Do You Really Need That MASSIVE House?

Do You Really Need That MASSIVE House?A few weeks ago I published the article Would You Move To A Completely New Place? In it I mentioned that we have put the home-buying process on hold, and we plan on staying in our current house for at least a few more years.

We have put it on hold because we don’t know where we want to live. However, that doesn’t mean that we stopped looking at houses.

I am definitely a crazy person and I probably look at houses on and Zillow at least once a week.

It’s a habit and an obsession…

To backtrack: We bought our current house when we were 20. We weren’t making a lot of money back then, but the market was great for buyers and we needed a place to live, so we decided to buy (we, of course, thought about other things as well). We like our home and it will do for the next few years, but I also don’t see it as our forever home.

I’ve always wanted a bigger kitchen, a bigger bedroom, and some land. Our house (by my standards and Midwest standards) is small. Our house is currently 1,200 square feet. We do have a finished basement though that adds another 1,200 square feet to our home.

I grew up in apartments because my dad hated houses (he hated the maintenance, lawn mowing, HOA’s, and so on), so I guess I’ve always wanted a big house since I didn’t have that when I was a kid.

Anyway, I have been catching myself searching for homes that are 2,500 square feet and above. I don’t know why.

Does anyone really need a house that big? Do I need a house that big?

According to MSN, the average home in the U.S. in 1950 was approximately 983 square feet, and in 2004 it was 2,349 square feet. That is a HUGE increase!

I don’t think there is anything wrong with whatever decision you make regarding how big your house is, as long as you can afford it. Some people are fine with a 400 square foot home, whereas others like 3,000 square foot homes.


But, if you really want to save money, below are reasons for why you should rethink that massive home:

Bigger homes usually have a higher price tag.

Of course, this all depends on the location, but in general a bigger house will cost more than a smaller house on the exact same lot. The different in price can easily be a few hundred thousand dollars.

You will find yourself paying for a larger mortgage, and you will also have to pay higher property taxes. Don’t forget about higher home insurance as well!


Bigger homes will cost a whole lot more to cool down and heat up.

Many newer homes have vaulted ceilings, which can easily increase the heating and cooling costs. Even if you don’t have vaulted ceilings, a bigger house will lead to higher utility expenses because there are more rooms to heat up and cool down.


Bigger homes will need more maintenance.

If you have a bigger home, that means the possibility of something breaking is a little bit higher than if you had a smaller homer. You might have a larger lawn to mow, more to paint, more to repair, and so on.


Bigger homes may lead to hoarding.

If you have a McMansion, then you may find yourself with a lot of extra rooms that you feel you need to fill up with things.

You may find yourself buying furniture and other items for a room that you only step into a few times a year. Furniture is not cheap – you may spend thousands to furnish a room in which you will just close the door and forget about.

I know someone who has FOUR living rooms in their home. One is the actual “living room,” the other is a “sitting room,” one is a “play room” and I don’t know what the fourth is. Oh, and then they have a basement living room as well, so I guess that is FIVE. It just seems like a lot of wasted space to me…

I also know a few people who have a dining room, a formal dining room, a breakfast room, and a lunch room. WHAT THE HECK? And they usually only use one room to eat in, whereas the others are maybe used once a year. Can you imagine having to buy four separate dining tables?


What is your ideal square footage in a home?

Do you want a McMansion or are you more of a minimalist person?


Would You Move To A Completely New Place?

Would You Move To A Completely New Place?Last year here on Making Sense of Cents, I talked a lot about us buying a new home. However, I’m sure you’ve noticed that we have not bought a new home yet. Some of you have even emailed me asking if something went wrong.

So, what gives? Why haven’t we bought a house yet even though the plan was for us to buy one in 2013?

Well, the thing is, we don’t know what we want to do. Do we want to stay here in St. Louis? Do we want to move to Memphis where W’s parents just moved? Do we find an entirely new place that has awesome weather and is beautiful?

Now that we are both location independent (because of the business), we can really live anywhere as long as we can afford it. We don’t have to feel stuck in any one area. We have a lot of options and a lot of things to think about, so we are trying to take our time and not rush the process.

There are many different factors that we are thinking about:


Living where you are comfortable and have a life already.

We have both lived in St. Louis for a very long time. I lived in Chicago for a little bit when I was younger (from the ages of around 8 to 13), but for the most part I have always been here in St. Louis.

Many people have asked me why I would even want to live in St. Louis. Well, I like it here! It’s affordable, there are outdoorsy things to do, all my friends are here, I grew up here, and it’s a great place to eventually raise a family.

However, I have lived in St. Louis for all of my adult life, and it sometimes makes me wonder if I am missing out by not moving somewhere else and trying something new.

I wish I could just pick up my friends and move them with me honestly! A recent article on Newlyweds on a Budget pretty much summed up what I’m afraid of – leaving my awesome friends and being lonely wherever we move to.


Moving to save money.

St. Louis is a cheap place to live. However, there are even cheaper places to live. We were looking at homes in Memphis, and the homes are incredibly cheap. They are a great value compared to what you can get in many other cities, including St. Louis.

I will say that I am not interested in moving to a place where housing is super expensive. Just can’t do it. I’m too cheap :) I like my low cost of living cities.


Moving for the perfect weather.

Hawaii would be amazing, but it’s expensive. If you are interested in Hawaii (many people are), I recommend that you read Budget and the Beach’s article The Cost of Living in Paradise, and also Young Adult Money’s article Why Living in Hawaii Sucks.

We’ve ruled Hawaii out of our list (it’s expensive and far away), but we are now thinking about Florida. I’ve been reading a lot about it, and there are many positives, but also many negatives that I found as well. If you live in Florida, tell me what you think about where you live!


Moving somewhere to be closer to family.

W’s family moved to Memphis earlier this year, and we have been thinking about following them there. My sister is planning on moving to Chicago, and once that happens I won’t have any other family here in St. Louis. We will have W’s side of the family here still, but we still want to be closer to his parents and his younger siblings.


Do you plan on moving eventually? Maybe for retirement? Why or why not? 


The Problem With the Traditional 8 Hour Work Day

The Problem With the Traditional 8 Hour Work DayToday, we have a post from my friend and personal finance blogger Harry Campbell.  

Harry started blogging about personal finance on his main site Your PF Pro a few years ago and enjoyed it so much that he started a second site dedicated to finding the perfect work-life balance at The Four Hour Work Day.  When Harry is not blogging, he works full-time as an aerospace engineer and enjoys surfing and playing beach volleyball.

Traditionally, in the United States our work days have been 8 hours long and we trudge into the office 5 days per week (and 2 weeks of vacation time is standard).

This pattern dates back to the Industrial Revolution – yeah, the cultural and societal revolution that happened over 200 years ago.  We’re usually a little bit slow to catch up to the rest of the world I guess.

You’d think by now we’d have realized our way of doing work is a little outdated.

You’d also think we might have come up with something that works a little better. But so far we haven’t.

As you’ve probably noticed, the model we’re stuck in now doesn’t make much sense. It seems like we’re only continuing to carry on with it because it’s one of those things we’ve “always” done.

But as companies strive to be more innovative and coax more productivity out of workers, we’re starting to question how great the set 8 hour workday really is. We’re realizing that this system comes with a lot of problems and challenges for modern employees and employers. Today’s millennials are demanding more of a work-life balance than ever and it’s up to employers to adapt.


Many Positions Don’t Actually Require 8 Hours Worth of Work Every Day

One of the most obvious problems, both for employees and employers, is that the 8 hour workday causes a whole lot of wasted time.

Many positions within companies don’t actually require an employee’s dedicated attention for 8 full hours, Monday through Friday for a total of 40 hours per week. When was the last time you worked a full 8 hours?  And no, watching cat videos on Facebook does not count as work.

Employees are left bored and many are resentful of all the time they have to pass twiddling their thumbs at their desks. Employers are (perhaps not always knowingly) paying for many empty hours where nothing is getting done because there isn’t anything to do.

The way our current system is set up, we exchange time for money.

We show up 8 hours and our employers pay us for those 8 hours. The better way? Exchanging value for money. Not everyone takes 40 hours per week to do amazing work within their job, so why force talented people to adhere to a schedule that might not make sense?


The 8 Hour Workday Doesn’t Allow for Maximum Creativity and Productivity

As much as some companies may wish it were true, humans aren’t machines.

We don’t have on switches that can be flipped at 9am and then turn it all off at 5pm. While having a consistent schedule does help with efficiency and productivity, the normal 8 hour schedule most of us work now doesn’t take advantage of human beings’ natural rhythms and flows.

Personally, I know that I do my best work in the mornings from about 8 am – 11 am and at night from 8 pm – midnight.

People are more often creative and work best in blocks of time throughout the entire day with periods of rest and downtime in between. The set 8 hour workday doesn’t allow for this.

The brain isn’t designed to do hard work and constantly focus for that set amount of time without multiple breaks.

Additionally, some people are naturally better workers in the early morning hours, while others do their best work in the afternoons and still others are true night owls.


People Just Don’t Like the Restriction

If you’re supposed to get 8 hours of sleep per night, and you’re forced to work another 8 hours, that only leaves a third 8 hours for all the rest of your life.

Often, 2 of those hours are eaten up by a stressful commute to and from work and schedule you’re forced into, which realistically leaves only 6 hours for family, relaxation, exercise, hobbies, and chores or errands.

Unsurprisingly, this way of living can be extremely unsatisfying.

Companies that refuse to deviate from the traditional 8 hour work day may soon find that they lose their best workers and talent to either A. companies that are embracing more forward-thinking models and allow for remote work, flexible hours, or other alternatives to the old-school 9 to 5, or B. entrepreneurship.

Employees with a heavy skill set and a drive to succeed are realizing that there’s a better way than an enforced 8 hour workday. With the rise of side hustles and side businesses, more and more people are making the transition from working for someone else to working for themselves.

We’ve seen a lot of stories in recent years of the greed in Corporate America: board members flying private jets while their employees are getting laid off and large bonuses being awarded only to upper management.

Why would you toil away working your tail off when someone else gets to reap all the benefits?

The traditional 8 hour work day is, simply put, old and not useful to us anymore.

It’s an inefficient way to work, because it creates many hours of empty, wasted time. But times are changing. Employers are very slowly realizing that a new way of doing business is taking over, and employees are realizing that if they no longer find the 8 hour workday in someone else’s business is acceptable, they can run their own business, set their own schedule, and be in charge of their own freedom.

Readers, what do you think about working a traditional 8 hour work day?  It might be a good starting point for most of us but doesn’t it make sense to find a more flexible job or go out on your own and start your own business?