“Options open up when you live within the scale of your humanity.”
We are in our 40s and had we known in our 20s about the ability to live off grid in a self sustainable Tiny House, we would have jumped at the chance as it would have meant freedom. By Freedom I don’t mean be lazy and work less – I mean we would have been able to focus more on spending time doing what we love. But – no regrets about our past as we did what we had to do to get us our freedom now.
So in order for us to downsize and transition our lives into our future #TinyHouse we needed to first take control of our monthly overheads. It was clear to us that in order to travel full time and become digital nomads, we could not afford any heavy debt trailing after us as that would mean having to continue running the financial treadmill high speed when we needed to just walk it, breath and smell the flowers.
I think we all react to stress differently. I know that I often get short tempered when under financial burden. As a child, I grew up in a household that often argued about money and the lack of it and till today I still have nightmares about it. Financial burden causes stress and then under stress we react, some drink to forget, some resort to drugs to numb their pain, some take out their frustrations on their partners, most times we have little patience for small children and pets. Impatience and short temperedness I believe are small signs that should make us take a second look at our lives and what we need to be happy.
So one day, we made a list of all our monthly expenses and began thinking of ways to reduce or get rid of them.
(the following are just our suggestions, these are the ways that worked best for us)
#1 WORK FROM HOME
We are both small business owners and we managed to move both our businesses to operate from our home. This move allowed our staff to work remotely from their own homes, saving on petrol, toll, office rent, utilities, maintenance, insurances and cleaning. We also freed up time that is usually spent on commuting to and fro from the office.
#2 RENT OUT YOUR OFFICE (if you own it)
I rented my photo studio out to a budding photographer and began shooting in AirBnb locations instead. The rental is paying off our mortgage for the studio.
#3 SHARE A CAR
Now because we were both able to move our offices back to our home, we no longer needed two cars so we sold our older vehicle off (200,000km mileage) and used the money to pay off the loan for the newer car.
#4 CONSOLIDATE CREDIT CARDS
Credit Cards, we cut down from using 5 different credit cards to just one by selecting the card with the highest reward points for frequent flyer miles.
#5 CASH VALUE TO PAY LOANS
We used the cash value in our insurances to pay off loans with high interest rates.
#6 SELL YOUR STUFF FOR CASH
Moving our businesses to our homes meant we could sell of most of our office furniture, we had extras of everything like desks, chairs, lamps, TVs … we used Mudah.com and Facebook Groups.
For the stuff that can’t be sold on Mudah and Facebook, we took them to Cash Converters in Damansara Utama.
#7 DOWNSIZE YOUR HOME
Our house is currently on the market for sale, this is the slowest task for us to do but none the less we continue to downsize our lives in as many ways as we can. I leave you with this inspiring Ted Talk video by Andres Morrison. Thank you for your time, I hope that our tips are useful to you. The Tiny House is now available here in Malaysia, here is the link to it – Tiny Home Malaysia – stay tuned as we go visit them soon to interview the team behind the Green Man Tiny Home Malaysia.