Give Me Back My Five Bucks

Why I chose to live in a 215 sq. ft. apartment

Well, some of you know that Nic and I now have a place to live! :) Last week we went to view a unit, and as of February 15th, we will be living in a small 215 sq. ft. one-room apartment. It’s on the top floor of a 5-floor building, located in a beautiful neighbourhood about a 20-25 minute walk from downtown. In fact, I wrote an article on Moneyville earlier this week about it – but boy did I get slammed for that idea! I even did a radio interview on NewsTalk1010, but instead of it actually being a story on why I decided to live in a tiny apartment (and the benefits of small space living), the two announcers pretty much just made fun of me for 5 straight minutes. Awesome.

To be honest, I’m a little bit shocked at all of the criticism. There were some harsh comments – some of them racist (!) – but those ones got deleted rather quickly. Here are a few that I’d like to share and respond to.

My response: We chose to live in a small space, and yes, I’m proud of our decision to cut back in this area. I’m not here preaching small space living and minimalism – I’m talking about understanding your needs vs. wants, and how you want to live your life. Of all people, I realize that it’s beneficial to earn more money to make my life better – which is how I’m able to afford to come to Europe in the first place! I have worked my butt off earning multiple streams of income over the last 5 years. And sure, I’d love to “make a few extra hundred dollars a month” – we all would – and I’m trying as hard as I can to grow my business. But if and when I do make that extra money, I’d rather spend it on travel and exploring Germany and the rest of Europe, than on a bigger apartment.

My response: Seriously? There is “absolutely no reason to cheapen one’s living accommodations to save a few bucks”? What about when you’re in debt, or you want to save money? We chose a small apartment in one of the most desirable areas in town. There are no cockroaches, the apartment is clean, and the neighbourhood is beautiful. What we value right now is pretty much everything other than our apartment. I have a mortgage, and BF isn’t getting paid that much – so we had to make a choice. You can’t have everything that you want in life.

My response: I’m not bragging, I’m just trying to make a point that we don’t NEED as much space as we have here in our homes in North America. My choice is based on my lifestyle, just as your choice to have a massive deck is based on your lifestyle. I fully believe that 215 sq. ft. is functional for us, and I don’t see why we would pay to have more space than what we need.

My response: Comments like yours used to really get to me, but they don’t anymore. You don’t have to read my writing, but you do. You also don’t have to take the time to comment, but you did. Maybe you don’t agree with everything that I write about, but I’m doing my job by generating discussion.

If a big apartment or a huge deck is what makes you happy, then go for it. If you want your $5 latte from Starbucks every day, fine by me. No judgement here! We’re all different, and we all have our priorities, and I am extremely grateful that I know who I am, and what makes me feel fulfilled in life.

A big home won’t make me happy – which is why I’m living in a small 1-bedroom townhouse in Vancouver (even though I could have afforded a bigger home). My “dream job” won’t make me happy, so I’m doing the next best thing to ensure that I satisfy what I love to do most.

These are the choices that I’ve made. I’ve chosen to live in a small, cheap apartment because 1) I have a mortgage to pay at home, 2) we barely have any stuff with us, 3) we won’t be spending much time in the apartment anyway – other than to sleep and eat, and 4) we want to save as much as possible in order to go exploring on the weekends. We are also trying to accomplish one 3-4 day trip each month, as well as travel for most of August. It just wouldn’t be possible if we were paying more rent. And I don’t know about you, but I’d rather spend my time hanging out in Zurich, Amsterdam, Prague, Stockholm, and Venice, than in a bigger apartment. :)

Author: Krystal Yee

I’m a personal finance blogger and marketing professional based in Vancouver. I’m a former Toronto Star (Moneyville) columnist, author of The Beginner’s Guide to Saving and Investing, and co-founder of the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. When I’m not working, you can usually find me running, climbing, playing field hockey, or plotting my next adventure.


  1. eemusings says:

    I can’t think of a more apt situation in which to choose a small space. You are only in Europe temporarily, your income is potentially not as stable as it was, and you still have a mortgage back home. Honestly.

    • Brittany says:

      Geez, I can’t believe how mean people were! Given your situation, only being in Europe (EUROPE!!) temporarily, why would a 215 sq foot apartment not make sense? Like you said, you could have blown more money on a bigger apartment, but for what? No traveling in Europe and having more space for your lack of stuff? No way! HAVE FUN!!

  2. Sue says:

    Wow – the reaction to your article on Moneyville shocks me. You’ve a thicker skin than me. Given it’s short term (right around 6 months right) and you only took a suitcase/pack each and you’re in a foreign (European) city, it makes total sense. You have the rest of your life for space. I totally agree with you on choosing city over suburbs. That said, I’m not sure I can picutre just how small it actually is. Good luck with the new place, and all the European travel!

  3. Mznatural says:

    I want to start off by saying gee how arrogant of the commenters. I think people keep forgetting that finance is as personal as the clothes you chose or the food you eat- yes you make sure it covers the bases but once you decide x works for you its no one’s business about how you chose to spend your money. I personally think a few things one- they’re probably jealous and don’t understand that personal finance is personal and that you simply share tidbits and snippets of your life with us, so you live on less than you make and cut back in certain areas and that works for you and your bf.

    Secondly I realize more and more that people sometimes want to read up on things not with the intent of learning something new but rather trying to ‘outwit’ or flex their personal opinions.
    I love that you provide various financial strategies for the some of us trying to get on track financially- all that seem suitable for you and probably some to all that work for your readership. If those commenters can’t understand that basic concept of that then good luck to them and their salty Salliness.
    Overtime I’ve started to realize something- people sometimes like to pick fun or poke holes at a plan or rather make excuses than try it (of course reconfigured with their situation in mind) because they want to stay stuck and complain about it. Just my own experience, especially when it comes to financial behaviour modification or priority re-evaluation.
    Anyway I think you handled yourself well as always and keep up the great work!

  4. Ramona says:

    Pretty sure your readers here will be more understanding to your new digs. It’s surprising what type of comments people feel comfortable giving. But look at it this way – they read the article & it stirred them up enough to respond. Good for you! Enjoy the adventure.

  5. Kris says:

    Don’t worry about what people say. I too have lived in Europe temporarily and lived in a teeny tiny apartment. A lot of people take comfort in their things and space, while others don’t need them as much. Each person is different that way. I fully agree with your choice, and would most likely do the same thing. (In fact, I am doing the same thing so that I can go to Germany from Toronto this fall!)

    Enjoy Europe – it’s a wonderful place to be.

  6. Average Joe says:

    Congrats on finding the place! One of my favorite books is The Not So Big House. Smaller does not equal crappier. Sometimes it’s a ton more fun.

  7. These commenters must not understand European city living. I’ve had two close friends living Paris – one of them, albeit, Parisian – and their accommodations were tiny – 215 sounds about right for both, actually. The French, particularly, don’t put high value on living spaces or cars (you should’ve seen the POS my Parisian friend drove – she had no problem fitting into parking spaces, as she could bump the cars in front and behind her, and no one cared). Generally there’s more concern for things like good friends, good food, and travel – the very things you seem to be looking forward to (how European of you!). =)

    Also, sounds like some people might be a little bitter they can’t up and move to Europe. Good for you for going after your dreams. I, for one, am excited to hear about your travels.

  8. chicarmoire says:

    People who are defined by how nice a car they drive or a big house are shallow. We don’t need loads of stuff to be happy. Living simply saves money and the Earth. I live in a smaller house to save money on my mortgage payments, utilities, and furnishings. I drive a small car to save on gas. Most of the money I save doing this is set aside for retirement and my savings account. However, I do spend a bit of that money on stuff that makes me happy (e.g. going out with friends, video games, and Sephora).

    Maybe those folks are jealous because you’re not trapped in debt paying for a large deck?

  9. Iris says:

    I think people are missing the points of why you are choosing to live in a space like this. While I don’t think my BF and I could live in a 215 sq ft space for long we are in a completely different situation. If cutting down on my living space was going to get me a tour of europe I would not think twice about it, good job!

  10. Amanda says:

    Krystal, thank you for writing this post, it really hit home with me! I believe you’ve made an educated decision based on your chose lifestlye, way to go! I just had a conversation with a coworker about purchasing a condo, and while this is something that is appealing, I’m not in any sort of financial position to dive in right now due to to educational loans, making a student salary at a full time job and not being permanent, saving money for travel, not knowing where I want to settle, etc. My coworker looked at me as if I was out of my mind! I chose to live in a small apartment to meet my current financial needs. You’re right – it’s all about personal choice and suitability to a lifestyle.

  11. Jackie says:

    Arg. Those comments were kind of annoying to read. Have people never seen House Hunters International? In a lot of European city centers the apartments are super tiny.

    I think it’s smart to live in a 215 sq foot place for a temporary time. It would be frustrating if it was a permanent situation, but you have things to think about like your mortgage back home and the fact that you will be back in Canada in a few months. It forces you to not buy too much (you’ll have no where to put it) and makes you want to get out of the cramped living quarters and explore the city.

  12. Jeffrey says:

    There’s always going to be haters I guess! Sounds like you’ve learned to tune them out pretty well.

    People live and act in these very conventional ways because it’s what they’re comfortable with. You’re someone that’s challenging that, and that makes them uncomfortable.

    I’d love to live in 215 sq. ft. in Germany right now. Besides, who travels around the world to stay in fancy hotels? These commenters have almost surely never lived abroad.

  13. alana says:

    I cant believe those haters , they dont even know what they’re talking about. You work darn hard to be able to do just what you’re doing while still paying a mortgage and not having to hide from creditors every month. Some of those commenters probably still live in their moms basements, live in a mcmansion they cant afford or are so lost in debt they have no brain space left to even imagine how Germany may look.

    They’ll always be haters but dont you ever let them discourage you cause trust me, they’re more people out there who read your articles and follow your story for the positive value it adds rather than an outlet to thrash out their own deficiencies.

    Have fun in europe girl, I’m sure you and yours can find a few ways to warm up that small space!

  14. Shondell says:

    I can’t believe some of those comments. That’s the beauty of life , YOU get to do what YOU want to do. That’s your choice if you want to live in a 215 sq foot apartment. I don’t know if I could live in such a small space, but I sure wouldn’t criticize you for your choice. Besides traveling in my opinion is more important than spending money on rent.

  15. Jackie says:

    I read your article on Moneyville and saw some of these comments yesterday. I’ve intentionally tried to stop reading the comments on newspaper websites, especially Moneyville. They are always full of negativity and personal attacks on the writer. Often they are off topic and downright mean! Any time I’ve spent in Europe has been in small apartments or hostels (no roaches though!) in an effort to save money and get the most out of each city! An experience is worth much more to me. Congrats Krystal on brushing off all those offensive comments. And thanks for sharing your experiences with us!

  16. Don’t let those people ge you down. The chance to live and travel around Europe is so exciting and who cares if you live in a tiny apartment. I live in a bachelor apartment not much larger than that in North America. Do people think I’m cheap, filthy and have roaches?…..I don’t know but I do know that I love my apartment, it fits my needs right now and it allows me to save money for other things. To each their own. Forget about them!

  17. Michelle says:

    My biggest pet peeve is people telling you how to spend your hard-earned money. If you would like to spend your money on a small apartment and travelling around Europe more, then good for you! I, for one, don’t want to do that but then again, you might not want to spend money on a new sports car, like I will be. To each their own. Live life how you want to live it and ignore other people’s idiotic judgements.

    “If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased.”
    Katharine Hepburn

  18. Jolayne says:

    I’ll bet that the negative comments are from the same people who would tell me I should put my kids in daycare instead of raising them myself so that I can ‘make more money’. Why do so many people assume that my priority should be more money and more stuff!? We live comfortably – I don’t need more than that right now. We have great experiences together as a family and don’t have the stress of worrying about the size of the mortgage or rent payment.

  19. Mike Holman says:

    I would have hung up on that radio interview.

    Your apartment choice makes perfect sense to me. It fits your budget, your living situation and you get easy proximity to downtown.

  20. SP says:

    The PF community is very supportive of slightly unconventional choices that are financially smart. the world in general? Often not so much. And that sucks.

    Increasing your income and spending more on housing is what some people choose to do, which is fine. But I find the more I increase my “haves” the more I increase my “wants”.

    215 sq ft is a bit extreme, yes, but it isn’t forever, and it isn’t awful, and how you choose to save your money is your business. Personally, I think it was a really smart choice for your current situation!

  21. Emily says:

    OMG! Krystal I am absolutely outraged that people are reacting this way to YOUR decision to live in a smaller apartment. People these days base everything on “go big, or go home” and that’s why they are in debt and you’re not. You’ve made a very WISE decision to not a. live beyond your means and b. to not spend your money on stuff that doesn’t matter. You didn’t BUY a 215 sq ft. apartment, you’re renting! It’s not like you’ve made any long term commitments to this place and I think it is smart that you’d rather spend your money traveling (because the pound is at times 2x that of the Can. dollar) and just enjoying yourself. You’re not moving your entire family here. Its a place to rest your head! Gosh, absolutely appalled and I will now make a point to READ those Moneyville comments and comment back to people who are meanies! Keep up the great work, you’re an inspiration to many!!!! A lot of people don’t have the courage to give up their Benz and 2500 sq ft. homes to move to Europe and have the experience of a life time!!

  22. Ashley says:

    Hey Krystal!

    Not that shocked that Moneyville readers respond that way. Anonymity makes for a wicked tongue on that site it seems….

    Here’s the thing. I don’t agree with your decision to live small based on my own experience in living in Italy for a year. My roomie and I splurged unlike other students and we lived in an AMAZING apartment. And I think it went a long way to making my stay more enjoyable. Just my take on things.

    But I can also appreciate that you are planning on travelling on weekends and you don’t want to work from home.

    Good for you! Just because I don’t agree doesn’t mean I don’t respect your decision.

    I’m super excited to read about more about your trip, your tiny pad and your new freelance life.


  23. Rebecca says:

    Seriously? I think given your needs and situation – you made the most responsible decision – the same one that I would have made. I too have decided that I would prefer to give up space for convenience. In my situation is owning a home worth the 2.5 hours of daily commuting that I would have to endure? I think not.

    Are people forgetting that this is a temporary situation and not a forever situation?

  24. I think it’s great you can live like this. Just one important thing to note:

    It might be hard on the relationship, and you might drive each other crazy if both of you will be living there. No matter how much you like each other, people need their own space. Going from a 1/1 to a 2/2 significantly improved our quality of living then.

    Good luck!

    • Krystal Yee says:

      I totally agree that it will challenge our relationship. Thankfully, he has an office job to go to, so we won’t be competing for space during the day time. I think living in a small hostel room for the last 2 weeks has really tested how we will live together in our apartment.

  25. Man, people are nuts!

    My husband and I have been living and working in Daegu, South Korea for the past two years. We live in a one room apartment about the size you are mentioning and though it’s nothing to brag about, it’s not the end of the world! It’s exactly what you’re saying, just living in what you need rather than what you want for a couple of years to get a head. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything because it meant we could live in a foreign country together at the very beginning of our marriage SUPER cheap. A plus – if we can survive together in such tiny quarters with no problems at all, we’re going to be laughing when we get back to Canada and have a separate bedroom. Experiences > Stuff

  26. Michelle says:

    I don’t see anything wrong with you wanting to live in a smaller place and saving money for other things instead. People shouldn’t judge.

  27. Melissa says:

    I do not understand people. Did they miss the point? You are only in Germany temporarily. It wouldn’t make sense to spend any more money on your rent for a bigger place. And the comment about “I just knew it was another Krystal special” actually pissed me off! Because yes, they would know what is better for YOUR situation!

  28. Byrocat says:

    Well, I guess that’s the last time that 1010 gets an interview from you… I’d recommend Mike and Erin on CHFI/98.1

    All those yapping little dogs are trolls essentially. You’ll find them everythwere. You’re working in Europe, living within your means, and having the adventure of a lifetime. Enjoy it and bring back lots of pictures to sow everyone!

  29. I have a hard time reading Moneyville because so many of the comments are mean-spirited and get into personal attacks. Much better to read within the Personal Finance (personal/non-industry) blog community!

  30. Paul N says:

    Everyone is different, sometimes people need a little alone time. That will be hard in that space. I couldn’t do it but I won’t criticize someone else for it.

    Personally I bought way too much house for myself then i needed. But I bought at a really good price doing my research finding out the seller really had to unload it. Not buying with my heart, but with my head.

    The value of it has doubled in 10 years. I love the space I feel happy even though I pay more in taxes and maybe a little more heat and hydro then if i had bought a smaller house.

    But for me, I need my extra space…

  31. amy says:

    i have been an avid reader for some years and I admire your alternative thinking. One year my boyfriend and I lived in a 390 sq foot studio with a dog cuz he was in transition between jobs. it was for 4 months, we had to cram both of our stuff in there (his furniture was in storage but all his personal affects were with him) but it was some of the happiest times! I was paying the rent for both of us, but it was totally manageable (I had been paying that rent alone for 2 yrs prior to this). Now we live in a more spacious 800 sq ft apt but I don’t think our quality of life (in regards to apt living) has significantly changed. You can do whatever you want with the space! (keep in mind we both had busy outside activities/work requirements so we are rarely home together)

  32. Kyle says:

    The responses really surprised me – I mean, there’s no way I could do it. I had a 900 sq foot studio when I was in college (just for me!) and it was the perfect amount of space. When I was looking for an apartment with my boyfriend, we knew we wanted at least 1300 sq ft, and that was pushing into the small side. So no, I could not do what you’re doing.

    But this is about you – you’re doing it. Who am I to say what you should or should not be doing? I’m so surprised that people will make judgements about this when it has nothing to do with them. It’s interesting to me and that’s why I read it (and why I’m commenting) but to complain? To say negative things to you because of it? Yup, still surprised.

  33. Erica says:

    Sometimes people should just keep their comments to themselves. I can’t believe what people are saying about the living situation you have chosen for yourself. Obviously they don’t understand you at all. I think you are so lucky to have this opportunity and I can’t wait to read more about it

  34. Craig says:

    Good for you! I used to live in a 350 sq.ft apartment with my wife. Then we were joined by our newborn daughter! We moved around the time she was 8 months old as space was a bit of an issue. However for 3 years, we really liked it.

    This was in Tokyo where space is expensive and a premium. It’s actually pretty normal for people to live that way.

    In your case, living in Germany for only part of a year, AND still paying a mortgage back home, it makes a LOT of sense to downsize as much as you can. You don’t have much stuff and don’t need to acquire it when you will return soon. Also you will be spending all your free time out, doing something interesting! Who wants to stay home when you are living in Germany!

    Several frugal ideas I thought about (as I lived in Germany for several months one summer)

    1.) get your groceries at Aldi!
    2.) find a local university and make a friend there.. then you can join them to eat in the cafeteria. full meals can be only a few euros, however you usually need to show your student card.
    3.) you may find a free/very cheap german course at the same university (or find a student learning to be a teacher that will teach you german for free)
    4.) Eating out? Pop into your local Doner shop .. cheapest most tasty meal in town. Find the one with the constant line-up as it usually offers the best ones! Often the price is slightly better too because they do the most volume.

    All these tips actually worked for me! Have fun!

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Thanks for your comments and the frugal tips for Germany! :) We’ve already eaten at kebab places numerous times. I love the food, so I’m happy that there are so many of those kinds of cheap restaurants. Also good call on the german language courses. We passed by the University last weekend, might stop by again as it’s close to our new apartment.

  35. Joy says:

    I don’t usually read the comments on newspaper websites because they tend to be pretty mean. I applaud you in your quest to save money.

  36. Nik says:

    I’m really sad to hear how mean people can be, beeing an European myself I though 215 sq.f was quite normal, I’m used to small appartments, it’s the norm. We live with our three (soon to be four) kids in a three bedroom condo and we’re quite comfortable.

  37. You’re in Europe where the living space is smaller in general, you’re going to be there temporarily, and this will afford you money to travel around. I think you’re making the right decision, and I would never spend more money on an apartment when that money could take me to Venice. Just saying.

  38. Those people are ridiculous. A 215 sq ft desk? WTF? Is that dude having a relationship with his desk. You know he bought that big thing to fill the void of no one wanting to be his friend. Yeah, I said it!!

  39. Jill says:

    At the end of the day, half these commenters or more have already had the chance to experience this, or never had the courage that you did to follow your heart! I would LOVE to be in your shoes right now. Congrats! I loved everything about Germany and I am dying to get back…

  40. Ella says:

    Those people are totally ignorant! And mean! I think they are missing your point and as several others mentioned it is actually pretty normal in to live in small spaces in European big cities …

  41. munchkin says:

    I totally support you in your decision. It’s not like you’re going to be spending lots of time in it, you’ re on a global adventure, who cares about how big your place is?? I think most people are just jealous because you’re pretty much living out a fantasy right now!

  42. At least you are getting lots of exposure over the issue – which is one of the reasons you write and put up with small spaces and idiot comments – good luck to you Krystal

  43. Rachel says:

    I think it’s great! As someone who has lived abroad for a short period of time you won’t need a lot of space. You have no reason to accumulate stuff in a temporary living situation. Plus why sit at home when there’s a new city to explore? Spending money on good food and traveling will create valuable memories vs living in a larger apartment for a short period of time.

  44. Savvy Scott says:

    As they say… haters gonna hate – ignore them!!

    You are SO right with going for the smaller space – I have just bought a house in London and we have been renting the smallest place possible up until now in order to minimise our outgoings. I think its funny that people criticise you before they read your article – they should really get a grip!

  45. Vicky says:

    Congrats on finding the new place! I think it’s almost funny that you practicing conscious spending has infuriated so many people! You know what’s important to you and you are making the financial choices to get there. You will inspire people along the way and they’ll stand by you, and the haters will move on to their next target soon enough.

  46. Miiockm says:

    North Americans enjoy wasting money and energy on spaces they almost never use.

  47. Joe says:

    Just wait until the Canadian housing bubble pops. Then the jerk with a deck will hate your decision to rent a small space even more. You make very good money for a freelancer which is a testament to one thing: your hard work. HATERS GON HATE.

  48. Bridget says:

    wow people are mean.

    I didn’t find your 215ft apartment unusual, let alone a bad decision. When I met that girl in france and she was living in a 9m-sq apartment I thought THAT was small. But know what? She was happy. It didn’t impede her from having a fulfilling and joyful life. Actually, it wasn’t even uncommon for young twenty-somethings in Paris.

    These people need to get a grip — and travel more!

  49. Katie says:

    It gets me all fired up reading those comments. Why would you need a big space when you are just there temporarily. Everyone who left the negative comments are likely to just be jealous that you are traveling and doing the things that you want to do.

  50. Wow. Those people are really mean, and I admire your thick skin.

    I think it’s perfectly reasonable to have a different opinion and live differently than other people if it makes you happy! And I think it’s so amazing that you and Nic get to spend 6 months together traveling in Europe. You do whatever you have to do to make things work for you.

    These haters need to get a life.

  51. Ashley says:

    You don’t have to justify yourself to anyone. It’s your and your bf’s decision on where to live, and you shouldn’t be judged for that.

    I love your blog, and read it all the time! I don’t always agree with what you have to say or what decisions you’ve made that you write about, but I find your articles interesting. While I could never live in a space that’s only 215 sq. ft., it’s awesome that you are able to.

  52. Bekah Palmer says:

    I feel the same way. We (2 ppl) live in a 179 sq. ft. flat in Germany, and while we are looking for something a *little* bigger, I would totally rather tour europe than spend 900 euro/month on apartment space I don’t need. The longer i’m here, the more I realize that we North Americans have a twisted understanding of how much we “need”

  53. SimSimani says:

    wow – i had no idea that people could be so vicious about your decision. YOU are the best judge of how much space you need. If that’s 1000 sq feet, and you can afford/want it, great. If it’s 100 sq feet, and you can afford/want it, that’s great too! Like so many other commenters before me, Krystal – you definitely do NOT need to justify a rational, well thought out, works for you and your lifestyle decision!

  54. Fatimah says:

    Mean people are lame

  55. Michelle says:

    I am surprised and disappointed by the responses to your Moneyville article; I think the decisions you’re making are well thought out and totally appropriate to your life. Just ignore the BS and have a wicked time touring Europe and enjoying yourself. When you look back at this time in your life you won’t regret the square footage; you’ll be grateful that you experienced as much as you did.

  56. Lauren says:

    Totally respect your decision. BF and I are apartment hunting for our first home in Toronto, and due to budget constraints I’ve gone from “need a two bedroom” to “how small is TOO small?” Currently, I’m wrestling with the “is a JR 1BR too small for our lifestyle?” – and while I think it just might be for us, especially when he is self-employed and home a lot, I have to give you serious props for making it work. And hey, if I was overseas and wanting to travel in all my free time, when possible… I’d be making a tiny place work, too. It’s all about what’s most important to you – clearly some of the Moneyville readers have different “must haves” than you, but they shouldn’t be slamming you for it!

  57. Money Rabbit says:

    You know, there is a reason why the majority of people are in debt. It’s because they whip out their claws and start attacking anyone who talks about cutting back and only buying/renting what you need vs. what you want. Obviously, you hit a nerve with many people.

    Your article wasn’t promoting tiny square footage, it was a very thoughtful argument as to why you personally made that decision. You no where stated, “everyone should live in 215sqft!” So I would hazard a guess that people who are obviously so angry at you are the very ones living in 900sqft apartments with new furniture, swimming in debt, pissed off that you’re living it up in Germany, have a thriving career, and a loving relationship, without being weighted down with possessions and more room than you need.

    Remember, girl, haters gonna hate! It’d definitely get to me too, but one of my favourite quotes of all time is: “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” – Winston Churchill.

    Keep standing up for frugality. Keep standing up for making huge, intelligent life decisions. Keep standing up for female entrepreneurs and trailblazers.

    In the case of Moneyville, I’d rather have a group of haters than blend in with the crowd. Keep living your life on your terms, lady, and keep rocking the free world.

  58. Cait says:

    Everything you and your supportive commenters have said so far is true, but here’s what else I don’t get about this: why don’t people also understand that it’s your TEMPORARY living situation? Could you handle living in 215 sq. ft. for the rest of your life? Probably not. But for your current situation, it is covering all of your needs!

    I can’t believe people made racist remarks about this… that makes me sad for society.

  59. Kendra L says:

    When we were first married my husband and I lived in a 256 sq. ft. apartment for several years while saving for a down payment on a house. There was no hardship about it. We enjoyed living there. Good for you and Nic for getting out there and doing things.

  60. Ashley says:

    I can’t believe how cruel people are being over something that has nothing to do with them. This is your space to write about whatever you want! I don’t understand why people feel the need to criticize you… its not like your living space has any effect on their lives.
    Keep doing your thing!! Love your blog :)

  61. Frugally fabulous student says:

    Just wanted to voice my support! It’s super cool that you are taking this leap to Europe and honestly, I just think some of these ‘haters’ are just jealous. You go girl!!

  62. AM says:

    When my husband and I were 25, we went to New York for two weeks and stayed in a hotel that was about 100 square feet (about half of our current 220-square foot bedroom). All it had was a bed, small desk and dresser, and washroom. We didn’t even notice. We were out for 16+ hours a day. Considering all you have to do and see during your time in Europe, 200 square feet really is all you need. Why would you go to Europe to spend all you time inside? Also, when we went to France/Italy we picked our hotels based on walkability as well. They were also pretty small. Again, we were there for nearly a month and didn’t mind at all. A few times I even washed clothes in the sink and left them up to dry while we were out. We know one couple who saw all of Europe driving/living in a camper. You only live once :)

  63. OMG those negative comments are NUTS. Who are those people? Money Rabbit had it so right above when (s)he said

    “Keep standing up for frugality. Keep standing up for making huge, intelligent life decisions. Keep standing up for female entrepreneurs and trailblazers.”

    I think anything people do that goes against the mainstream, right or wrong, is unfortunately going to be questioned. I just had no idea people could be so adamantly opposed to living simply and within your means.

  64. Wow! where did those trolls come from? I think you did a great job of responding and I don’t really understand why other people are getting defensive about YOUR decision. Maybe people are uncomfortable with ideas of being different :). Who cares?! Sounds like you are having a great adventure in Germany!

  65. Michiko says:

    Go you! Forget what the lame people are saying. You are the one who is paying for the apartment, not them. I think small living is a very fantastic way to save money. Small living is even a way of life for people who live in places like New York. I think you are fantastic, and your blog rocks, too.

  66. Michiko says:

    P.S. I would love to see pics of your new place!

  67. Renee says:

    Wow, cannot even believe some of those comments. Yikes, but you handled it well. They must not be happy with their lives which is why they feel the need to attack you.

  68. Krystal, you are a total badass and I commend you on your small (and inevitably wonderful) living space. Let these haters be your motivators! What jerks.

  69. Nat says:

    I have read your blog for a long time and I think that your budgeting and aggressive pay down of debt are very admirable. Just one piece of feedback. Your no-spend days are fine in Canada but you are traveling. It would be interesting to know what you see and can do on a no spend day in Germany. My husband and I walked across France for two months on a very limited budget and saw some seriously amazing stuff for nothing. That is living. I am sure that you do it. I would love to read about that side of your adventure. Happy travels.

  70. LurkerHere says:


    I’ve been lurking this blog for a few months now, but I’m breaking my silence today!

    I relate to you on many levels (Asian-born Canuck transplant, racked up some debt in school and post-graduation on frivolities, trying to get things under control) – and I have to say that I agree 100% with you here.

    You’ve done a lot of ballsy things to get to where you are, and I’ve learned a great deal about how I should approach my debt (If I’m lucky, I’ll have paid it off all by September of this year).

    I don’t see how you living in a small apartment in Europe when you have a mortgage in Vancouver (one of the most expensive cities in Canada) and when you won’t be needing the space, is a problem at all. If you can be comfortable, frugal, and prudent, I don’t see how it’s NOT a good decision at all (are these people smoking something? If you’re trying to be as frugal as possible, why should you pay for two full-sized apartments on both sides of the pond?).

    Don’t listen to him and enjoy Europe – there’s a lot of amazing stuff outside your small apartment you’ll want to see – you won’t be spending your time inside anyway :P

  71. Cyril says:

    Although there are man comments, there is so much truth to what they are saying.

    Look, it’s clear Krystal doesn’t make much money at only $750/week, and has a mortgage she’s got to feed in a property market that is in a bubble and going to explode.

    I’d be scared too, and live like a poor student as well. The sad thing is, you just know Krystal and her boyfriend are going to break up given the unsustainability of their living arrangement. A year later, she’ll be left with nothing.

    At least she’s entertaining us! :)

  72. Erk says:

    “Make do with less” is a far better mantra.

    Look at all the people driving to work (alone!) everyday in their SUVs just because of the possibility that they might buy a (mini)-fridge or some other ridiculous rare event.

  73. Wow! They are harsh. I think living in a small apartment knowing you’ll only be in it for less than a year is a wise decision. I don’t think the entire purpose for leaving Canada was to root yourselves in Germany. You have repeatedly wrote about traveling and having a big space to live would not support that plan. We are a small family of 3 and I can see ourselves living in that place for a few months when we travel long-term. Your life right now is one that I would love to have (and I will!)–such freedom in all aspects! You go, Krystal! :)

  74. dave says:

    I think living cheaply is the way to go. recently I have kept my older car instead of wasting money on a new one. I also have taken to doing my own car repairs. It teaches me independence and self sufficiency and I am learning how my car works in the process. The internet and you tube is great for car reapair lessons. I am doing my timing belt next. Shops would charge at least 500 dollars for this but I can get my parts for 100 bucks do it myself learn something in the process and chicks like it when they see guys working on their own car. I think they see a guy like that and say wow he must be a handy smart guy.

  75. dave says:

    It’s nice to get a chance to go to Europe. Make sure it doesn’t put you in debt doing it. I once heard David CHilton said he visited a university and asked a big lecture class how many of this group of second year students have been to Europe he was shocked to see more than 70 or 80 percent put up their hands. Trips like that coupled with student debt must be a difficult thing for students. So ya europe is cool but don’t kill yourself with debt. Myself I can’t afford europe perhaps I never will but I am not losing any sleep over it.

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Agreed. That’s why I never went to Europe when I was younger – I didn’t have the money and I wasn’t willing to go into (more) debt just to travel. Now, if something were to happen where I couldn’t afford to pay cash for the travel that I’m doing, I’d go back home. Travel is great and amazing, but only if you can afford it.

  76. They are just jealous you are living your dream and having an adventurous life! I know I am :)It’s all good jealousy :)
    Everyone has their own financial priorities!

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