One of the greatest difficulties is life is having to deal with money. Lack of money period from anything is a huge headache and one to bring many stressful days as the rent due day approaches. Most Americans are “house poor” especially now as the real estate bubble has popped.
Just now, the front page article on Yahoo! Is How a Couple Lives in a 240-square-foot Apartment…for only $1500 a month in New York.
In the last two places I lived, I did even better. Just prior to my current bare boned living which cost me so little, I went on Craigslist and lived in one of the upstairs bedrooms of a nice lady whose sons had moved out. I was just charge barely over $400/ month and that included all utilities and an internet connection.
Prior to that, I lived with two of my best friends in a two bedroom apartment. I lived in the living room, and the two friends lived in either of the two bedrooms. We shared a kitchen and a bathroom. My share of the rent was just $115.00…since I had no “privacy”, which I did not really care about.
Stories like what I linked shows how even in expensive places like New York City, you can pay $500/month per month and below. In Chicago, away from downtown, in a nice neighborhood, you can do even better. Just a couple of years ago, my other friend Mike lived in a house that was a “coop”. He paid about $400.00/month but that included all food! All he had to do was to cook once every 14 days with “coop” budgeted money.
The cheaper you can live, the fuller your life can be. I have been in many such “coop” style living all my life. Providing you are an easy person to get along with (which I am), moving your rent/living expenses around an average of $300 and $400 is doable. Oh yes, I forgot to also mention living for a short while last year in the YMCA, for $440.00 per month, which included my own private bathroom and all utilities and an Internet connection.
Living this way is just awesome. Your daily living expense works out to just ten dollars per day which makes it so easy to cover rent expenses. Then, your free time can be spend creatively thinking about how to really enjoy yourself and do things you wish.
Remember what we discussed about “habituation” as a phenomena in human nature. Your mind will get used to a 400 sq foot studio the same as you get accustomed to a 4000 sq foot living space. The difference of course, is thousands of dollars…
In the first example, you can work if you wish at even minimum wage job and work just one hour per day to cover rent. In the second example, you would have to work two minimum wage jobs FULL TIME plus weekends if just to cover rent.
This “privacy” thing is very overrated. You need not suffer needlessly. Drop down to Earth, reject Society’s telling you that you have to live in ever larger square foot adobes. And this increase in living space does not make one more happy at all. I just read a Gallup Poll study back in 1950, which asked respondents to consider their living spaces and their satisfaction of them. (At that time, the average sq. foot home was just under 1000 square feet (983). Now, with so many McMansions, the average sq foot home ballooned to over 2300 square feet. And the respondents replied that they were NO happier today than over sixty years ago.
This goes to show that it doesn’t make any difference over the long term in your happiness the size of your house. But will make a huge difference is the amount of your happiness. If you can adjust, and you CAN, adjust to living in a smaller space, your stresses of having to work so hard to cover a giant rent/mortgage price at the end of the month floats away, leaving time for you to enjoy many other of Life’s joys.