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.