Yep, you read that right. When we relocate at the end of the month, we’ll be living in an apartment THREE TIMES the size of our current place. Obviously, this is the wrong direction for someone who is saving up to build a tiny house.
It wouldn’t have been my first choice to live in such a big space. In fact, I kind of freaked out when the initial excitement of finding a place had worn off.
Why did I react this way to scoring, what most people would consider, a pretty sweet apartment? Well, I have some ideas about that.
I’m a Minimalist
Scratch that. Mr. Tiny Ambitions and I are both self-proclaimed minimalists. We know we don’t need this much space. We were very comfortable in our one bedroom, 603 square foot apartment for the last two years. So how could we possibly need a THREE BEDROOM, 1800 square foot apartment?
I have very serious reservations about whether or not we’ll actually use all the extra/new space. But, I have no plans to ‘fill up’ the space with stuff (with the exception of buying myself a new desk because I recently sold my old one). In fact, I informed all of my family members that, if they want to visit, they will need to bring their own beds. This is why Airbnb was invented, people.
What it boils down to is, we don’t want to be wasteful in the space. Thankfully, our utility costs are included as part of our rent. That means we won’t be paying extra to heat or cool a space we might not use. And, it will be easier for us to not heat or cool the extra bedrooms in the first place. Keeping our consumption in check while living in this new space, is important to me.
Obviously, minimalists don’t have to live in small spaces to ‘qualify’ for the minimalist club. But, for us, this new apartment will be the biggest space we’ve ever lived in as adults. And that has caused some trepidation on our part.
All About the Benjamins
A big part of my hesitation about this new space is related to our finances. “Can we afford it?” was on a loop inside my brain. Tripling our living space obviously comes with a higher price tag – double, in fact, compared to what we are paying now. Once I started interrogating the “can we afford it” question, I realized that wasn’t actually what I was worried about. Yes, we can “afford it”. We’ve been spoiled the last two years with artificially low rent because we lived in a rural area. Realistically, there was no way we would have been able to find an apartment in a big Canadian city that met our list of requirements, for the same amount we had been paying. That apartment doesn’t exist.
No, what I was actually worried about was how the increase in our living expenses would affect my ability to save for the things that are important to me (namely, the tiny house, and retirement). Before I went down the spiral of “we can’t afford this” to “I’m never getting a tiny house” (ok, I went down that spiral a little bit), I got out my calculator (aka my phone), and did some math.
I won’t bore you with the actual numbers here. The long and short of it is, even with the increase in rent, I will still be able to contribute what I originally planned to, to my tiny house savings account and my retirement account. That realization alone brought down my stress level about the move by 1000%. Minimalism has also helped in this regard, because, I’m no longer a compulsive shopper, and we’ve got frugal eating in the bag.
How did we end up in 1800 square feet?
A couple of key factors went into our decision to sign a lease on a three-bedroom apartment. And I do want to emphasize that it was a choice. It’s a choice I am grateful I have the ability to make.
We had two weeks to find a place to live. Two weeks! In a city we’d never lived in, while I was still 16 hours away. Did I mention that long-distance apartment hunting is stressful?
2) The Fuzz Bucket (aka our cat)
Having a pet seriously narrowed down our viable living options. There were quite a few spots we found that were cheaper than the one we settled on, and were just as nice – but pets were not allowed. You better enjoy all that extra space, Bacall! (If you listen closely, you will be able to hear the sound of Bacall not caring).
3) The Wow Factor
Over the last two years of living where we do, we realized we value two things in a living space:
- Outdoor space (even just a balcony would do);
- A view (preferably of nature).
We did not want to ‘settle on a living space just because of the other constraints on our search. We knew we wouldn’t get both on our budget. But, we wanted to at least try for one. And we did!
This brings me to the most important point of this post.It's ok to spend money on what you value. Click To Tweet
I’d like to believe spending my money on experiences or travel would make me happy. But, I’m a homebody. I work from home and therefore spend an above average amount of time in our apartment. So, spending more on our rent makes sense for my day-to-day life (compared to other things I could choose to spend my money on). If you prefer a nomadic lifestyle, your housing may not be as much of a priority as it is for me.
And that’s ok.
That’s the whole point of this ‘minimalism’ thing after all: prioritizing what you value, regardless of what those values are.
Of course, this space won’t be forever. In fact, we’re hoping to snap up another smaller unit in the same building in a year.
But, for now, we’ll just have to be cozy in a, mostly empty, 1800 square foot apartment.
What’s the ‘right size’ space for you? Have your housing goals changed over time? Let me know in the comments.
Image Credit: Tiny Ambitions