I read a financial article the other day that hit home with me. In it, the author was giving advice about saving money (big surprise) but he wasn't talking about things like "cut out your trips to Starbucks." Instead he was advocating living with less, using things longer and the like. Now he wasn't saying we should live in a tent, or only own 3 pairs of socks, but was much more realistic. It resonated with me on a couple of levels.
One of the things he mentioned was housing. Why do we need such big houses? Why do you consider it a "starter home?" He said that he and his wife bought the house they will stay in. The smaller home was more affordable, easier to take care of, and greener, being smaller and already built that building a new home on land that could be used for something else. The smaller home takes less energy to heat and cool and therefor costs less. Of course he and his wife worked really hard, saved oodles of money and retired in their 40's. Oops, too late for that for me. ahhh well.
Now, I have what would be considered a starter home. Originally three bedrooms, one bath, built in 1959. There have been some additions since then, including more living space, and another bathroom. It still isn't a huge or modern home, but it is comfortable for us, and we love the location, a reasonably quiet neighborhood, convenient to town. I have dreamed of moving up. Don't get me wrong. Carl is using one of the living spaces as a bedroom, and while I don't begrudge him that, I do miss the space as common area.
I know people think that you move into a bigger place, and then pretty soon you get more stuff and fill it up. Honey, I pretty much filled this house with the stuff I owned when I bought it, before I met Ron, had Raine, and before Carl moved in. I'm sure if we moved into something bigger, the stuff would just relax and fill the space without buying a thing. Stuff we have. I like stuff. But, I'm also coming around to a point of view that I don't really need or have use for ALL of it. I've purged some, and it felt good. Moving to a bigger place would mean that more of the stuff could and would stay even longer than it already has, and I know that it is time to let some of it go. A lot of it, in fact. Summer project, here I come!
So, philosophically, I can reach my head around staying in this smaller home, in more ways than one. Financially, it is also so much smarter. We refinanced and the lower interest rates helped a lot. Still, those places call to me, sometimes. The lure of new stuff, better stuff is hard to resist for those of us brought up in the consumer age. The age of planned obsolescence; trendy fashions; keeping up with the Joneses, and all those commercials demanding we buy, buy, buy. I'm learning to just NOT. So, here's my green contribution for Earth Day.