This reminds me of an interview I read with the late, great, LDS scholar High
Nibley. Dr. Nibley said that he and his wife had lived in the same small
bungalow near the BYU campus for all the decades of their marriage. He said that
virtually all of the similar bungalows around him had been torn down and
replaced by McMansions. He said that almost all of the people who lived in these
mansions were faithful Mormon Church members, but he did not think that any of
them really understood the gospel.
A thoughtful article. Having lived most of my married life in a
"starter" home I can relate. Modest homes provide more disposable
income for other needs and sometimes wants. Life has a way of changing demands
on an income, so to max out your budget on a McMansion will leave you "house
poor" years down the road. Little or no money for college,
missions and other items that seem so far in the future. They come faster than
planned. Cities do not like nor support smaller homes, as there is less taxable
value.Smartly designed smaller homes are a good idea IMO.
I am not as concerned about how large my home is as I am about having an
attached garage. I do not like to scrape snow off of cars. It is difficult to
find a modest home with a three car garage.
We tried to find a small home, there are just the two of us, but it was nigh
impossible. We wanted the best neighborhood we could afford and that meant
large homes. We have come to regret it, but can't find a small home
(unless it is Sugar House) in the areas we like. Definitely a sticky situation,
No one should buy a bigger home than they can afford. Everyone should live
within their means whether they make $50K a year or $10M.But there
seems to be this growing dislike for anyone who can afford a bigger home. If
someone wants a big home in a gated community and they can easily afford it,
then it is not my place to denigrade them. Small homes are nice too and I
wouldn't think of saying something mean about someone just because they
live in one.Is it just envy, or is the war against wealth just
I would encourage young families looking for a home to consider the points this
author makes. When we were looking for a home to raise our family in
we bought a smaller home than the bank said we could afford with our income at
the time. There was nothing really noteworthy about it except it had a huge
yard and was in a good area. As our income fluctuated dramatically over the
years our family grew we were able to offer our children the stability of living
in one home. We were able to fix it up nicely with the money we saved on a low
mortgage and are well on our way to owning it outright. While I was
not too excited when we first bought it, as my dream home was a little more
lofty, I have come to appreciate it exactly for the reasons cited in this
article, and for the stability it offered our family in a very unstable economic
world. A great book to read on the subject is The Not-so-big House
by Sarah Susanka.
I don't understand why so many people have to have these huge houses. They
justify it by saying that they need a bedroom for every child. What's wrong
with sharing? I know of a family that has seven children and only 4 bedrooms and
they are very happy. Once the children grow up, their house is empty. People
justify it by saying they will now have room for their children and their
families. It's a lot cheaper to get a nice hotel room or two then having
these homes. I guess it is their money to burn. I've been living in my
starter home for over 20 years. It is paid off and I only pay for insurance and
taxes. Happy am I!
My wife, myself and our 4 kids and dog have lived in a 2bed/2bath, 900 square
foot home for the past 7 years. I haven't slept in the same room as my
wife in 3 and a half years, my permanent sleeping place is on the floor in the
master bedroom (the boys' room). My oldest son sleeps on the floor in the
living room, and the dog uses one of the bathrooms as his residence.We have poor insulation and an energy inefficient air conditioner and heater.
I've seen new houses twice this size pay less utilities each month. We are
saving zero on utilities for our size.Our mortgage has been under
water almost the entire 7 years, so we can't leave. We have perfect
credit, have not missed a single payment, but there's no end in sight. I
tell myself every day that, "at least it's better than the
pioneers" who often lived in one room houses with 10 kids.Are
there virtues in small-home living? Maybe, but for my situation, not really.
Small, medium, or large is totally up to the family that is buying a home. Each
individual buying needsto do some research and prayerfully make that
decision. For some reason when I stand before the Lord Idon't think
one of his questions will be "What kind of house I lived in" but more on
the lines of "How did I teatmy family, neighbors, etc." Even
possibly one of those questions may just be "Did you judge Others?" I find many comments very judgmental. God just said "Love Thy
Neighbor". Doesn't matter what they live injust do it. Love is
the Master Key to everything in life.
It is our 21st year in our "starter home." We purchased it on a 30-year
mortgage, paid it off in 10 years, and stayed. The thought of having a mortgage
again makes me shudder. At some point, you run into that "not
enough room" scenario that makes you evaluate the baggage that comprises
your possessions. In a smaller home, that happens sooner, which I like. The
key is to replace the problem statement, "not enough space" with the
more-correct, "too much stuff."I had a chuckle at
Sally's comment about the three-car garage. Then I remembered thinking
recently it was hard to find a modest home with RV parking, and had a chuckle at
myself. It all ties back to the same lessons."Stuff" is an
excellent trap. A place for your money to go that could have gone somewhere
else, then it needs stored and maintained--more money and time to pour into it.
All for something that probably has zero Eternal value in and of itself.Moth and rust...treasures in heaven...good lessons for us all.
Marvelous article! I'm taping it to my wall as a reminder. I've
suffered from Big House Envy for many years, especially when I see giant
gorgeous ones going up just a street over.But lately I've
realized my family is shrinking. By next summer we'll be down to only five
kids in the house, and our very modest home will certainly seem too big in just
ten years, when it will be paid off. My husband and I have already decided
we'll build ourselves a tiny house when our youngest is gone, because stuff
just slows us down, and if we had one of those bigger houses I've coveted,
I'd only have to buy more furniture for it, spend more on maintenance . . .
oh, why bother! Gimme a cabin in the woods . . . with modern plumbing, please.
As I get older, downsizing is more appealing.
Rule to live by: Never buy a bigger house than you want to clean.
To each his own! My husband and I built our home - probably larger than we
really needed but with the understanding that we would have space for our kids
while they were growing up and space for married kids and grand kids to have a
leg up when they needed it. We have never been sorry!!! 4 of our five grown up
kids have used our space in between jobs, after a rough patch, on their way to
higher education, etc. Plus when everyone comes home to visit there is room to
hang out. We drive old cars, we don't have fancy furniture or go out to eat
very often but we do have a home that is open to help those who need it.
Don't judge others!!!!
re: JoeCapitalist2"Is it just envy, or is the war against wealth
just raging on?"No. Its just common sense.to Idaho
DadBingo. Its not all about acquistion of stuff. In
other words, as Ghandi said, "Live simply, so that others may simply
There's nothing at all wrong with buying a larger home if one can afford
it. We all have different needs and desires. Let's celebrate home
Joe Capitalist -"Is it just envy, or is the war against wealth
just raging on?"Who is waging war on the wealthy?Oh
. . . You mean Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, the two richest Liberals in America
who insist that high earners are not paying enough in income taxes?So they're waging war on themselves huh?Well Joe Capatilist,
are they winning? . . . And how can you tell?And if
they're winning, are they losing too?Or do people who make
silly comments about a "war against wealth" simply don't know what
they're talking about?
Utah is second to Texas where bigger is better mentality. Success is only proven
when you flaunt it with a big home and new cars. Utah is best known for this. I
lived in that same rat race till I moved away from Utah. In a world
of personal freedom, very little or no debt is the best freedom of all.
It is all about envy. It's also about pride - the bad kind. But that's
the problem the church has always had. The scriptures spend a lot more time
warning about seeking riches than it does warning about envy. It's hard for
a rich man to get into heaven but I bet all the poor that get into heaven have
been envious of the full stomachs and possessions of the wealthy. When people have a big house they always get a kick out of people praising it.
I have a small house by today's standards at 1500 sq ft with solar panels
and good insulation. It all helps the ends meet. I'd like an even smaller
cabin when my daughter is grown.I grew up in a 900 sq ft home and my
parents still live in it.