8 Big Benefits of Living in a Small Home

Red Brick House and Benefits of Small House Living

Regardless of where you live and what “small” means to you, I’m here to tell you that if you’ve considered downsizing, or are in the market for a first-time home, there are absolutely some BIG benefits to living in a SMALLER home.

When Jesse and I bought our house in 2012, we did not view it as a “starter home”. We also did not go into it thinking about whether or not it would be our forever home.

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Fabletics Review (+ a cost saving hack!)

Fabletics Review plus a cost saving hack

If you’re like me, you have likely seen Kate Hudson’s smiling face and super toned bod pop up a few times recently on your fb feed or sidebar ads. You may also be like “hey, cute workout threads, Kate. How trendy yet comfy-casual do you look?”

The $25 first outfit offer was too much for me to take.

So I finally gave in and decided to sign up for VIP membership to her athletic clothing line “club”, if you will, Fabletics. The premise is similar to Stitch Fix (which has also been tempting me for several months now and I just haven’t been able to pull the trigger because I rarely pay full price for anything and it’s probably almost surely out of my price range), or Nature Box, or any of those subscription type specialty shopping services that offer “custom” packages on a monthly or so basis.

While you can shop Fabletics without a membership, following are the perks that are included with VIP membership, straight from the website:

  • Up to 40% off retail prices.
  • Free exchanges and easy returns.
  • Free shipping on all orders over $49.95.
  • Earn rewards points (aka free outfits!) with every purchase, friend referral, or product review.

Here’s how it works, and my review after joining and receiving my first outfit (Note: this is not endorsed or sponsored by Fabletics, I am just sharing my opinion. If you sign up with my referral link, I will earn $10 in Fabletics credit – as is offered to all VIP members):

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DIY Home State Going Away Gift for Under $20

One of the things I love the most about living in Cheyenne is the people that we’ve met and the lifelong friendships that we’ve made. It’s kind of an odd place to find a social niche, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the quality of people that we have managed to find, and our friends are definitely one of the big reasons we don’t plan on going anywhere in the foreseeable future. So obviously we were super bummed to find out that a couple of our awesome friends made the decision to pack up their belongings and their adorable 1 year old and move back to Iowa to be closer to their families.

I wanted to do something for them that would be more personal than a gift card. My first thought was to have a cool map of Wyoming printed, have several of our friends write on it/sign it, and frame it as a way to capture the memory and also double as artwork for their new home. However, I have been known to procrastinate occasionally, so I found myself frantically trying to find an image that might work for this project last Friday, the day before the going-away bash.  Of course at this point I didn’t have time to order an actual print to be delivered. If you are looking for cool prints of maps and you are more responsible than I am and leave yourself longer than 24 hours, there are some great options on etsy (if you’re not looking to go broke – the first site I found before searching etsy was City Prints. They apparently think pretty highly of themselves, with prices starting at $50 for pre-designed prints, up to $250+ for a custom print. Psssh… fat chance getting me to pay that, City Prints!). Here are some affordable shops that I like:

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How to Organize Combined Finances

The very first step that Jesse and I took to gain control of our money was to partially combine our finances. According to Dave Ramsey, you should never ever do this until you get married. However, he would also probably say that you shouldn’t live together before marriage. I tend to disagree. So shortly after we started renting a house together in 2012, we opened a joint checking account. We totaled up our rent and monthly bills, and each contributed half of our costs into this account each month. We also chose to keep our separate personal checking accounts (another choice that Dave would disagree with, he says once you’re married, all funds should be combined). Some people have found that combining everything is the best option for them. Some interesting thoughts on that option, here. While I can see the potential benefits to the “what’s mine is yours” philosophy, we’ve found that having personal spending accounts works well for us. This way, we contribute equally to be sure our living expenses are covered, as well as the shared savings funds that we’ve set up. We pay our individual student loans separately out of our personal accounts. Beyond that, we both have our own hard-earned spending money to do with whatever we please. Sometimes I will buy new clothes or get a haircut and color that costs $140, and Jesse may splurge on a video game or upgrade some parts on his bike. I should also say that we communicate very well, so it’s not like we are buying things secretly and avoiding financial transparency. We have just found that it works for us to have personal accounts that we each have control over, we respect each other and don’t have to question the other’s purchases.

For the majority of our money, however, we share accounts and financial goals. Here are some of the things we’ve done with our shared finances that I would recommend for anyone in a long-term relationship:

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Printing Photos Online – Quality on a Budget

Since receiving our wedding photos, I’ve had a bit of a tough time choosing images to print as well as deciding how to display them. Having over 600 images to choose from makes it a daunting task, but it’s a good problem to have so I won’t complain. I’ve been slowly working toward making some decisions on the images that I’d like to have as artwork in our home. The first project that I decided on is in progress, and I thought I would share what I’ve learned about online printing options.

For this particular display, I had two specific images in mind, and knew I wanted to print them at a fairly large size. I love the artsy composition of these photos (no faces necessary), and thought they would look nice in our bedroom as a kind of showcase of our wedding day fashion. Because even though you only get to wear that wedding dress once, it doesn’t mean you can’t look at it daily!

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