a diversified portfolio. Real estate crowdsourcing allows you to be more flexible in your real estate investments by investing beyond just where you live for the best returns possible.

Sign up and take a look at all the residential and commercial investment opportunities around the country Fundrise has to offer. It's free to look.

Fundrise Due Diligence Funnel
Less than 5% of the real estate deals shown gets through the Fundrise funnel

Shop around for a mortgage. Check the latest mortgage rates online through Credible. They’ve got one of the largest networks of lenders that compete for your business. Your goal should be to get as many written offers as possible and then use the offers as leverage to get the lowest interest rate possible.

The Joy Of Living Within Your Means

Related post: Don't Let A Big Fancy House Ruin Your Life

About The Author

51 thoughts on “The Joy Of Living Within Your Means”

  1. One of my supreme frustrations in life is the difficulty of an unsubsidized poor person to live below their means – what I like to call the diseconomies of poverty.

    It’s easy for people to live below their means if they live rent-free with parents, and not so easy if they are paying market rents.

    If you cannot afford to own even a smaller home – and ~400 sq ft homes for sale are hard to find – renting will be more expensive, at least in the long run, because you will always be paying current rents. And if you cannot afford to rent a house, anything less will be an inferior value for what you spend, with renting a room affording the lowest value of all – I once paid $4 per square foot per month to rent a room in a crowded house where the house itself rented for less than $1 per square foot.

    I have found an online selling niche but a single room is insufficient for storage and selling so I’m paying money for a rented storage unit while unable to sell in volume. With more living space I could eliminate the storage expense but I don’t have the up front cash to make that happen.

  2. I’m a software engineer and with extra time, I basically do about $100k or so per year. Haven’t had a raise in nearly a decade. Most people I know are just grateful every month that they haven’t been replaced by someone for a fifth the cost in Romania or India, which has happened to many of our colleagues. So asking for or expecting a raise in the last many years has been unrealistic for most.

    However, we don’t have or want kids. We generally pay our own way through life (significant other is successful in her own right and takes care of herself). So that $100k/yr goes pretty far.

    I don’t own a car, because I don’t need one. I have worked from home my entire life. I have no debt, other than a mortgage ($825/mo, +$200mo property tax, +$200/mo home owner’s insurance). That’s about it. Even my cell phone only runs me about $20/mo (I use Ting and even though I’m a software engineer, I despise smart phones). I bought a home that was far less than I could get, so that if my life changed significantly, I’d still have a home. It was $195k, originally selling for $215k, worth maybe $260k five years later. Didn’t get a fancy house in a fancy neighborhood. I live among roofers and welders and nurses rather than fellow startup engineers and MBAs.

    Of course, after moving in, I gutted two floors and brought them up to date from 1969. Installed all new windows for the entire house (improve noise and energy), fully insulated the house and attic, brand new boiler/furnace, brand new 200amp junction instead of 50amp, brought wiring up to par and safety, installed extra 20amp circuits for computers and home theater equipment, new evaporative cooler, new roof, new gutters, completely redid the landscaping, brand new bathroom out of an old utility room with an awesome water jet tub. I’ve probably spent $130k fixing up the house, but I plan to live here through most of the life of the upgrades.

    I don’t watch live television, so no cable or anything else.

    In all, my monthly expenses are simple and around $3,200:

    * Mortgage(+tax+ins): $1220
    * Power: $200-$300
    * Water/Trash/Sewer: $75
    * Lawncare: $100
    * Cell: $30
    * Medication: $15
    * Internet: $160
    * Health/Life/Disability/etc insurance: $450
    * Groceries: $500
    * Pets: $150
    * Netflix: $8
    * XBOX/PSN: $9
    * Audible: $25
    * Clothing & Hygeine etc: $50

    The only thing I really indulge in is video games, new consoles when they come out, a new top end TV for the home theater every few years, a new high end PC rig that I build every 12-24mo, and occasional tech gadgets. It isn’t cheap, but that’s the *only* thing I indulge in. I don’t do vacations (I haven’t taken a day off of work or a holiday in my entire 20 years of adult life, even though I get three weeks of vacation per year).

    I should have more saved/invested than I do by this point in life, but I spent a lot of money caring for family and siblings the first 10-15 years of my career. I have $13k in an IRA, $60k in a low-fee index fund (FSTVX), $160k in my 401k all low fee funds, and $13k in (average loan age currently 370 days @ 11%). I max-out my 401k and invest as much as I can on top of that ($10-15k).

    In retrospect, I kind of wish I bought a smaller house. This place is only 1800sqft, but if you count the basement which I finished (600sqft, has my home theater/office and bedroom — because I work at night and needed a place that was dark and very quiet), and the sunroom, it’s more like 2700sqft. Plus a two car garage. I think half the size would be better. The entire top floor of the house (where three bedrooms and a bathroom are) is empty and I haven’t even stepped on that floor in 2015. I just figured I’d potentially need more space to care for family later in life (parents, etc).

    But there’s a chance that what I may do in twenty years (when I’m in my 50s — or sooner if I just rent this place out instead of selling) is sell this place and get a better place half the size in a better neighborhood at the same price.

    Thing is, I don’t intentionally live cheap. And I don’t really live cheap. Just look at how much I spend per year? I couldn’t live on a $50k salary. I could probably just get by (but without saving much money at all outside of a little to a 401k) even at about $86k. But I don’t do anything extravagant. My clothing needs are simple. Travel needs are simple. I’ve been shaving my head for almost twenty years and that’s cheap as hell.

    Which, given no raise in nearly a decade, is probably a good thing. Should help compensate for the loss in value of income while the industry continues to screw engineers over by H1B abuse and offshoring (our company jumped at the chance to move a lot of hiring over to Romania when they hit serious troubles five years ago in Romania… like 20% of the population of the country just fled the country to find better economic opportunities and we swept in and hired what was left).

    I used to think I eventually wanted a million dollar house with blah blah blah blah blah . . . but then after living here for five years, I realized that even a $200k house and 2400sqft was way overkill. Hell, if I were single, a big studio apartment or loft would be enough for me.

    1. 1,800 sqft + a 600 sqft basement is pretty large for two people. I’d be happy with that! I’m around 1,920 sqft total now, but plan to build a 150sqft dect off the master bathroom overlooking the water.

      Where do you live? Seems like you have a good balance.

      I would be annoyed as hell not getting a raise, so at the least I would do some side-hustling.

  3. Great post, Sam! Five years ago, I downsized from a 4-bedroom home with a pool after realizing that it didn’t bring me much happiness. It’s the best thing I did. I was broke with a great job and a big house and now I’m less than 3 years away from reaching early retirement and live in a cozy rented small house!

  4. Agree with this article. After I got my MBA and started to move up the corporate ladder quickly, my wife and I (no kids) bought a 3k sq ft house in a super nice neighborhood because we could. Before tax deductions, this was 2x what I was paying previously on 2x the size of the house. When I accepted a new job in another city earlier this year, we discussed and realized we really needed just around 2k sq ft. We ended up finding a 2.4k sq ft house in a very low tax area ($1200/yr) and ended up cutting our monthly total mortgage payment (P + I + I + HOA) to below what it was before we upgraded (and I’m making 30k/year more than I was previously). This allowed me to save an extra ~$10k/year after adjusting for taxes than I was previously plus around another $2k/year in lower utility expenses.

  5. Love the little house! Would go great on our property. Where can I get more info on designer, etc.?

  6. Household income just over $500k this year (not including investment property rental income). House is paid for but it was an expensive year. Here is where our money has gone for the financial voyeurs…

    Investments $144,282.00
    High interest savings #1 $55,000.00 (to cover income taxes due next spring)
    High interest savings #2 $25,000.00
    High interest savings #3 $1,000.00
    Income taxes $68,576.35
    Income taxes $33,011.32
    Property taxes $5,400.00
    Car insurance $1,263.00
    Car insurance $1,177.00
    House insurance $1,352.16
    Disability/Life insurance me $3,969.60
    Life insurance wife $421.20
    After school program $4,750.00
    Car purchase #1 $50,013.57
    Wife car down payment (0% loan) $5,000.00
    Car payments (5 months) $2,559.70
    Gasoline $2,000.00
    Car maintenance $600.00
    Snow tires/rims for wifes car $850.00
    Electricity $3,000.00
    Natural gas – heat/hot water $2,000.00
    Groceries $15,000.00
    Booze $5,000.00
    Investment property mortgage principal $27,000.00
    Investment property mort interest $6,414.88
    Clothing/shoes $6,000.00
    Kids activities $3,500.00
    New TV/Receiver/sub/install $7,578.03
    New sectional in family room $2,486.00
    Bathroom reno $20,000.00
    Other reno $1,689.58
    Dog (purchase, vet, food, etc) $4,850.00
    Vacation – flights $1,977.44
    Flight $516.87
    Flight $275.13
    Summer vacation rental $2,850.00
    Vacation other costs $734.50
    House maintenance $1,271.16
    House maintenance $855.00
    Cell phones $1,920.00
    Cable, internet, home phone $3,360.00

    Total $524,504

      1. You can see some of the income taxes deducted in my list. I will have more to pay at tax time, probably the 55k I put into a HISA for short term to cover that. Income was just higher than expenses and some of those costs were estimates (like groceries).

        I like to do that exercise to really see where the money has gone.

  7. We haven’t downsized our home, just our stuff. Used frugal living and a simplified lifestyle that we enjoyed to get to early retirement and basically live the same life. House is large for 2 @ 2200 sqr feet now that the kids are out on their own but its paid off and where we want to live. Staying put for now but we both agree at some point in our lives we will sell and go for a smaller place somewhere. It won’t be a tiny house but tinier than what we have now.

  8. BeSmartRich

    Living within means is really the key to accumulate stealth wealth and that’s how I am accelerating my net worth. It is something that many people can achieve easily with some discipline and hope more people read your blog to be inspired!

    Thanks for sharing!


  9. “it’s so quiet. Nobody bothers to walk up a hill when they could just harass people and puke on flat land.”

    This made me chuckle! All the way from the UK!

    Great read and very true, I even got rid of Facebook for a month!

  10. haha that sounds like a great offer! The main reason that drew me to want to sign this lease is it is a brand new waterfront rent stabilized housing lottery that only a group of 900 people had been selected to occupy. Coming across this opportunity will likely not occur again in my lifetime. Just wanted to make sure I don’t regret my decision when I hopefully reach early retirement by continuing to follow your blog!

    My thought reasoning is will opting for this 2 bed 2 bath lease for 2700/month rather than buying a 1 bedroom coop in Manhattan be a financially smart move towards early retirement??

  11. Not sure if my reply was posted properly. At 1350/month for rent, I can definitely max out my 401k. However, I take the risk of not finding a roommate. At 2700/month in rent, I would not be able to save much in my 401k.

    I also pay all rent and utilities at home totaling 2k/month since I am the eldest child and will continue to so if I elect to either take the rent stabilized apt or purchase a home.

    Yes, I have a good amount saved so far in line with your above average net worth recommendations. haha thanks for the link recommendations.

    But my most important question is: Should I sign the lease tomorrow or continue to live at home and save?

    Thank you in advance!!

    1. My advice is to ask yourself which decision do you want to own? As Sam mentioned we are in the tail end of a housing bull market, so you should have more time to pick up a good deal in the future. However if you are keen to jump on this place by all means do it now. But either way you will have to own that decision for yourself regardless of the outcome.


    2. Seems like you are trading way up to a level you can’t afford.

      If you can’t pay rent (or mortgage) and at a minimum put the maximum toward your 401k, it’s a long road to financial independence… especially in an area like NYC. You would need to put the max into a 401k for nearly a full career (30+ yrs) to get close to a decent retirement balance.

      Short term, not having a roommate could be okay, but you would have to find one in the long term that you would be happy living with.

      Financially, this isn’t moving you very far ahead. Perhaps your income could use some work if you can’t afford to live on your own and save for yourself?

  12. Frank owens

    Learn how to invest your money and you can live how ever you want. Just don’t spend anything and solely focus on the pursuit of investing properly and you can live lush. If you aren’t making at least 15% with under 10 million in capital then I see why you should probably clip coupons and give up on the good life Rent and finance everything as long as you do your work and learn how to invest properly invest because cash is king if you can make it work for you

    1. How do you ensure at least 15% returns on your capital? Doable, I agree, but it is the rare exception over a lifetime.

  13. Everyone talks about living within a frugal life but it is very difficult to define frugal. What is frugal on the coasts is probably rich life in other parts of the country, so is there any formula the Financial Samurai recommends? How much would one need to save based on the income, adjusted for cost of living?

  14. Inspiring list of benefits you’ve shared, although I do get the odd pangs of guilt reading posts like this, having just recently taken a big step in the opposite direction with our family home. I think we’ve stretched ourselves to get exactly what we want, and are just living within our means – so now the journey starts to find other areas to simplify, as I’m definitely on board with the benefits. At least this home should be our baseline for the rest of our lives before we eventually downsize, so working hard to increase income and cut a few other expenses should be all upside from here!

    1. Finding that “forever home” always feels great. I felt like I hd found the forever home 10 years ago with my larger house. But now, I think I’ve really found my forever home with this house. It can comfortably house a family of 4 (just had 6 people total for Thanksgiving and it was fine).

      Enjoy your home! And once you become empty nesters, I’m sure you’ll enjoy smaller digs as well!

  15. It’s a good feeling to have the freedom to consciously choose less.

    With a growing family, it’s easy to get caught up with matching other parents’ actions, or your own desires for doing it all for your children. It’s even harder to have the energy to live a conscious life and make those decisions that are good in the long run but occasionally painful in the short run, e.g. 4 living in a 2br condo. Tight squeeze, but it forces us to make tradeoffs on what we want vs need and eliminating the fluff that weighs down many families.

  16. Thias @It Pays Dividends

    This is a great reminder that bigger and better isn’t always better for you. You can’t let outside influences affect your decisions. When you do, that is when your happiness is affected as well, and it isn’t always for the better. Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. It’s best for the economy if you spend every cent you earn as it pumps up current gdp/economy. It is best for you to limit your spending to build up reserves and achieve true financial independence. Gaining the power to step off the treadmill means freedom and choice. Pushing to FI is rebellion, nothing less. Be a rebel with me!

  17. Everyone can live within their means. The question is, will they want to? You point out several tangible benefits of living a minimalist lifestyle, and one more is ease in retirement planning. This is not only from the financial perspective (because it is obvious if you save more today, you will have more assets for your retirement) but from the psychological perspective too. If you are used to a basic lifestyle, sticking only to your needs and splurging once in a while, as opposed to on a regular basis, you won’t feel a kick in the stomach when it’s time to control your spending habits once you retire. In other words, you won’t have to diminish your standard of living because you are already enjoying life with the minimum amount of material spending.

  18. Robert Steele

    This article sounds like a justification for being poor.

    Sure I’m financially independent too! I don’t have to work because I live in a modest sized cardboard box under the highway overpass!

    1. Way to miss the entire point of the article, dude.

      Most people have a poor net worth because they finance a life of excess thinking that’s what it takes to be happy, when in fact they’d probably be much happier (more free) with less shit they don’t need (and stress) and more money in the bank (peace of mind).

      That doesn’t mean they can’t be motivated to accomplish great things in life, career or otherwise…aside from just accumulating depreciating junk to impress other people…

  19. Great reminder to all of us to have gratitude for what we have, and for those who have helped us along the way. Two great quotes come to mind…

    “Don’t look in other people’s bowls to see what they have. The only time you look in other people’s bowls is to make sure they have enough!” – Louis C.K.

    “Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

  20. Hi Sam- I love your posts and follow your blog daily. Great job! I have an urgent issue and need advice. I currently live at home in Manhattan in a rent controlled apt and am able to save a lot monthly. I just won a NYC housing lottery for a 2bed 2bath in lic for 2700 a month for a luxury waterfront building and I am allowed to have a roommate after 1 year. This would requires almost 32k in rental expenses for the first year which I do get back. I am also looking to purchase a coop for about 700k in seaport (lowest average cost is 650k for similar coops). I have enough saved for the downpayment with emergency savings. The landlord requires me to sign the lease tom morning if I want the apt or it will be given to the next applicant. What should I do? This is urgent as time is of the essence! Thank you in advance!!

    1. pmfji, but my two cents is this: Stay at home another year and save, save, save. Winter is coming.

    2. I’d check the selling restrictions of the lottery apartment. There usually are some, as they are usually reserved for lower income folks in a housing shortage city. But then again, you say the place is a luxury waterfront place and you plan to spend $700,000 on another place? Can you elaborate on this situation?

      1. The rent stabilized apartment is a rental only with rents stabilized to perpetuity where I can sign a 1 year or 2 year lease with option to renew. This lottery is a moderate income lottery. I could spend 700k for a 1 bedroom coop in Seaport district in lieu of the rental. 1 bedroom coops in the building are going for 630k unrenovated and would require a full apartment renovation. Coops in the 700k range are renovated and would required no time to renovate and sweat equity. I would assume a full 1 bedroom apartment renovation would require ~60k.

        A condo in this area is out of my price range. Which would you choose? Thanks Sam! I am requested to sign the lease in the morning in NYC tomorrow if interested so my decision time is very limited.

      2. However, both renting and buying would decrease my contribution to 401k savings which I am currently maxing out due to my ability to live at home and save. In other words, most of my monthly savings would either go to this rent stabilized apartment (which most NYers would love to get a hold of since the rent is way below market-rate) or into a mortgage for the 1 bedroom Coop in the Seaport district. Any advice or recommendations would be greatly appreciated!!

        1. Buying a $700,000 one bedroom doesn’t sound like a great idea at what I think is the tail end of a RE bull market.

          I’d win the lottery and rent out a bedroom when you can, while saving as much as possible.

          How old are you, and how long have you been living at home?

          1. I am only allowed to rent to a roommate after living there for one year and according to law, can only rent the room for 1/2 of 2700 which is 1350. I am not allowed to profit from my rental. However, this option also drastically reduces my 401k savings. The plus side is that I do not have to touch my current savings to use it for a down payment.

            My last option is to continue to live at home in a rent controlled apartment and save more as JayCeezy had mentioned. I am 32 and have lived at home since graduating college…haha I am part of the millennial generation statistic that still lives at home!

            1. At 32, is it not possible to still max out a 401k and pay $2,700/month or $1,350/month in rent living in an expensive area? If no, then perhaps even $2,700/month in living expenses is too much for you. After 10 years of living at home, I’ve got to believe you’ve been able to save WAY MORE than what you can max in your 401k no?

              You might enjoy these posts:
              How To Get Girls If You Still Live At Home With Mom & Dad
              A Massive Generational Wealth Transfer Is Why Everything Will Be OK! – Agree?

            2. At 1350/month for rent, I can definitely max out my 401k. However, I take the risk of not finding a roommate. At 2700/month in rent, I would not be able to save much in my 401k.

              Yes, I have a lot saved so far. haha thanks for the recommendations. But my most important question is: Should I sign the lease tomorrow or continue to live at home and save? Thank you in advance!!

              1. Sounds like you should just continue to live at home. If you’re happy still living at home at age 32, then what’s another 10 years or so?

                If you really wanted to move and be independent, you would have done it long ago no? But then again, perhaps living at home has not given you the confidence to make tough decisions?

                I just can’t tell bc I wanted to be independent asap.

                Maybe you can write a guest post for me on your thought process of living at home until 32. I think it would be fascinating!

  21. We live on about a third of our income and the mental peace that comes from never having to worry about money is one of the greatest sources of happiness in my life.

    Example 1: With 2 people we rent a 2 bedroom apt instead of buying a big house, and since I don’t really enjoy cleaning or maintenance tasks, the sheer number of unpleasant hours avoided is unbelievable.

    Example 2: We moved close to the train and went down to one car. One less car to find parking for, keep up, and stress about getting dings. Plus taking the train is less stressful than driving around the city.

    I grew up in a typical consumery type family and most of my peers have also taken up this lifestyle. A minimized life is a relief.

  22. I definitely agree with keeping the house clean aspect. The more rooms, the more stuff, and the more you have to deal with. I try to clean and maintain my home without hiring help, and even when I moved from a one bathroom to a two bathroom, and finally to a three bathroom home, it became more of a hassle to maintain! Even something as buying a new toilet brush or cleaning agent was a chore! It is, however, manageable now. :-)

  23. I really like the second half of that quote, “remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” We should regularly count our blessings – especially today being Thanksgiving – and appreciate how much we already have. We really don’t need a lot of things to be happy or comfortable. These are all things we can redefine and adjust. I think it’s wonderful that you were able to downsize and save money. Feeling like you’re getting good value is what I always try to aim for when I spend money. I’m also a fan of minimizing our wants and belongings. The less we have the less we have to lose and the simpler life is. The more stuff we have the more we have to lose and the more headaches, stress, and clutter we can end up having. Living within your means also helps lower your carbon footprint. There are ways to live comfortably while bit by bit adopting a more minimalist lifestyle – this is what I like to remind myself of often. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  24. I’ve always lived well below my means. That is crucial to anyone’s financial success. There comes a point in time though that you have everything you need yet you still have the desire to accomplish and create, thus more money is inevitably generated. That money has to go somewhere, so why not go towards a “better” life? I’m all for efficiency and saving, but there has to be balance.

    You could certainly sell your SF homes and relocate to Kansas City and do nothing for the rest of your life – probably 10 lives. Yet, I think being in a nice place and remaining there is a reward in itself for all the hard work and it keeps you motivated and thinking. I think it’s actually fun to optimize and save on things – it’s a good feeling – but there are certain things that we all value and let loose on. For me, travel and housing are two things that I live for – so I think my money will always go towards a nice place to live (not inefficient) and seeing other parts of the world.

    So yeah, I totally agree with you, but there also has to be balance. It’s not possible for certain people to just “stop” after they get enough, yet there has to be motives to continue. Hope that makes sense?

    1. Makes sense. Like you, I really enjoy travel and finding a comfortable home to live. Finding a relaxing environment was key for me after I left day job life in 2012 because I knew I’d be home for at least four hours more each day. Therefore, the utility I’d get from a home would be much more.

      I’ve never really driven much living in a city, hence it wouldn’t feel good getting a very expensive car.

      Traveling is great for 2-3 weeks at a time max. Still can’t get myself to pay for business class or much more than a 3 star hotel though!

  25. I’m not at the point where downsizing is a thing I can do, but I can certainly say that you are absolutely right about the need to live on less.

    Having more “stuff” doesn’t lead to more happiness. It leads to the need to work more to pay for it. I can’t say that anything out there trumps my desire for financial freedom. Not even an Xbox One with Halo 5 and Batman: Arkham Knight (and I’ve been a hardcore gamer since I was five).

    My mother can’t understand why I don’t want to own a car. In a major city with a public transportation system that reaches almost every city block, I can’t imagine why anyone WOULD want to sink $8,000/year on a depreciating asset.

    ARB–Angry Retail Banker

  26. Earn upper class and live middle class – simple formula for financial success and life satisfaction. Yes!!

    I’ve been doing this for the last 15 years and the payoff is dramatic. Asking the question how much is enough instead of how much can I afford leads to spending less, having a smaller environmental footprint and a bigger net worth.

    Also, I love how aware you are of the MANY benefits of this approach to life. You’ve highlighted a few things I was benefiting from but hadn’t really noticed :) Thanks!

  27. I am living below my means, but i sometimes feel the urge to buy a bigger house. And at the moment is just my wife and I. So, right now i will be in my house for more than 10 years at least unless i could make a huge profit if i sell. Also, i haven’t bought expensive new cars and dont plan to in the future. (I have a new one that i bought 3 years ago)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *