Live Modestly and Dream Big

by Katy on October 24, 2012 · 12 comments

I read a lot of blogs, (okay, okay, I skim a lot of blogs) one of which is Retro Renovation, whose homage to older houses is a perfect fit for my new-isn’t-better mindset.

Yesterday’s blog post highlighted the home of novelist Bonnie Jo Campbell, whose midcentury kitchen would be considered outdated by some, but luckily not her. But it wasn’t her house that caught my attention, rather her attitude.

Here, read for yourself:

“I call it a swamp house, and my husband and I bought it in 1987 for $24,500. I always tell my students that if they are serious about writing that they should live in a very modest house and try to keep expenses low so that they don’t have to work themselves too hard to pay the mortgage. They think I’m kidding, but I’m not. It’s very hard to make time to write in any case, and so if there’s a way to spend less time earning a living, then follow that way…”

This is incredible succinct advice, and not just for writers! Live below your means and you can follow your passions.

I think I’m in love.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather October 24, 2012 at 7:51 am

Yes! A thousand times!


Sharon October 24, 2012 at 7:59 am

That is what I am doing, we are living below our means and my passion is crafting. I am making doilies for a craft fair in a week! It’s time to have a job that is my passion!


Surviving and thriving on pennies October 24, 2012 at 8:06 am

Yep this is how we live. Love that you brought attention to this!


Shanna October 24, 2012 at 8:11 am

Perfect! I have let go of the need for “stuff” and in turn have time for very fulfilling quality time raising my kids. At times, it is hard to stretch my husband’s income for our family of 6. But the benefits greatly outweigh the monetary value of me working. I, too, am looking forward to getting into crafting again. Maybe, one day I will have a vendor’s table at my communities neighborhood functions. I can’t wait to become a rooted member of my community and meet everyone.


Victoria October 24, 2012 at 8:21 am

I love it when a blog gives me good ideas AND introduces me to other blogs. Thanks for all the good extra reading!


Kristia October 24, 2012 at 9:43 am

LOVE LOVE LOVE the title for this post.

Thanks for sharing.


Barb @ 1SentenceDiary October 24, 2012 at 11:25 am



Katy October 24, 2012 at 11:26 am




Amanda October 24, 2012 at 3:08 pm

My parents have lived in the same mobile home since they upgraded from a trailer in 1984. I recently found out they are filthy stinking rich even though they have high school educations and my mom stayed home with us. I’m so proud of them! #livingbelowyourmeans


Kymm October 24, 2012 at 4:23 pm

She’s got wine and cast iron cookware–looks like a well-equipped kitchen to me!


Erica October 25, 2012 at 12:00 am

I would be very happy with a small house of my own, as long as I have enough land. We currently live in a one bedroom one bathroom apartment in a moderate area, not the cheapest we could live but not the most expensive. Enough to be comfortable and safe, plus a large enough bedroom we can share it with a baby for a few years.


Jean October 25, 2012 at 7:43 pm

We too stay in a house below our means–but that allows us to do other things that we enjoy a lot more than keeping up with a bigger house and yard and not being able to afford anything else! Because I would rather have a life than a showplace…


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