Living Small Is The Key To Living Large

by Katy on March 13, 2009 · 5 comments




The following is a reprint of a previously published blog. Enjoy.

If you saw my life, you’d think we were living the sweet life. And in fact we are, just not in the financial sense.

All my furnishings were bought used, some of it even trash picked. But it all looks great in my 1914 craftsman house.

Our clothes are also all second hand, and I think we look fine. I wouldn’t be ready for a red carpet event, but that situation has yet to arrive.

We own a big pimped-out mini-van, but it’s actually a fuel efficient model. And really, it mostly sits in the driveway, as my neighborhood is incredibly walkable. We gas it up maybe once a month, and often less.

Our meals are mostly tasty, flavorful, and yes — cheap. Tonight for example was a roasted chicken, (on sale, then 30% off because it was close to the sell-by date, then 20% off with a coupon.) mashed potatoes to use up that 10 pound bag of Idaho’s best from Thanksgiving, leftover gravy and the last bit from a bag of frozen peas. 

Comfort food at its best!

Tomorrow will be enchiladas with leftover chicken, black beans I already soaked, and leftover rice from a few nights ago.

Eating on the cheap doesn’t have to be about lentils.

For entertainment, we see second run movies, hit up the various libraries for DVD’s, hang out with friends, or peruse the local thrift shops. There’s always great stuff to do in Portland for cheap or free. (My sons just took a free library class on how to draw autobiographical comics a few weeks back. It was uber-cool!)

We hardly ever eat out, and we don’t support expensive hobbies. Hair cuts are by moi, which the boys, (and the man) all seem to prefer. Vacations are cheap, cheap, cheap.

Cable TV?

Don’t even think about it!

These choices, which are far from sacrifices, mean we’re able to live the life we want. For my husband, he was able to take a dream job which came with a significant pay cut. For me, I’m able to work super part-time, and hang out with the kids and play loads of online Scrabble. 

We’re not dependent on a large income for our happiness.

Our lives are rich, we don’t need to be.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Angela March 14, 2009 at 1:45 pm

I heartily agree with the philosophy that you’re not dependent on a large income for your happiness. It obviously comes from both you and your husband being able to do work you enjoy, and from believing that the finer things in life come from spending time with friends and family, and from appreciating the simple things.
Bravo to you.
This has been true for me because the only time I’ve ever had a lot of money was when I was working way TOO much at jobs that were really stressful. I was barely able to BREATHE, much less think about whether I was happy or not. And I had no control over any part of my life other than my bank account.


alunachic March 15, 2009 at 10:26 am

katy- you always make me smile!


highmountainmuse March 15, 2009 at 3:16 pm

Thanks for helping to get the word out there. We’re not missing out. We living better by having less!


Magdalena March 15, 2009 at 5:38 pm

I can’t imagine going back to the consumer lifestyle. I’m happy with owning very little, with a small place to clean, and very simple enjoyments in life.


Cheapchick March 15, 2009 at 7:03 pm

Life has afforded me and my dear husband good solid jobs with benefits and pensions. But Mom didn’t raise an idiot and now at 39 I am suddenly going back to the way I was raised. Enjoy nature, garden, rummage through thrift stores and go to garage sales. Never pay full price. Don’t lease cars. Stop and smell the roses and watch the birds. Now with the economy tanking my husband comes home and says to me business is bad and due to being on straight commission he is going to make 60% less in January than he did in December. My response: We are fine….our only obligations are a small mortgage of less than 20% of the value of our home and all of our cars are paid for, all our credit cards are paid off and cash in the bank. We are going to be ok. Although I know others are not as fortunate to be in our position we are only in this position because we have always lived well below our means. Therefore if our means change we can go with the flow. This is a great blog. Please keep it up.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: