Buy a small house and win big

By Gail Vaz-Oxlade | MoneySense


Houses have grown to outrageous sizes. Termed "McMansions," these homes would function as hotels in Europe or Asia, but here in Canada one family needs 3,500-6,000 square feet to not get under each other's feet. Don't even get me started on the rabid renovation cycle that sees perfectly good kitchens, bathrooms and floors being ripped out and replaced for the sake of fashion. "Oh dah-ling, cherry wood is so passé!" All this while we're banking next to nothing for the future. Heaven help us.


Big ol' TV star that I am, I live in a modest home. (Rumour has it the mansion being built down by the lake is either mine or Elton John's.) I call my home, "My Little House" and I love it for a whole bunch of reasons.


Smaller means fewer carrying costs. My Little House costs about $94 a month to heat and just a little more than that to cool. And if you downsize your mortgage along with your living space, you can get to mortgage-free even faster! Hey, I'm there. It's wonderful.


Smaller means more to save. Because my carrying costs are lower, I can stash away more for retirement. The thought of being old and sick is bad enough. Being poor too would really suck!


Smaller means less work. From vacuuming to yard maintenance and roof replacement, a smaller home means you have to pay out less to keep your home from falling into ruins.


Smaller means more time. If you swap a big house for something smaller that's more convenient to work, your commute will shorten and your personal will grow.


Smaller means less stuff. There's nothing to put a damper on spending like not having anywhere to put the stuff you would buy.


Smaller means more family. One of the biggest downsides to a big home (from a mommy's perspective) is how easy it is to spread out and not see each other. If your dining room doubles as the homework space, you can help with homework while you make dinner. There's a lot to be said for cozy.



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