Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Downsizing- Hidden Savings

Our new apartment- front view. Ours is the brown door on the left.

On Sunday, my family moved from a 980 square foot apartment with a yard to a 525 square foot yardless place.
While our rent has suddenly dropped a whopping 200 dollars, we now have new payments on our heads- a special community tax and the required down payment on the homeowner's association fee (just in case we decide to buy here in the future).
While we are saving $200 a month on rent, after all's said and done with these extra fees, we only come out 100 dollars richer at the end of the month.

Does saving a hundred dollars make moving to a much smaller place worthwhile?
Let's do some math.
I paid 250 dollars for my movers. Lets assume that I had to pay that out of pocket and didn't make the money to cover my move by selling things I decluttered.

If moving to a smaller place makes me 100 dollars richer a month, already in 2.5 months, I would have made back the money spent moving, and then in the rest of the year, I would have kept an extra 950 dollars in the bank. We signed a 27 month lease, so on rent alone we will have saved 2400 dollars by the end of our lease.
Those 100 dollars a month certainly add up.

But aside for this obvious extra money by paying less rent, there are the hidden savings in downsizing. Certainly every downsize has its different savings and expenses, but here are the savings that I am already seeing because of our move.

Climate Control
Smaller homes mean fewer rooms to heat up, fewer rooms to cool down. Less money spent on these environmental tweaks is more money in the bank. In the winter, more people in an enclosed area gives you more radiant body heat, reducing the need to pay for heating, as your body heat is warming up each other. (Ok, it is almost summer, but I'm thinking long term.)
Downsizing means decluttering.
Because I have a smaller space, I don't have room for many of my electrical appliances. Out went the food processor and the vacuum cleaner, out went the electric hot plate and the electric mixer. By getting rid of these energy suckers, I am firming my resolve to not pay the electric company for something I can do more cheaply. Electricity savings right there.
Out went our fish tank, the biggest money suck in our apartment. Constantly running filters and lights, air pumps and heaters, this hobby is very expensive. Not having a tank will hopefully lower our electric and water bills drastically, in addition to stopping us from spending money on this hobby- with no tank, there will be no reason to buy those expensive fish and equipment, etc.
Less Space is Less Mess
Less floor space is less area to clean, cutting the cleaning time down. The smaller the space, the more one needs to declutter. The fewer things owned, the less tempting it is to pay others to clean for you, as cleaning is easier.
Fewer rooms means fewer electric lights for the same amount of brightness, hence less money on electricity.
No Yard
No yard means no outdoor animals. Food previously designated for them can now feed the family instead, netting less spent on groceries.
No yard means no water wasted on gardening, no money spent on gardening equipment that sits around unused, accumulating rust.
No Space for a Dryer
With no space to store this money guzzler, clothing will be line dried, saving us lots of money.

These are all universal aspects of why downsizing saves money, beyond the actual cost of rent.
Additional money saving perks of our family's move:
Moving to a more affluent area. People in more expensive areas are usually willing to pay more for services, making child minders and cleaners like myself in luck.
My old home was in a poorer community with lower priced homes. It was a great community despite its poverty, making it very appealing location. Apartment availability could not meet the demand; prices were hiked because that was what the market would bear. Because of this, surprisingly, apartments are cheaper in my current relatively affluent community than they were in my previous, poorer community.
Turning over a new leaf. Starting afresh in a new place always gives a good incentive to kick into gear and accomplish your goals. I'm more motivated now than ever to cut back excess spending and energy wastage.

In addition to all the above, by moving to our current apartment, we have many more personal money saving opportunities about which I do not care to elaborate.

Was it worth it losing half of our living space and only saving 100 dollars per month? Definitely, because it ends up being much more than 100 dollars in savings each month.

Have you ever downsized? In which ways did you find it saved you money? Did you find your move cost you more money in the long run or less money? Was such a move worth it for you?

This is part of the Penny Pinching blog party and Frugal Friday

1 comment:

  1. My family and I have sold our house...a BIG house...but we are nearly empty-nesters and are trying to wrap our heads around the idea of a SMALL house...your post reminded me of the benefits of down-sizing! Thanks! P.S. I'm a first time visitor to your blog...and plan on checking it out often. :)


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